Vilar de Barrio to Xunqueira de Ambla.

 We left Vilar de Barrio at a very civilised hour, about 7.30. Well, truth is, it was later as 3 minutes after leaving we stopped for breakfast: toast and tomato for me and toast with jam for Jane. Not sure what happened to her butter. Didn’t arrive.

Elections for local and, in some cases state, government happened last weekend. A number of women stood and the posters are still everywhere in towns big and small.

    

Walking was easier today and we did a mere 14km. Enough. Neither is us is fit enough yet to do a lot more than 20 and this keeps our daily averages low. Much lower than I walked here last time. 

The day has been sunny, warm and bright. The track easy and with very little water on it. None over it! Another big positive compared to my last time along here. The signage here is very visible and clear. 

  

The Galician churches to date are very different from their southern cousins. The wet, damp nature of this places ages them rapidly too. This one is probably about 100 years old, not much more. Very standard looking.

    

And the small towns along the way are so similar with their mix of old and more recent housing. The older ones typically look like they were built before town planning became a profession and before building codes existed, and were enforced, in Spain. Interesting.

      

And the quirky humour of one of the bar owners in Xunqueira is still evident, advertising for clients and indicating they don’t need to have experience! This same sign was here two years ago. I still find it amusing. 

And everywhere in this area: the storage things up off the ground. Some have maize drying in them but most are unused and are rapidly deteriorating. Sad, as they are pretty impressive to see. 


I like the different signage along the caminos. This type is only found up in Galicia.  

  

Xunqueira albergue

Well, we arrived at it very early, at 11.30! The sign outside the albergue said it opened at 12.30 and we could register at 13.30 or 15.30. So we came downtown for a drink and to wait out the hour. Not a soul was in sight when we left there. 

We arrived back at the albergue (code for me finally succeeding in tearing Jane from photographing churches, cats, walls, cats, churches, cats, cats, flowers etc) and… 

A queue at the desk to register. I raced in, dropped a pole on each of 2 beds being horrified that we were both going to be tops. Not my choice when it comes to bunks. Imagine the loss of dignity of an old, knicker-clad, wobbly bum tottering up a narrow metal ladder. Nope. Not a pretty thought. 

Our nice Polish guy with the footballer’s knee from the other day has now been joined by his wife and friends. They offered us a bunk so it’s me below and Jane up top and likewise they are top and under on the adjacent one. Think it was my advanced age and the thought of the view that led her to offer it to us! Whatever, I’m much happier.

The bigger problem is that there were only 2 beds spare after we got ours. So, a noisy crowded night tonight. Yes, I can snore along with the best of them, judging from the number of whistles from in the rooms in the last few nights.  Perhaps I’m overly sensitive and the whistles were intended for others. Perhaps. 

We are back downtown now. The restaurant I ate at last year is shut. I suspect I could explain why. It was not good and provided the only meal I’ve ever had that was largely white! A 3 course all-white meal is not easy to make. No.

The restaurant we are eating in today is much better. The woman who runs it is keen to get the food right and keeps asking us if bits are ok. They were fine. I wouldn’t usually walk 50+ km to get to it though but the food was fine:  soup, Spanish tortilla with potato for me, mixed salad and some stew thingie for Jane followed by chocolate mousse and coffee for us both. I helped Jane by drinking her coffee ☺️

The church opens for mass tonight at 7.30. I believe parts of it are very old and interesting. Fellow walkers last time lucked into a guided viewing. Don’t think Jane will be as lucky this time. Not sure that I’ll join her. Might. 

Tomorrow:  Ourense, if we survive the crowded albergue here. Bad omen for the rest of the Camino as numbers will increase markedly after Ourense, as the Spanish (only 100km needed for a Compostela) walkers join. 

We have a hotel with a whole room for just the two of us. No one else will be sharing our bathroom either – ahhh, the joys of a pilgrim’s life and travels. Oh, just to prove I am walking ….. Here I am in full flight, early, before the sun had warmed me enough to strip off!

   

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