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Day 19: O Vicedo to Ortigueira

A day of two walking parts. A morning where I covered 20km in some of the most beautiful nature one can find (even more spectacular than the previous days if at all possible) and an afternoon where, after a very heavy lunch, I covered 12km of not so exciting road walking. I have read that some people take the train for the last 12km of today’s stage and the first 8km of tomorrows stage.

I was up at 7am and had showered and packed by 7.30 expecting to be breakfast-less. But the bar I was told would be closed was open. I ordered toast and coffee and then almost left without paying. The waitress calling me back as I was about to leave. Embarrassing, not least as I’d taken all my cups and plates to the counter before walking out.

I followed the bay to the small fishing port of O Barqueiro, crossing the arched bridge, climbed ca. 4km through a forest before reaching the coast, about 50m above the coastline. I passed a boardwalk and then a dirt track with three houses – all had a Porsche parked in their driveway!

As soon as I hit the coast, the views were truly amazing.

It’s amazing to think when you stand here, 65 years old, that these formations have been underway for thousands of thousands of years, formed by water beating against them. The whole wonder is then topped by blossoming yellow gorse, other wild flowers and birds singing away. There were many seagulls circling overhead. I was surprised to read yesterday that the number of seagulls has fallen dramatically in this area – I think they’ve moved to the south coast of the UK terrorising holiday makers and stealing their food.

I met a Swiss couple, like me enjoying the views. They had driven along bumpy tracks in a small rented car to enjoy the views along the coast. They get a snapshot, albeit a spectacular one. One needs to sail or walk to get the whole picture. And that is one of the reasons I walk. But then again, I also have to walk through the outskirts of Gijon, whilst a car manages it in a few minutes 🙂

I passed a handful of sheep sheep grazing at the edge of a cliff, before leaving the coast temporarily, passing yet another eucalyptus forest on the way down, to yet another beach.

And then a mad 30 minutes started. First there was a cow with a rope around her horns, being used to try and move the cow. The farmer told me to wait, but the cow wasn’t going anywhere.

Next there were a bunch of cows across the path. They started to moo, get up and walk towards me when they saw me. They were probably on the path because it was dry, and I had to take a large circle around then, where it was wet. Walking down towards Espasante, the view of the bay and the village with water in front and behind was stunning. I spent 10 mins trying to work out how to take a panorama picture with my camera – one can’t. Later I realised that I could have used my phone.

Moving on I reached the first of three beaches connecting to Espasante. The problem was that there was a temporary river, blocking my way, due to the rain. After 10 mins deciding what to do, it was shoes and socks off and wade through. As I sat and dried my feet, two locals passed me and instead of taking their shoes off, walked through a garden of the house  next to the river.

I continued and started a steep climb above the three beaches, instead of walking across them, as my map stated. My phone sent a notification that I was off track. Back down I could see that I was following the signs, but my map said to walk along the beaches. I couldn’t really see where the path went as each beach seemed to have a steep, rocky climb at it furthest point. I estimated the climb was 30-50m up and down to the next beach. I wasn’t feeling brave enough for that, so back up the steep hill I’d already partly climbed for a 2km detour in relation to walking across the beaches.

I finally reached the port at Espasante and looked for somewhere to buy a sandwich. I hit upon a bar packed with locals and before I had time to ask for a sandwich, I was presented the menu del dia options. So I went for tuna salad (which was tinned tuna mixed with egg and tomato and a side of french fries – and enough for two people), pork chops (two massive chops, french fries and a salad), tiramisu, coffee, cola and 1,5liter bottle of water. For the grand total of 12 €. I know it isn’t haut-cuisine, but the food is fresh, made on the spot and tastes excellent for what it is – and for 12€.

It was the equivalent of 1€ per kilometer I need to walk today and perhaps 1€ per kilogram I feel have gained in weight after all those french fries. I still needed to walk 12kms to get to my hostel tonight. 12kms along roads, with little traffic, little to see, but in beautiful sunshine. I put my headphones on and sang along to feel good hits, to keep me going.

I reached the restaurant/hostel at 5pm, only to be told the restaurant was currently closed and the nearest place to eat was in town, 2km away. A bit irritating when the reason I choose this place, beyond it being on the trail, was that there was a restaurant. Then again. I wasn’t that hungry after my massive lunch.

I walked into Ortigueira to look around and to buy some bread and cheese for a sandwich tonight and something for breakfast. Ortigueira was quite a nice town, that based on some of the building has had a more exclusive past. An American stopped me – he lived along the coast for 6 months and in New York for 6 months a year. He was interested in photography and asked about the camera and was interested how I found out where and how long to walk.

I think this probably the noisiest hotel I have stayed in – nobody is talking, it is quiet outside, but every move anybody makes in their room can be heard. Probably due to a combination of thin walls and tiled floors. I will have to find my earplugs and hope for a good nights sleep.

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