We dropped our heavy gear off to be shipped to the next albergue. It cost us some time and stress at the late start, but couldn’t be helped. We also had breakfast of peanut butter on toast, which is, according to the chain restaurant we ate at, a “Dutch Breakfast”. We haven’t confirmed if this is indeed a Dutch thing or another marketing ploy.

Our day’s trek started with a steep climb out of the town of Luarco and the river it sets beside. It was misting and grey, but we started chatting with a woman from Germany who was just starting her solo journey. She was a new to the Camino, but we tried to give her a few hints on how to lessen the discomfort of the first few days and then we took off. She didn’t know how far she was going and we knew we had many kilometers to cover and already had a very late start.

After the initial climb, it was mostly fields and farms. We met our friend Michelle again. He was still cruising at his own pace.  We chatted until he took a break then we pressed on.

In the farm country of northern Spain, you see a lot of cats. This day was particularly filled with cats. Most would watch you go by with the vague disinterest all cats seem to exude, but some would see you walking their street or driveway and walk or run to meet you. The most memorable adolescent kitten this day was a calico with a broken-stubby tail. He was playing in a gutter next to a school when we walked up. He charged up to us and demanded attention. He was a sweetheart. Little did he know that if we weren’t walking all day for days to come, he would be coming with us.  We also found out later that the little guy said hi to all of the walkers.   A while later, a large orange cat walked calmly down the street to give us a quick hello before walking on to its destination.

That night our albergue in La Caridad was packed with walkers and a pair of weird hippy Camino walkers. The guy had his backpack side pouches stuffed with nasturtiums for a cheap salad. Word from the other walkers is that this couple was living on €5 a day. They camped in fields (technically illegal in Spain) and grifted electricity from various albergues to keep their cameras and battery packs full.

For dinner, a large group of walkers funneled down to a little basement restaurant that had a “pilgrim’s meal”. A pilgrim’s meal was usually cheap, large, and includes wine…the best kind of meal.  We all ate and drank more than we should have, but before we could leave, they offered a shot- a toast to the Camino. You can’t not take that toast?!?Right?!?  We both took the shot, Laura woke to regret it in the morning. The drink was “Orujo”. It is a type of brandy made from pomace, the leftover sludge from making wine.

The walk to Ribadeo the following day was long, but Laura got to practice her Spanish with Guama. My knees and feet were hurting badly, so the conversation was welcome distraction. We met him and his friend at the city limits of Franco, Spain. We liked the style of how the friend flipped Franco the bird while Guama took the photo. If you don’t recall Franco and his practice of killing people who opposed his dictatorship, read up about him.

We also hung with our Canadian friends Carol, Diane, and Patrick.  Carol had started her day by accidentally stealing Guama’s trekking poles (nearly identical poles), so we ribbed her for the next few days. We also met Eddie and his with wife (recently joined him) at a laundry mat.

Leaving Ribadeo, we entered rolling and treed country. Due to the early hour and we really wanted a coffee con leche and pastry, but ever café we found was closed. Heartbreaking. After many disappointments, we came to a bar that had coffee and beer. I chose…beer. They had a local microbrew pale ale, Angus Santas Brew Brotherhood (brewery), and a really good bean soup.

In Lourenzá, we found that the local fabada bean festival had closed, or overbooked every restaurant in town. After a lot of disheartened looking for food, we waiting in line at a big top tent with the sole intent of eating anything they had to offer. Our Australian friend Ted, along with Eddie, and his wife all joined us for the only meal in town.

In the morning, we started slowly so that I could visit several pharmacies in a vain attempt at getting a knee brace that fit. I had been using Laura’s and it was a bit tight. Leaving town we had the choice of 2 paths to Abadin. The old path that was longer and followed a busy road, or the path over a mountain that was 6 kilometers or so shorter. We went high.  We stayed at a super new and really nice hostel called Lar Xabarin. The best bit, beyond the great security, excellent area to wash and dry clothes, great kitchen… it had an espresso machine that was cutting edge. Free to use at any hour that you felt under caffeinated. Heaven.

From Abadin to Varibla, we walked in the rain with Eddie and Claire. The wonderful company helped me forget the pain in my knee and the rain for a bit.  The hostel scene was fun. We made a huge meal with Patrick and Diane while a German gal walked around showing off her horribly chaffed inner thighs. She was bandaged up like a war victim.

