Last night’s Albergue turns out to be fine and a reliable wifi signal compensates for many things, particularly for Rosie ;-). I have the bonus of a surprise Skype conversation with my Jordanian friend, Hanan, who spots that I am online. We also make use of the facilities to put some clothes through the washer and drier -things were starting to smell a bit funky. Dinner is something of a curate’s egg – the melon and ham starter is delicious but croquettes are just what they say – cheesy potato croquettes, served with chips! As always, the Tarte de Santiago is excellent though.
The Italian cyclists are on the move early and we follow them out – we decide to breakfast in Ribadiso, five km down the road. Rosie has great faith in a weather forecast which stays it will get very hot later…. After good pan au chocolat for breakfast, we walk on to the adjacent town of Arzua as we are down to our last twenty euros in cash – Geoff/Grandpa would not be impressed ;-). We have a hairy moment when the cashpoint at the first bank we try is having ‘communication problems’ and won’t give us any money. We wonder for a few moments whether we could make it to Santiago on 20 euros (we could – but we’d be bored and hungry without any snack breaks!) but fortunately we spot a nearby bank with a cashpoint machine which is happy to talk.
Leaving Arzua, the path is a little less undulating than yesterday, but through similarly pleasant woodland. There is a frequent smell of blackcurrant leaves which I can’t quite pin down. It is, again, surprisingly quiet apart from one or two cafes along the way where people congregate. When we’ve walked maybe 10 km, we are passed by a Canadian and an Israeli who are intent on getting to Santiago today – they are walking fast, but will still have their work cut out.
We sample the local cheese at a mid-morning stop in A Cazalda – it tastes rather like Cotherstone – quite soft and mild. We then stop for excellent vegetable soup for lunch in a bar at Brea. As we are only three km from our planned stopping place at Santa Irene, we celebrate having money in our pockets by treating ourselves to shandies too. On the basis of the description in our guide book, we splurge on the 13 Euro private Albergue, which turns out to be excellent choice. We are amazed and delighted to find sheets on the beds and to be handed proper towels. Yeah for a night off sleeping bags and travel towels :-). Dinner is starting to smell really good too.
We arrive as it starts to get warm so Rosie gets her wish and spends the afternoon sitting in the sun. In fact we both get a little pink, having been oh so careful until now. We covered 24.5 km today, which leaves only 23 km tomorrow. Santiago here we come!