Saturday, September 14th

about 1:00am
Loud music, Spanish, from the Plaza Major down below the albergue. Didn't long, maybe ten minutes. Some kind of festival, maybe One in the morning is part of the 'let's wake the Peregrinos' part of whatever ritual this is. Was torn between closing the door to the balcony, and wanting a closer look at what was going on down there. Ended up not doing either.

And let the muesli-fest begin! 'Absolut Muesli Crunch', and, as an added bonus, has little piece of chocolate mixed in. The Breakfast of the Gods.

And, according to Raju, Pradela is just 'a village'.

Stone buildings, huge vegie gardens and fields ploughed by horses, donkeys actually put to work, chooks. Helpful old Spanish guys who show you where the agua fountain is, and which direction the Camino takes from here. Farmer's wives walking purposefully by in green gumboots and carrying hessian sacks, while another hangs washing on the line. after tying up the donkey.
This place is the true Hippy Heaven, but without the pretence, or the ideologues forcing their philosophies onto a community.

No, this place is real. It's always been like this. Things have always been done the way they still do here.

On the outskirts of Trabadelo, having descended the mountain. Saw Swedishpilgrim resting under a tree. If he's expecting to make El Cebreiro today, as he was planning, then he'd better get movin' and a'haulin' that trolley.
Through the woods, a tree stump with moss, looking like a stone troll, and through what was almost an earthern tunnel, the tree branches forming the canopy. Perfect.

A house decorated with tincans and fluro-paint. Looks like crap. Fluro-crap that is. Then walking out of town, there's meant to be three bars here, but I can't find any of 'em. Today's been a totally caffeine free day, so far. Chris hasn't had her cup of tea, so she's on the verge of crankiness too.

There's been quite a few pilgrims without backpacks on the Way today. Maybe they're just hoping The Way will provide.

Not sure what this place is called at all. Valcarce, maybe. Anyway, it's a rather large bar/restaurant/hostal thing, with trucks out the front. And the back of the loo door in the Mens is the Peregrino's Libre D'Or, if "Fir me el Peregrino" means anything.
Coffees, finally, and a Mars Bar, and on the TV is a starlet with a broken finger, which isn't stopping her from quivering with the best, but she has a violinist and a cellist in her band, and she has nice tits, so she's okay. Amaral?

Walking with the 'viaduct' on one side, a freeway I think, but crossing the river, the Rio Valcarce dozens of times, usually over stone bridges. Vega itself can't be far.

Vega de Valcarce
And no, it wasn't. Passing through Ambasmestas, then Soygayoso, where Chris bought a scallop shell from a young boy's stall. 2 euros.

First albergue, a private one, and the woman there told us that the Municipal Refugio was 500 metres further on. Good move, it's in the town.
Arrived. No one here. Dumped the bags, then down to the restaurant. Lunch, we're starving, salads, a beer and wine, with olive raciones.

Then back to the refugio, and the hospitalero eventually turns up, and she looks disturbingly like an ex-student of mine, but can't be. Anyway, paid, had the passports stamped, upstairs, we're the first in, so we get to choose.

Small siesta, as it turned out, but then the Germans arrived, and yellyellyellyell. Woke up not knowing where the hell I was, or what time it was, if I'd walked or not, if it was time to leave, took a while to adjust. From unconsciousness to being in the middle of a crowd of yelling Germans in milliseconds. Could've been in Berlin for all I knew.

Bar el Refugio del Cazador
And judging by the photographs on it's walls, this is pig-huntin' territory. Not only that, but the heads of the real things are displayed, triumphantly. When pig-huntin' season's on, the shooters display their catch right here, out the front of the Bar. In the photograph, the concrete is awash with pig blood, and the carcasses of the dozen or so of the hunted piggies that didn't get away are at the feet of the proud hunters. I'm wondering what they'd do if a wild piggie killed one of the hunters, maybe in a surprise attack or something. Wondering if they'd put his poor, unfortunate carcass with the hunters or the hunted. I'm sure they could prop the dead guy up for the photo shoot.

A sit by the stream, the Rio, and watched the seven cows being herded down the street on the other side. Then wanders across the bridge, around, then back. Tres pleasant, but couldn't really be bothered climbing the 20 minutes to the Saracen Castle. I'm not really in tourist mode.

Chris successfully misdirected a German bikie pilgrim, "Refugio ?" and unintentionally pointed the wrong way, towards El Cebreiro. Then me, "No, refugio's back that way, to your left". She obviously believed Chris.

The bikie pilgrim is still looking for the refugio.

Another menu de Peregrino. Another evening ending with me being a little pissed on red wine. It's as cheap as water, and I feel obliged to finish the bottle. If it's cold, yep, I'll drink it. If not, then I'll drink it anyway.