The morning brought better weather and a pleasant walk through the countryside. The roads were 50-50 paved and dirt. The dirt paths and road are easier on the body and almost always better than the pavement.  We made it to Baamonde in the early afternoon. We decided to stay at the better rated of the two hostels in town. It was horrible.

The municipal hostel in Baamonde is a 100 beds of hell. The bathrooms were last cleaned during the Spanish Inquisition- mildew and dirt were the only thing to see. The kitchen was stripped of any useful items to the point where the microwave appeared to have the internal plate removed. It was found later. No utensils, plates, bowls, pots/pans, or cups were to be found. The floors were filthy and covered in dust and dust bunnies. One questions one’s decisions in times like this. We chose a cot and went to what sufficed for a grocery store in town. We bought wine, cheese, and bread. A quick grab of yogurt later proved to be useful.  We ate our sad meal on scraps of paper that the bread came in and then tried to decide how to drink the wine. We ended up eating the yogurt (there was no fridge, so it would be warm at best in the morning) and then ghetto–style drinking red wine from the washed containers.

Instead of enjoying the filth for the evening, we went to a nearby church, Santiago de Baamonde church, with Patrick and Diane to look at a tree that had carvings and a shrine.

After a skivvy night of sleep, we tried to distance ourselves from filth that was the Baamonde hostel. Soon after leaving town, we passed the 100KM to go marker!!! The end was certainly near. 

The path to Miraz was short and dotted with farm cats. One cat family consisting of 2 or 3 moms and about a dozen kittens came out to say high. A few got close enough to almost pet as they followed us for a bit. 

Much of the way we hiked with Diane and Patrick. We ran into a group of English speaking Camino walkers that seemed to be too fresh and too clean. Their boots were straight out of a store. After a few minutes, they told us their secret- ride in a bus with WIFI through all of the “boring or paved parts”. Well, that became a huge topic for the next few days. Most agreed that this wasn’t walking the Camino, but more of sightseeing the Camino.  The next albergue was nice and had a bar a few feet away, so I got my end of day beer.

We dropped our heavy gear off to be shipped to the next albergue. It cost us some time and stress at the late start, but couldn’t be helped. We also had breakfast of peanut butter on toast, which is, according to the chain restaurant we ate at, a “Dutch Breakfast”. We haven’t confirmed if this is indeed a Dutch thing or another marketing ploy.

Our day’s trek started with a steep climb out of the town of Luarco and the river it sets beside. It was misting and grey, but we started chatting with a woman from Germany who was just starting her solo journey. She was a new to the Camino, but we tried to give her a few hints on how to lessen the discomfort of the first few days and then we took off. She didn’t know how far she was going and we knew we had many kilometers to cover and already had a very late start.

After the initial climb, it was mostly fields and farms. We met our friend Michelle again. He was still cruising at his own pace.  We chatted until he took a break then we pressed on.

In the farm country of northern Spain, you see a lot of cats. This day was particularly filled with cats. Most would watch you go by with the vague disinterest all cats seem to exude, but some would see you walking their street or driveway and walk or run to meet you. The most memorable adolescent kitten this day was a calico with a broken-stubby tail. He was playing in a gutter next to a school when we walked up. He charged up to us and demanded attention. He was a sweetheart. Little did he know that if we weren’t walking all day for days to come, he would be coming with us.  We also found out later that the little guy said hi to all of the walkers.   A while later, a large orange cat walked calmly down the street to give us a quick hello before walking on to its destination.

That night our albergue in La Caridad was packed with walkers and a pair of weird hippy Camino walkers. The guy had his backpack side pouches stuffed with nasturtiums for a cheap salad. Word from the other walkers is that this couple was living on €5 a day. They camped in fields (technically illegal in Spain) and grifted electricity from various albergues to keep their cameras and battery packs full.

For dinner, a large group of walkers funneled down to a little basement restaurant that had a “pilgrim’s meal”. A pilgrim’s meal was usually cheap, large, and includes wine…the best kind of meal.  We all ate and drank more than we should have, but before we could leave, they offered a shot- a toast to the Camino. You can’t not take that toast?!?Right?!?  We both took the shot, Laura woke to regret it in the morning. The drink was “Orujo”. It is a type of brandy made from pomace, the leftover sludge from making wine.

