Does a bear …

Day 25 (yes I know I’m mixing them up but days mean nothing on the Camino)

O’Cebriero to Triacastella. 21 km

Distance the Santiago : 96 miles

So while everyone else in the world was watching what seems to have been a spectacular Olympics opening ceremony, I was in the basement of a refugio doing two loads of washing in an attempt to finally rid myself of those bloody bed bugs. I’ll know soon enough if it’s worked

There was some surprising and not altogether welcome news today – imparted while gazing at a tourist information sign in the middle of a secluded woodland track.

Local wildlife in the hills around here include otters, foxes., badgers

And bears

Yes, bears.

The great Bill Bryson, preparing for his Appalachian trek, noted that the guidebooks state that “Black bears hardly ever attack humans..”

“But here’s the thing,” he wrote

“Sometimes they do.”

The views from O’cebreiro to here are stunning, looking across spectacular mountain vistas.

Or so the guidebooks say. I can’t vouch for that because almost the entire 21km hike (just a stroll for us these days) was competed in the thick mist that often shrouds these hills. It only cleared as we descended into the valley to Triacastella , a town which used to have three castles but now has none.

To lose one castle could be seen as unfortunate but to lose 3 could be seen as carelessness (thank you Oscar)

From now on the Way is marked by concrete posts counting down every km to Santiago. It currently stands at 130

I don’t think I mentioned Otto the German yesterday?

Actually I dont know his name , but if it isn’t Otto then it should be.

I met him just as I left Villafranca , both of us veering right to take the quieter (and very steep) route to O’cebreiro.

“I went up ziss hill yesterday to see what it voss like ,” says Otto as I struggled for breath and sweated copiously

I literally stopped in my tracks and stared at him in disbelief

“You climbed up here yesterday.? What the hell for?”

“I am walking ze Camino viss my wife but she is exhausted mentally. So she stay in ze bed while I explore”

“I think ze climb gets more easy now,” he said as we turned a bend to face yet another 35 degree slope

Within 5 minutes he was out of sight.

No wonder his wife was exhausted.

And probably relieved this maniac was away from her for the day .