Monday, September 16th

El Cebreiro
Still here. It's misty and moisty and cold and wet from rain out there. This promises to be an interesting morning's walk, really interesting. According to the Pilgrimage Road, there's wild boars and wolves out there, "that you won't see during the day". Great, it's still dark for another hour. An hour to get either gored or eaten.

Still dark, still misty, but no wolves howling. Maybe, though, we'll find the 'wild absinthe', just don't quite know what it actually looks like.

Alto do Poio
And a group of kilted Macpilgrims just walked in. God knows where they came from, maybe just off the bus from Scotland.
It's been a real bastard of a morning. The mist so dense, had to use the torch just to find the bloody road, and finding the arrows was just a joke, almost impossible until you're right on them. The three kilometres to Linares seemed to take much longer than three kilometres should, and become convinced that I'd missed an arrow, but I couldn't see we'd taken a wrong path. No other pilgrims around, but Raju insists that we 'KSO', so we did, and eventually found an arrow. Relief.
Then Alto San Roque, with the statue of San Roque boldly striking out against the wind, which I guess justified buying the new pin yesterday. San Roque is wearing sandals, which is setting a bad example. Then, through Hospital da Condesa, there's an albergue there, maybe that's where the Ochaye Laddies began from.
On the way, I'd 'bonjour, comment ca va ?' to a pilgrim I knew to be French, and the poor bastard looked really pleased, thinking that perhaps he was about to get some French conversation. Nope. Then later, there's a comment about Kangaroos (us being the kangaroos). I reckon a walking pole up his arse would be too kind a death.

This town isn't meant to have a bar, but it does. Unexpected bonus. Second unexpected bonus actually. At Fronfria del Camino, the crepe lady appeared with crepes avec sucre for the pilgrims, and which were good. The three Brazilians enjoying them too. The crepe lady then asking for a euro each. This woman is sharp as a tack.

The walk becoming better, guess it would have had to try really hard to get worse than the morning. The sun coming out, eventually. Herds of cows, lordy, but Chris just shooshes them out of the way, while I'm getting panicky about getting swished with a shit-covered tail.
Mostly downhill from here, down gravel paths, and laneways, which kind of makes up for the roadwalking earlier.

Just love these drinks machines. And Danish wonderpilgrim just cruised through.

Walking passed the albergue, and got a room in a hotel instead, The Bar Fonda Fernandez.

Made all the right choices, as it's turned out. Leaving early, we avoided the afternoon rain. Some pilgrims walking through town, clad in ponchos and raincoats and plastic sheeting. They're welcome to it, walking in the rain isn't pleasant.
Still, went wanders, having lunch at some restaurant, sopa and boccadillos, 6;60, which included wine and a beer. Then, over the road, to the Xacobeo Restaurant for coffee, and Chris telling me about some nationally televised IQ tests.

And being good pilgrims, to the iglise, and stamped the passports to prove we've been here. There's a fresh grave being dug in the cemetery beside the church. Inside, St Roque or St James has centre space behind the altar, while Mary's off to the side. A very Gothic looking Mary too.

Later, found where the supermercado is, then back to the Fernandez. Downstairs, in the bar the TV has the all-important bicycle races, and it's obviously raining everywhere in Spain, as the TV cameras are spattered with drops.
Somebody's won the race, and the losers are battling it out for the places.

Bejaysus, it's really belting down out there now. The Triacastela refugio will be awash with wet things. Wet boots, wet trousers, wet backpacks, wet socks, wet pilgrims.
Hmm, just remembered that one of my boots is actually propping up the window in our room ... damn.

The Xacobeo, again, this time for tea. We end up with the Pilgims Menu again, as the 'Plato de Dias' didn't appear to amount to much. Choosing the first course, um, think I'll the 'Callos a la Gallego'. The waitress chick goes into some kind of shock, and begins explaining what the 'Callos a la Gallego' actually is, through mime. She's miming a cow, fingers imitating horns, and "MOOO!!". This is a warning, it's soup made from cow lips. I'm having it anyway. Then choose your second course, I'm thinking the grilled beef, Chris the fried eggs, and something else from the fridge for dessert. And a bottle.
The cowlip soup isn't too bad, it's kind of funny. I'm wondering how all these cows are managing without their lips.

We have Mr Yelling Man, in the bar down below.
There's a concrete floor between us and the bar, three doors and an airtight window, and I've got the earplugs out and a pillow over my head, but no difference, Mr Yelling Man just yells right through. Didn't stop, just went on and on, 'til God knows when.
Went down, just to see what would happen if a non-local walked in. A brief glance, that's all, then he's back to directing his attention to a smaller man at the bar. Mr Yelling Man is huge, wears grey pants and a rather grotesque aqua shirt, and yells and yells, there's only quieter yelling and loud yelling.
It's the Hotel Fernandez, and I recommend the refugio. Sixty snoring peregrinos is quieter than Mr Yelling Man.