Day 30. Pereje – Alto do Poio 10-06-2018

Walked 33.2 km, 8 hours 27 minutes
Ascent: 1070 meters
Descend: 250 meters
Kilometers to be traveled: 153.5

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If you have read my blog about this last night, you already know about the meeting of the lumberjack association Pereje. It seemed that they had their annual meeting, or celebration, last night here in our alberge. It was early when I moved into my sleeping place and decided to take a nap until the next morning. I cannot remember that I went to sleep so early this trip.
Not much after midnight I woke up from the chairman of the lumberjack club who had moved in with me. On his own, he sawed the entire Black Forest from Pereje. From this point almost no longer slept that night. The first to gather early in the morning was my wood-saw neighbor. In the early hours and silence, now it was possible, he packed his things and left. The moment he closed the door of the dormitory behind him, almost everyone who was still “sleeping” in the room sat up in bed and looked at each other with the question: Didn’t sleep last night?
The light could go on in the room and yes, in the so well-known international sign language and poor English / German / French / Italian we were talking about Mr. President. A few then decided to do a “power nap”, but most of them decided to prepare for a new day. Can we continue today with so little rest? Time will tell us.
The predictions of my 2 weather apps on the smart phone come true, it is overcast wet, too wet not to put on the poncho, so…. We crawl into our poncho again, well poncho, it is a raincoat with rucksack extension. So I only continue my way, a cycle path next to a B-road that is nice and quiet this morning. Occasionally a car comes by, it is early and Sunday, so calculate how quietly … .. Just as quietly as in the Netherlands.
The rain clouds, or is it fog, slowly creep in front of me, over the road, under and above the highway that runs above me on high concrete pillars. My whole morning will slowly go uphill, in the second half of the morning it will be quite steep. At a certain moment you therefore leave the B-road and continue on an agricultural path. This path runs through the meadows and is strewn with large stones and pies. No no Limburg pies such as rice pies, apricots pies or cherry pies. No, here are flans of cows, bulls and oxen. You will probably also find here what the noble animals, horses, let go.
Because of the rain and the humidity of those natural pies you have to be careful twice where you place your shoes and keep your balance well balanced. Without sticks it is a lot harder, but luckily I still have mine with me and it is invaluable. In the last village I walked through, before this climb started, you could choose to take the climb to O Cebreiro on horseback. For a fee of course and your backpack would then be transported to O Cebreiro by motorized transport.
During my climb up I was therefore also passed by 3 or 4 horses with riders. Pilgrims who wanted to take it easy, but 1 of them was the horse tamer or owner. Almost 2 hours later I saw the owner walk down the path with the horses again, with 1 horse running independently behind. A nice sight, you would almost think that he had lost his driver on the journey back.

At a height of 664 meters I had made a stop for an early lunch, then continued the climb and passed the border to my last autonomous region, Galicia. The road went up quite steeply and soon I will arrive in O Cebreiro, a protected village at an altitude of 1,306 meters. This place is also known for its very old pilgrim refugio. You will also find the Santa Maria la Real sanctuary here, the oldest preserved church on the pilgrim route to SdC. You can also see characteristic pallozas, Celtic origin compact stone houses with an oval floor plan and ditto characteristic roofs.
A real tourist attraction here in the mountains, it is teeming with tourists, pilgrims-by-bus tourists who cover a kilometer or 2 on foot every day and see the sights. You also have an alberge in this place when you walk out of the village. The alberge is not open yet, it is only half past one, the cleaning has not yet been completed, but pilgrims are already waiting to register. I also see the Italian family again, they move in here today, but I had and still have other plans. I’m going ahead, it’s still early.
I take the alternative route from this alberge, on my way to Hospital da Condesa, my planned place to stay. I walk a bit uphill, then I end up in a forest on a forest path, also coincidentally that it is a path in the forest and therefore may go through life as a Dutch forest path. The road is still well marked with the granite posts along the road with the shell and / or yellow arrow for the direction. On the other side of the forest you reach a wide black gravel path, it goes a bit downhill.
The 2nd village in the descent is therefore Hospital etc. And if I am not mistaken in the building that the alberge must be, I still think to myself: it must be 100 times better on the inside than the outside I want to spend the night here. I don’t even bother to look inside and walk on. Another climb is waiting for Alto de San Roque. Here is an image of a pilgrim trying to prosecute against the wind in his path to SdC. You would always like this. So today, this is also coming from the direction that you want to walk.
After passing the pass, it goes a bit downhill again, and then goes on to a climb that is as true as possibly the steepest of all my camino. The muscles really start sputtering a little, but they don’t acidify. Take smaller steps and don’t let the pace go too far. I arrive at the Alto do Poio. Here is a cafe with alberge. I think it has been nice for today, here I take my sleeping accommodation for the upcoming night.
According to Rother, this last passage is the last big hurdle on the way to SdC, so peanuts become those last walking days. In this alberge it is quiet and remains calm. The owner indicates that it is wise to use the blankets that are available, they are on the beds, also good because it cools down a lot here at night. The simple daily menu tastes good, I take a local Galician soup, followed by a meat dish and a dessert, naturally accompanied with a bottle of wine. No, I never completely empty the bottles of wine with the menus, but at least half of them. Or do I leave them just less than half full?
The cafe / restaurant / alberge is guarded by a beautiful large bulky Spanish mountain dog. He is not short of anything and thinks everything is fine. He just has to stay outside, something he doesn’t like so much. In the cafe is also the grandmother, nice for a fire. Have a chat with the international company during dinner, 5 or 6 pilgrims landed. 2 Spanish girlfriends also take a meal break, after which they decide to continue for a while.
This evening it will again be early in my nest, after of course having performed all “obligations”. Do nothing and nobody short and where possible comply with all digital agreements. If you compare my daily blog with this text it can deviate considerably. Remember that I process this more than 7 months later and I relive the experience of the day from a different perspective. If you combine them, the experience may be complete, but if you would walk this route, you will undoubtedly experience it differently.

Accommodation: Albergue Del Puerto

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