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Sunday, 28 November 2010

til the cows come home

Trabadelo – Hospital de la Condesa

The first 10km today passed through a beautiful river gorge which was slightly marred by the motorway built through it which usually ran half way up the hill sides but sometimes towered overhead on giant concrete legs. I was close to the border of Galicia now and the signage and place names were increasingly written in Gallego. In fact where signs were written in Spanish they were usually crossed out and graffitied in Gallego alongside, clearly the people of the region had strong feelings about this. There was a great pride in the identity of this region and an independent feeling from the rest of Spain. It was a little like being back in Cornwall and very soon the countryside also reminded of Cornwall on a daily basis, and the mud and rain was quite similar too. Stopped off in small farm hamlet at water fountain were I ran my arms under the fresh mountain water for an age to ease my itchy bites. Arrived at the historic and picturesque O Cebreiro with its round stone thatched houses and slate buildings. It was a popular spot but a bit touristy for me so I carried on over the hill to find somewhere to stay. A bit further on I passed a huge iron sculpture of a pilgrim in traditional garb on a mountain ridge. The figure was bent and leaning into the wind and holding onto his hat and I realized that this was the exact posture that I had been adopting for the last hour. Clearly the wind here was a common feature. I found a very tidy and smart municipal albergue on the edge of a small hamlet with views over the hills for miles. This place had a spotless new state of the art kitchen but not a single pan, plate or piece of cutlery in the building which was quite frustrating. Roberto the Italian and another Italian girl, Francesca arrived but given the kitchen arrangements decided to find somewhere else such was their eternal need to cook pasta and they wished me ciaos before disappearing back out into the howling wind. Marta and Pedro arrived late and we compared our ‘lanas’ that we were still wearing from Foncebadon. I sat and watched the rain clouds moving over the distant hills from the window ‘til the cows came home, literally, as a farmer and his wife and dog herded them back into the hamlet from the fields.

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