Camino del Norte Day 27: “It’s Galicia”

October 27, 2015

Ribadao to Lourenzá, 16.5 miles

Throughout the hike, even as we moved closer to Santiago, the end still seemed very far away.  Now that we’ve entered Galicia, however, our walk feels less like a random hike through rural Spain and more like an actual quest.  It’s all coming together.

When we left Ribadeo this morning, we had hiked well over 300 miles with about 120 miles left to go, so about eight more days of walking.  We should arrive in Santiago either Monday or Tuesday of next week.

Galicia is very mountainous, and we will have some of our most challenging climbs since the first week, when we endured the coastal mountains of the Basque Country, but we’ve gotten stronger both physically and mentally these past weeks and we’re ready for the challenges that this next week may bring.

One of those challenges is the weather, as we discovered today.  Galicia makes its own weather.  It doesn’t matter what the forecast might say; if you’re hiking through northern Galicia, you’ll probably get rain and wind and clouds and sun in a random, unpredictable mix.  Today we paused I don’t know how many times to remove or add clothing based on what the capricious weather was doing.  Across the day, we had more costume changes than you might see at a Cher concert.  It would rain hard for a few minutes and then clear up almost instantly and then start again a bit later.  To make matters worse, we were typically going either up or downhill with little flat ground in between, so we might be soaked in sweat one minute and then freezing the next.  Not surprisingly, Galicia gets more rain than any other region of Spain.

At one point, we were putting our rain gear back on in response to a fresh downpour when a farmer on a tractor passed us.  He smiled, shrugged, and said, “Es Galicia.”  How Zen is that?  “It’s Galicia.”  Sometimes we just need to accept.  For better or worse, rain or shine, “It’s Galicia.”

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This picture was taken at the edge of a farmer’s immense field, where we sat and had a break. You can see him the middle of the field. He was patiently walking back and forth along the length of the field checking I-don’t-know what.  The rolling mountains lay beyond

Even though we’ve only been here a day, we are becoming enamored with Galicia.  The regions we’ve been hiking through in northern Spain are known as España Verde, “Green Spain,” because of the verdant, pastoral landscape, but Galicia is even more green, if that’s possible, thanks to the rain.

We made it to the Lourenzá albergue around 5:00.

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Lourenzá is a small town with not much more than a few houses and stores, but it is home to the 10th-century Benedictine Monastery de San Salvador, a national historical monument. Today is is now an art museum.  It was closed when we got there, but here’s a look at the exterior.

 

We were happy to find Detlef at the albergue.  We hadn’t seen him in a few days and figured he was well ahead of us and that we wouldn’t see him again.  The albergue was quite nice and had a kitchen, so Dale and Detlef cooked and we had dinner together.  We were happy when Hannah showed up a bit later and joined us for dinner, and we spent an evening enjoying the company of these two dynamic and interesting people.

Our first day in Galicia was a wonderful one.


We’ve written a lot about Camino del Norte!  Read more of our Camino blog posts here.