Monday, May 23, 2022

Day 30 - 22 May - Herrerias to Biduedo

As Travis famously sang:

Why does it always rain on me?
Is it because I don’t believe bad weather forecasts
Why does it always rain on me?
When the sun ain’t shining I choose to ignore thunder and lightning

We started the day with a cup of tea, courtesy of Gill and Tony’s camper van stove, in the car park of our hotel. Hardcore walkers that they are, they then accompanied us on the five mile, six hundred metre ascent to the very nice little village of O’Cebreiro where we had a little beer together before they turned round and did a five mile, six hundred metre descent back to Herrerias. 

The views were stunning from the off, the greenery giving way to longer distance greenery the higher we climbed. We had a coffee and croissant at the village of La Faba, then walked on to and through Laguna de Castilla where we resisted the temptation for another coffee. We were conscious that we needed to make good time today with a forecast for thunder storms later in the day. We were very much in small farm country, plenty of cows and cow smells and a horse toiling with a plough in a small steep field. It was not far off ten o’clock by the time we reached O’Cebreiro and said our farewells to Gill and Tony.

By now we had reached the autonomous community of Galicia, the North West corner of Spain. O’Cebreiro was lovely, the scenery was stunning and the forecast of late morning thunderstorms seemed unduly pessimistic. We cracked on. The walk out of O’Cebreiro was as nice walking conditions as you might hope for - woodland path, firm but soft underfoot, gradual descent, hazy sunshine making for a warm day but with a cooling breeze. 

What goes up must come down. We descended, as per above description, passing through the village of Liñares but then……….what?………more uphill? We were a bit peeved but the admittedly modest uphill took us to the Alto San Roque where the Monumento do Peregrino stands impressively, battling against the wind.

And, as it happened, the wind was picking up a bit. Anyway, we were back to heading downhill and passed through the village of Hospital de la Condesa where there was nothing to do other than pass through it. But then it all started going up again. Bloody hell. And up some more. Bloody, bloody hell. My feet were unimpressed. The village of Santa Maria do Poio (no, I don’t know how to pronounce it either) happened to be situated on the Alto do Poio, one hundred and thirty metres higher than O’Cebreiro. The path to Santa Maria do Poio was really steep. And where has all this cloud come from?

At the top of this steep path was Santa Maria do Poio itself and a bar. Beer (and oxygen) required. We sat outside the bar and Mrs C put her jacket on. Others were putting ponchos on. A tad pessimistic I felt. We had another three miles to go so we set off with cautionary jackets on. At last, we were heading down on a nice, easy path. Our luck was in. Just because it’s cloudy - possibly even misty now - and the temperature has dropped doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve got a thunderstorm coming. By the time we reached the village of Fonfria (just one and a half miles to Biduedo) visibility was down to about fifty metres. Spitty rain but nothing serious. The crack of thunder that followed was however concerning. We hurried our pace. Half a mile out from our hotel and the heavens opened. We got very, very wet.

Our accommodation at Casa Quiroga, Biduedo was lovely. With the temperatures having dropped dramatically as part of the overall deterioration in the weather, the radiators were on. We have a sporting chance of setting off dry in the morning, albeit the weather forecast suggests that we will be very wet again, very soon. As for Biduedo itself? I have no idea. Maybe we will see it in the morning when we leave.

Casa Quiroga came complete with its very own, very lovely bar. With a distinct lack of peregrinos and continuing rain and heavy mist outside, Mrs C and I represented the full extent of their custom. We were looked after splendidly. 

We have fifteen miles ahead of us tomorrow. A bit of rain? Bring it on.

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