We’re going up sunshine mountain

Day 22
Villafranca to O’Cebriero
Miles to Santiago: 115

We have left behind Castille and today crossed into our last province: Galicia

I know this for two reasons:
One: The language Nazis are out in force. I’m assuming there is no letter G or J in the Galician dialect. So every road sign that incorporates those letters is defaced and replaced with the letter X. It’s like being in Wales back in the 70s.

Mind you, the sign vandals are no worse than the so-called Pilgrims who feel the need to write their names and mindless messages on almost every Camino sign along the Way.

The second reason I know we have crossed into Galicia is the murderous mountain we staggered up at the end of a 35 km day

On and on and on it went. A track of broken stones ever upwards. It was the hottest part of the day. I have never – and I mean never – sweated as much.

I had to stop to fill up my camel back for the third time at a middle of nowhere village.

I had my head under the cold water spout when I heard the sound of cow bells. Then three of the biggest meanest matador-killing bulls came round the corner (oh ok they were cows) butted me out of the way and started drinking from the trough

“This is our turf dude, don’t be messing with the Galician gang …sorry, xang”

Just before this I filled up the camelback in another small village and was casually sucking down some water from the tube as I idly looked at load of posters on the town hall notice board.

I literally paused in mid suck with a horrified expression on my face when I read a notice in Big Red Letters saying it was forbidden to use the water in this area.

Oh super, now I can add poisoning to my head fungus issues

But I’m hoping – and I dont read Spanish that well – that they were saying that water could not be used for gardens. A hosepipe ban , in effect

Time will tell

Oh and we have fewer than 100 miles to go

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Ashes to Ashes

Day 23. Pontferrada to Villafranca de Bierzo

Thursday July 26

Not a huge lot to say. I no longer resemble the elephant man but bear a striking similarity to something out of the Quatermass film. That one where the astronaut is turned into a deformed plant.
I have decided that these are bites combined with a possible allergic reaction

They are very helpful here

Arriving in Villafranco Scottish Alan got slightly lost looking for an Albergue (hostel)

Meeting an aged señora he showed her the map and asked where the hostel was

She nodded and kindly took him through the winding streets to the exact location

A kindly act marred only by the fact that the hostel had burned to the ground some years ago leaving a perplexed Alan looking at a pile of ashes

Today we climb to the highest point of the Camino. Forget the Olympics people. This is the real challenge.