July 10:  Ribadeo to Lourenza  47,893 steps

All but one are healthy and ready to hit the road!!!  Today's venture, up and over the first of many mountain ranges.  Breakfast early and for the most part in the room made of supplies purchased the day before at the local Supermercado.  Then it is out of the town by way of the back streets and a farmer's field.  The mountains sit to the south and invite us to dare climb them.  This morning they are all shielded in clouds so the summits are hard to see, but we know that today's route takes us to at least 450 meters.  We are in Galicia now so the sight of mountains will be common place.  It is also the last of the Spanish regions that we cross into.

Within one kilometer of the day's journey the route turned to trail and headed straight up the side of the mountain in front of us.  No switch backs today.  We traversed several farm fields to get to the woods and then pushed our way up through the brambles and tall grasses along with some beautiful large ferns on a path at times no wider than one boot.  Higher and higher we went only to briefly drop down into some farmer's barnyard, then around the back of his house, then barn and once again up the next ridge.  The pathway would go up one mountain and down into the valley on the other side only to go up the other side of the valley and over the next mountain ridge.  Each time we descended into a valley we went a little less making the ups much longer than the downs.  For over 20 kilometers we followed this plan.  At Villamartin Pequeno we could see its sister town, Villamartin Grande across the valley knowing full well that we were going to visit both!!  It should be noted that the bigger of the two hamlets, Villamartin Grande had a population of 21 so you can see that Villamartin Pequeno was no roaring metropolis!!

At about 8 kilometers from the day's end the yellow arrows started pointing in a more descending direction with no sights of towns in any direction.  After climbing all day a little down seemed good.  This time, however, the road twisted and turned as it went giving a break to the degree of slope at each bend.  Interesting that on one side of a mountain there is no thought to the idea of creating a turn in the road, yet on the other side it seems like the natural thing to do.  Guess those early pilgrims were in a hurry to get the ups over and didn't want their donkey cart to get away from them on the down!  Wonder how they handled it going home?

Lourenza is a quiet little town, population 1393 tucked in the side of a valley deep in the mountains.  Our hotel was called The Union, why we can't figure out, but served its purpose to the dirty, hungry, tired pilgrims.  The kitchen closed at 4 and we arrived around 4:30pm.  The family run place very generously allowed us to order the Menu de dia as long as we ate the leftovers -- which at this state could have been anything and we would have consumed it -- and sit in the closed dining room for as long as we wanted.  Very nice folks!! 

On the Camino

Frankie and Mary on the Old Bridge

On the Camino

More Camino

And Some More Camino

Sue on the Camino

Galicia's Version of the Monolith - the mileage from Santiago is now included at the bottom of each.  A sort of count down!!!

The Valley Resident!