43. We’re In The Book

Last night we wandered out in search of dinner and as usual we found that nothing was available until 8.00 pm.  We had a long day ahead us and that was too late for us so we found a cafe on Plaza Major that served sandwiches, hotdogs and Churros… Camino Heaven for my two buddies!  Hot Chocolate and churros are just not my thing but I did enjoy a toasted sandwich and a very nice frozen yoghurt.  We ate as the square got busier and a chap came by playing clarinet to a soundtrack… we had Yesterday and Imagine before he moved on. Then we wandered back through the busy streets to our hotel and our beds.

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After breakfast we made an early start. There is a huge climb out of Ourense and as we left a thick cold fog clung to everything.  Luckily as we got higher we came through the fog and into sunshine.

There were lots of villages to walk through today but generally no services between any of them.  We came prepared with fruit and cakes to snack on and we knew we would get food in Cea.

In Bouzas there were some very odd gardens and displays…  Sobreira was much simpler… as it’s name kind of implied.  I started humming A Twist in my Sobriety and we spent a few annoying minutes trying to remember who sang it. Maggie had it on her phone so she played it and we danced along the camino… and out of Sobreira.

On and on again we walked into the forest  (or Dingly Dell) as Gerry has christened them.  Passing villages with very big grand houses and villages with falling down deserted houses… some villages with very strange displays and more than a few barky dogs.

Finally we arrived at Cea.  This was not out final destination… sadly that would be another 2 hours away.  But we could have a Bocadiila and a drink before heading off again.

Tonights destination was the Monasterio de Oseira; the most important monastery in Galicia, and still inhabited by Cistercian monks… much more on this tomorrow!

We climbed up a little more through yet more forest.  Gerry has been fascinated by the stone walls that we follow.  I read that the stone track we’re walking on was mediaeval and we reckoned the walls were pretty old too… whilst Maggie and I enjoyed the views Gerry pondered the engineering feat of building these structures.

We stopped for a boots off about an hour from the end.  As we were about to leave an old chap with 4 dogs and half a dozen cows meandered by.  I wanted to panic but decided they looked pretty tame and there were no bulls in sight… so I stood between Maggie and Gerry and took photos.

And then on and on  again we walked. It’s hot and were high again.  On the distant horizon, through the haze, you can see the mountains that we crossed last week… Gerry was suitably impressed which made us feel quite chuffed.

Finally, as we turned yet another corner we could see it… this huge enormous ancient monestry.  Although our first stop was the bar… oh boy we needed a cold drink!

Next we entered this amazing building to register.  The old monk took out a big thick book and proceeded to enter our names and details onto the page.  We’re there now… in the book… along with all those other thousands of pilgrims that choose this detour over the years.

I started writing this at 5.00pm and the Westminster chimes were sounding… Mr S, who was resting in the bunk beside me,  said it sounds like Grandma’s house.

We’re in a cavernous building that is just a little damp.  Today was hard work… the last few weeks are telling on Maggie and Me and Gerry has been thrown in at the deep end… thank goodness tomorrow is a short day!

We have an appointment at Vespers at 18.15 where the monks will sing… its meant to be pretty special.

I asked Gerry what he would say in the blog today… he said… We walked 🙂

There were road signs out of Ourense saying Santiago… we’ve got less than 90km to go now… Today has been a strange and surreal day but incredibly memorable nonetheless.

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