July 12:  Abadin to Vilalba   37,482 steps

The morning started in a pea soup fog.  From our hotel window we couldn't even see across the road.  Fortunately we were not going to be walking the main road, so traffic wasn't a problem, but the thought of walking through a dark woods not being able to see surface the feet were to hit was not exciting.  But we are the mighty pilgrims now, so what's a little fog to stop the group?  The Royal Order of Blue Tarps (ponchos) assembled, breakfast consumed at the hotel and off we go through the thick misty air high in the mountains with the wind howling to our backs.  Blue tarps/ponchos make a strange sound when being blown around the body as one tries to walk and pole at the same time.  Also remember these ponchos are over not only the body but the backpack as well, so the group looks a little like a bunch of "Hunchback of Notre Dome" impersonators whistling in the wind!!!

The first venture was to climb back out of the donkey's backyard and up to the lane.  While the distance wasn't very long it did give the ground plenty of time to get everyone's pant legs wet.  Nice start to a long day!!!

The lane wandered through one small town and then another almost immediately.  Both were still fast asleep, so even the dogs didn't bark.  But then, as usual these last few days, it immediately turned down a farmer's field and crossed over to a footpath carved in the forest.  It being a very foggy day, the senses were on high alert to the sights and sounds around us as we walked farther and farther into the dark and eerie woods.  It almost had the feeling of Middle Earth with the moss clinging heavily to the trees and the knots on the trunks looking frightening and alive.  

The wind had picked up by now and we were actually glad to be in the protection of the trees.  It wasn't really raining, but rather we were so high up in the mountainside that we were caught in the middle of a cloud.

As the day turned to late morning and then into the early afternoon, the clouds rose higher in the sky leaving us with shade cover, but not the need for ponchos.  The footpath had lead us over a couple of large mud holes that required forging through a farmer's field to go around, but never presented any real difficulties.  We passed few houses, but did follow many old country lanes.  Crossed an old medieval bridge and took a break at an old "wash basin" built from rock over a stream. The Camino seems to be spotted with tall concrete crosses now, each very different from the one before.  It really brings home that we are getting closer to our goal with each step.

Today a couple cafe were open so getting a coke or coffee was possible, making the day pass much quicker.  A few kilometers out from our hotel was a very nice local restaurant the just seemed to invite us in.  We didn't want to miss the 1-4pm meal time and have to wait until 9pm for dinner.  Also, we weren't sure that Frankie was going to be able to pull off two divine interventions back to back and find our hotel in time!

Tonight we are settled into a very nice parador.  Paradors are Spanish hotels built in restored old castles!  After three nights in truck stops, we figure a step up was in order.  This is also Maxwell and Jack's last night with us, so a "farewell dinner" is scheduled for later in the evening.  This is also our last rest stop so no walking tomorrow.  After that it is the big push to Santiago.  We are now only 75 miles always!!

Medieval Bridge

Frankie on the Bridge

Frankie waiting for another divine intervention


Foot Repair!

Middle Earth


Mud Hole!

One of the Many Crosses on Route


Close-up of Top of Cross

Local Cemetery