The walk to Ribadeo the following day was long, but Laura got to practice her Spanish with Guama. My knees and feet were hurting badly, so the conversation was welcome distraction. We met him and his friend at the city limits of Franco, Spain. We liked the style of how the friend flipped Franco the bird while Guama took the photo. If you don’t recall Franco and his practice of killing people who opposed his dictatorship, read up about him.

We also hung with our Canadian friends Carol, Diane, and Patrick.  Carol had started her day by accidentally stealing Guama’s trekking poles (nearly identical poles), so we ribbed her for the next few days. We also met Eddie and his with wife (recently joined him) at a laundry mat.

Leaving Ribadeo, we entered rolling and treed country. Due to the early hour and we really wanted a coffee con leche and pastry, but ever café we found was closed. Heartbreaking. After many disappointments, we came to a bar that had coffee and beer. I chose…beer. They had a local microbrew pale ale, Angus Santas Brew Brotherhood (brewery), and a really good bean soup.

In Lourenzá, we found that the local fabada bean festival had either closed or overbooked every restaurant in the area. After a lot of disheartened looking for food, we waited in a long line at a cookout under a big top tent with the sole intent of eating anything that was available for purchase. Ted, our Australian friend, Eddie and Claire, from Ireland, and a handful of other trail friends joined us at our table.

In the morning, we started slowly so that I could visit several pharmacies in a vain attempt at getting a knee brace that fit. I had been using Laura’s and it was a bit tight. Leaving town we had the choice of 2 paths to Abadin. The old path that was longer and followed a busy road, or the path over a mountain that was 6 kilometers or so shorter. We went high.  We stayed at a super new and really nice hostel called Lar Xabarin. The best bit, beyond the great security, excellent area to wash and dry clothes, great kitchen… it had an espresso machine that was cutting edge. Free to use at any hour that you felt under caffeinated. Heaven.

From Abadin to Varibla, we walked in the rain with Eddie and Claire. The wonderful company helped me forget the pain in my knee and the rain for a bit.  The hostel scene was fun. We made a huge meal with Patrick and Diane while a German gal walked around showing off her horribly chaffed inner thighs. She was bandaged up like a war victim.

The morning brought better weather and a pleasant walk through the countryside. The roads were 50-50 paved and dirt. The dirt paths and road are easier on the body and almost always better than the pavement.  We made it to Baamonde in the early afternoon. We decided to stay at the better rated of the two hostels in town. It was horrible.

The municipal hostel in Baamonde is a 100 beds of hell. The bathrooms were last cleaned during the Spanish Inquisition- mildew and dirt were the only thing to see. The kitchen was stripped of any useful items to the point where the microwave appeared to have the internal plate removed. It was found later. No utensils, plates, bowls, pots/pans, or cups were to be found. The floors were filthy and covered in dust and dust bunnies. One questions one’s decisions in times like this. We chose a cot and went to what sufficed for a grocery store in town. We bought wine, cheese, and bread. A quick grab of yogurt later proved to be useful.  We ate our sad meal on scraps of paper that the bread came in and then tried to decide how to drink the wine. We ended up eating the yogurt (there was no fridge, so it would be warm at best in the morning) and then ghetto–style drinking red wine from the washed containers.

Instead of enjoying the filth for the evening, we went to a nearby church, Santiago de Baamonde church, with Patrick and Diane to look at a tree that had carvings and a shrine.

After a skivvy night of sleep, we tried to distance ourselves from filth that was the Baamonde hostel. Soon after leaving town, we passed the 100KM to go marker!!! The end was certainly near.

The path to Miraz was short and dotted with farm cats. One cat family consisting of 2 or 3 moms and about a dozen kittens came out to say high. A few got close enough to almost pet as they followed us for a bit. 

Much of the way we hiked with Diane and Patrick. We ran into a group of English speaking Camino walkers that seemed to be too fresh and too clean. Their boots were straight out of a store. After a few minutes, they told us their secret- ride in a bus with WIFI through all of the “boring or paved parts”. Well, that became a huge topic for the next few days. Most agreed that this wasn’t walking the Camino, but more of sightseeing the Camino.  The next albergue was nice and had a bar a few feet away, so I got my end of day beer.

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