My good friends Jenny, Peter and Ricardo are now well on their way to Santiago with a two day headstart, so, sadly we may never meet again ( though, we have swapped email addresses ). Ronan and I have had a nice relaxing time enjoying all the wonderful sights in and around Ourense.
It’s now time to set out for Cea just 21kms ahead.
So, today I have a new walking partner and I am really looking forward to some quality time with my son. (.. only trouble is…..he is a FAST walker ! ).
Last night Ronan had his first experience of overnighting in a Refugio. We stayed in a nice one near the Cathedral…It is an old convent called San Francisco. He is not impressed since he could not sleep. Some ignorant Spanish “vacationistas” kept everyone awake moving about with their flashlights and talking at max’ volume. After a brief silence they are up again at 5am so we had no chance of any sleep. At 6am we decide to get up and get going. We set off at around 6.30am and head for the old Roman bridge (Puenta Vella ) and cross the Rio Mino. We now have to choose between two routes to Cea. We pick the east one but we can’t find the direction arrows due to road repairs and hoardings. After many enquiries from locals on their way to work, we finally figure out the route we need out of Ourense. By now the delivery vans are whizzing noisely around dropping off fresh bread and other provisions. The beautiful scent of that freshly baked bread is everywhere. Then I remember that Cea, our destination for today, is famous for it’s old traditional bakeries…this is probably where these bread vans are from…and, of course, the tourists in Ourense love it. The sky is brightening now as we face our first challenge…up, up and up narrow winding streets until we are well clear of the city with it’s barking dogs and crowing cocks. We are on a plateau now and the walking is pleasant on dry sand/clay paths. My Samsung Note is out of charge so Ronan takes some pic’s…..and what a picture ! Looking back down on the still sleepy old city which appears to nestle beneath layer after layer of mountains near and far away, we are enthralled with the sheer beauty of it all. There is no doubt about it, the Romans could really pick their spot ! Then again, the presence of the hot springs would have enfluenced them since they were serious pleasure and comfort seekers.The walking is wonderful now….sometimes in open country and often along dark foreboding “Hobbit” like paths. We have planned to stop for a coffee break at a town called Tamallancos about 13km on but the roadsigns tell us that it is a ( “Spanish”) 1/2km off track. By now I know from previous experience that such distance signs are grossly understated. We decide to walk on to the next village called Bouzas. On the way there we find a very old small humpbacked bridge…it looks Roman and probably is. It has strange writing on each sidewall and we can only wonder what these words mean. So, Bouzas turns out to be a really nice tidy little village with a lovely prominent cafe/bar….just the place for a well earned rest. It’s a fine sunny morning so we decide to dine outside where we are engaged by a friendly “old style” commercial traveller ( Company Rep’ ). He smiles at us curiously and seems to be delighted to meet two Irish Peregrinos and we chat for a while.The staff and patrons are really nice and friendly. Generally speaking, this has been my experience of rural Spanish people since I left Seville on May 14th. Now, powered up again with the carb’s, we leave for Cea about 8kms ahead. We cross another old stone bridge a bit further on. This one has unusual cut stone scrolls at each end. Interesting ! We will make no more stops now until we reach Cea. This village is typically modern/Spanish in style …a mix of the very old and the very new. The Refugio is in a converted old house/sheds and is clean and adequate. After laundry, a shower, and a snooze, we are feeling peckish and head further into the village to forage for some beer and food places. First, we find a nice cafe/barra and then the supermercado. Now it’s time for that well earned cool beer. After more than one we visit what appears to be a restaurant…or is it a shop ? It is a shop/cafe/bar called Sol y Luna ( Sun and Moon ) and is owned by Enzo ( Italian ) and Mary ( Spanish ). What a fabulous couple ! Apart from great wholesome food and drinks they sell a variety of Spanish artisan objects, books and a sprinkling of religious items. Today, burger is on the menu so Ronan makes a quick decision….for both of us ! What a great one it was…fully loaded with all that’s “Burgery”, tangy and tasty ! Mary tempted us with samples of the famous Cea breads. Heavenly ! After a promise not to say “Adios” until we have breakfast there next morning, we leave for the supermercado for tomorrow’s provisions and then to the bunks for some badly needed “shut-eye”. The noisy “vacationistas” are here again but now they seem quieter….perhaps, and hopefully, exhausted. Day done !!