I started writing this from a shady spot in the peaceful garden of the As Leiras albergue in Dornelas earlier this evening – but ended up chatting with Siobhan, an Irish pilgrim who is the only other guest here tonight. And then we had a fantastic dinner, cooked by our charming, Italian hosts. So here I am again, burning the midnight oil to update this blog.
Over breakfast, we all agreed that we were delighted with our stay at A Taberna De Vento in Estacion de Lalín – A comfortable room and a dinner of Galician specialties (Caldo, boiled beef, tarts de Santiago) and more Santiago tart before we set off at around eight.
Today’s walk involved quite a bit of asphalt, which I detest, but also some pleasant woodland paths. It took us through the modern towns of Silleda and A Bandeira, where some sort of octopus festival seemed to be taking place. In front of all the cafes were stands where women were preparing the quintessential Galician dish – Pulpo Gallego. Michael and I ordered a plate each of the chewy delicacy and Ewa (who has an intolerance) had a salad. We also got through a large quantity of non alcoholic beer and Aquarius sports drink, as the temperature approached 30℃.
To Ewa’s delight, we found two open churches today – the first was the pretty church of Santiago in Transfontao. The other, less beautiful, was in the centre of Silleda. We stopped briefly to look around each one and get our credentials stamped – To ensure that we earn our Compostelas in Santiago, we must get our credentials stamped at least twice a day after Ourense (which marks the last 100km before Santiago).
With our energy levels lifted by the pulpo, we tackled the last 5km to our albergue, which must be one of the best in Galicia – beautiful facilities, delightful hosts and a tranquil location. This is our last stop before Santiago itself. We plan to set off from here at around 8:30am tomorrow (since breakfast is available from 8 on Sundays). I think we’re all excited about reaching the goal that hardly seemed attainable when we set off from Zamora just over a couple of weeks ago.