We left the albergue in Cea at around 7:45 – after the other six or seven pilgrims with whom we had shared the huge dormitory. Last night, one of them (an older Spanish man) had an extended conversation with his wife after lights-out – apparently oblivious to the norms of albergue etiquette. In the last 100km of Camino, there are some “tourigrinos,” with a somewhat different mindset to other pilgrims on the Camino.
Even before the sun rose, the air felt quite warm – perhaps the early risers in the albergue knew that this was going to be another hot and sticky day like yesterday. Heat and humidity can make a 25km walk on flat ground feel more like an uphill 35km slog.
Cea must have been a town of early risers in the days when it was filled with working bakeries. But today the cafes were all still closed at 7:45AM. We strode past the monument to the monument to the women bakers and out of town on empty stomachs. We opted to take the more direct route to Santiago rather than diverting to visit the beautiful monastery in Oseira, which offers accommodation to pilgrims. Our desire for coffee was fulfilled a couple of kilometres further along the road at the Bar O Refugio in Cotelas.
The path at this point is littered with flyers and stickers advertising services for pilgrims – including luggage forwarding, taxis, and albergues. There are frequent opportunities for pilgrims to get fed and watered. We chose to stop for bocadillos and drinks at the first cafe we came across in Castro Dozon with its pretty church of San Salvador – a little over half way to our planned stopping point.
The path from here was a mix of smaller footpaths and disused roads that ran parallel to the major highways to Santiago de Compostela. We were encouraged to see signs that placed us closer and closer to the city. By the end of the day we found ourselves with only 56km or so to go. But the going was tough under the cloudless skies. With a couple of kilometres to go, we took a long break by a fonte de peregrinos (pilgrims’ water source) to drink the cold water.
Tonight we have a comfortable room with four beds at the hostal O Vento just outside the city of Lalín. We also had dinner here – a series of Galician specialities including Caldo Gallego soup, a boiled beef dish, and Santiago tart. Delicious.
We’ve reserved beds at our next and last stop before Santiago – the Italian run albergue in Dornelas. The forecast for tomorrow is for intermittent clouds, which may make it slightly cooler than today. The weather has been exceptionally kind to us since we left from Zamora. I feel sorry for my friends on the south of Spain – Almería – where storms are creating a lot of disruption right now.