A bad night. The bunks in the Refugio were very close together. So much so that if I turned over in my sleep to my right side I would likely have ended up in bed with a not unattractive German lady. However if I had turned over to my left side then I would have had an early morning clinch with an elderly Korean gentleman. Notwithstanding the rude awakening the German lady would have received I am sure it was the thought of the latter possibility that was the major contributor to my latest bout of insomnia. That and the fact that he was extremely restless throughout the night and made some peculiar noises in his sleep , the like of which I hadn’t heard before. The joys of life in the Refugios.
I set out about 8.30am and it turned out to be another fine day , cool initially but warming up so that the fleece could come off late morning. I walked for much of the morning with Anna , a young Spanish Vet from a town near Valencia . She has also joined the ” tendonitis club ” , so we were walking at the same pace. She prefers working with wild animals and told me that she had recently completed a 6 month stint in Andalucia where she was involved in a project releasing captive Lynx into the mountains to supplement the wild population already present. Midway through the morning we were met by a guy on the way back from Santiago. I recognised him as the Swedish chap who had gone into the snorer’s room in the Refugio back in Viana ( when we slept on the mats ). He’d been walking 40 to 50 km daily , hence his progress since. He told us he was going to continue walking all the way to Rome ! . For some this whole thing seems to become an addiction.
The fine weather only accentuated the beauty of the landscape here in Galicia. It brought to mind the words of the chorus of the song ” N17″ from The Saw Doctors , ” stone walls and the grass is green “. I can see why the similarity is often drawn with Ireland though many of the houses were more like those you see in the Lake District. There were also many more trees than you would see in Ireland. It seemed like every other tree was a sweet chestnut but there were also plenty of oak and ash. I have posted a few pictures including one of the trunk of a sweet chestnut that is estimated to be 800 years old. I read that the Galician sweet chestnuts ( ” Castana de Galicia ” ) are of a particularly high quality and they are sought after both here and abroad. My guide book tells me that Galicia is one of Spain’s poorest regions and its economy relies mostly on tourism ( The Camino being a major contributor ) , fishing and farming. In the past a lot of the young have had to emigrate to find work. We passed a lot of very old farm buildings yesterday. I’ve posted a picture of one of them ( with the balcony ) that looked as if it hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. A lot of the farms have vegetable plots and many of them keep hens. Certainly there are lots of cockerels providing the early morning alarm…..