We are awoken at 3am by rowdy revellers getting home from a late night out. No doubt they’ll be up by 6 and gone by 7 – bastards – oh to be young again. We breakfast at 8 and hit the road by 9 and as usual take the more difficult option for todays route. But as described in the Lonely Planet a safer and more beautiful route to Trabadelo. We begin with a long ascent – and the views are breathtaking – to 1000m and cross the undulating hills passing only a few walkers some of whom we’ve been leapfrogging the last few days. The descent is through Chestnut Groves and very steep and punishing on the legs. Stopping at Trabadelo, Pete’s reputation has preceeded him – as he’s helped a few people on the trail with injuries. Whilst buying water and sitting on a bench watching coal being unloaded into the little shop they come up and tell Pete their injuries and ask advice. I’m very amused as we’re hobbling around like 90 year olds. We want to catch a bus for the next section which is all road but it looks unlikely and turns out that foot is the only option. This is of course against our rules as walking and highways don’t mix. So what to do? The answer of course is to find a spot and have lunch and we are pleasantly surprised when we find ourselves sitting at the footings of an old bridge, surrounded by wild strawberries and entertained by red squirrels in the trees above – quite a rarity to see.
However the respite quickly passes and Dee suggests we try and hitch a ride but our chances look slim. And so it’s on for another 2-3 to Portela. We remain optimistic that modern transport will come to our rescue but again it seems unlikely and we are even less motivated to hitchhike after being told the Spanish don’t like to pick people up. Refreshed with Shandies we head on for another couple of k and find good accommodation at Vega de Valcarce. We’re sitting on the verandah with our vino and chippies above a running stream watching our washing dry in the setting sun. We’ve arranged for taxi in the morning to take us onto Cebreiro – we think. Less than 200k to go.
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