Day 39. June 27th. Castro Dozon to Silleda

Yesterday was a “scorcher” and I was developing one of my classic drowsey headaches….for me, this is always a sign of an electrical storm on the way. So, it is no surprise then that a mighty thunderstorm is brewing on the horizon. The early morming sky is black as ink on the southern horizon and now and again a spectacular lightening bolt illuminates the menacing clouds.

Storm clouds gathering near Castro Dozon

Storm clouds gathering near Castro Dozon

The general concensus is that we all should set off northwards ahead of it as soon as possible. Our friends David and Klaus are not going to be spooked or rushed by all this unfolding atmospheric drama so they are taking it easy in the kitchen. After a final check we say our goodbyes for the day and set off. We would hopefully stay ahead of that storm. As a few big raindrops land on us we speed up and walk on a track parrallel to a main road, busy with early morning commercial traffic. A big milk tanker whizzes by with “Celtic” emblazoned on it. Yes, this is a nice reminder that we are now in the land of our Irish ancestors and we are feeling good !After about a half hour the skies clear somewhat and Ronan jokes that we have outrun the storm. Everywhere is getting greener and fresher with lots of glorious flowers fronting many roadside houses. We stop to admire one particular house with a front garden completely devoted to St. James and passing Peregrinos. Now that is real dedication !

Front Garden of a private home...dedicated to St. James and Peregrinos
Front Garden of a private home…dedicated to St. James and Peregrinos

Four hours out now and we reach a little village called Laxe. We pass by a nice new and tempting Refugio and while we are puffing a bit under pressure from that thundery heat, we decide to plod on. Just outside the village we find a veritable oasis of a little bar/ restuarant called Maria Jose’s. The lady in question is tending bar and she can tell that we might be suffering from heat exhaustion. She ushers us to a lower area at the back and explains that there is aircon’ here. Boy, this is heaven and we dig into two massive ice-creams and water….more water with lots of ice !  We now have about 10kms before we reach Silleda, so we drag ourselves out of Maria Jose’s and hit the road again feeling nicely refreshed. We soon find ourselves walking by a winding river and wonder if this might be the Rio Deza which we have been told about. We should look out for an ancient early 10th Century bridge and after going by a few very large and old ones and a viaduct, we reach a jem of an old bridge. This is it !!

Ponte Taboada  ...912 AD over the Rio Deza
Ponte Taboada …912 AD over the Rio Deza

A newly erected pillar tells us that it was built in the year 912 AD and that this year, 2012 is it’s 1100th anniversary. Amazingly it seems to be in it’s original condition The ruts in the stone slabs have been chiselled out by countless heavily laden cart-wheels over the centuries. What a sight to see ! We quietly try to imagine what kind of great ancestors traversed this wonderful piece of engineering and perhaps rested for a while on the very spot where I now sit….ah, if only this old bridge could speak !

Ronan crossing Ponte Taboada...built in 912 AD

Ronan crossing Ponte Taboada…built in 912 AD

From here we walk through some majical countryside and after an hour or so we reach our goal for today, Silleda.Silleda is a busy and fairly modern town with lots of accomodation. We settle for a basic room in a nice hostal  and enjoy a well earned shower. Then, off to check out the cafe/bars. Beer never tasted so good !  We haven’t seen any of the usual Peregrinos at all today but just then as we were looking for a restuarant we bump into Jesus of Madrid. He knows the local geography and leads us to a nice place called Restuarant Gonzalez. He joins us for dinner and we watch some football on the “standard huge flat screen T.V.” that are so popular in Spain.

Camino Tom and Jesus of Madrid !

Camino Tom and Jesus of Madrid !

We have a nice meal and a lovely relaxing evening here and then head for the hostal. We now have only about 40kms to go to reach Santiago de Compostela. We could make it in one day but at this stage we are in “warm-down” mode and decide to take two days. That’s it for today.