Today we were roused out of our beds by more roosters crowing. Once one begins it seems that they all want to join in. We have a 24Km walk to Palas de Rei and we began our walk starting off with a steep woodland climb … very steep … like really, really steep!
The notes on this stage describe it as a very tough beginning but continues with rolling hills and from there on it you’ll be finished before you know it. The day is overcast but extremely warm. I decide to wear runners to combat the hill climbs.
There are quite a lot of people on the route today and at certain points it becomes congested.
We eventually exit the woodland climb only to see more hills in front of us. The climbs are tough, long prolonged gradual steep climbs that can exhaust the walker quite quickly but they are not unachievable, tiring at best, but the descents are the real killers.
Just as steep going down as coming up. Your shins and knees and thigh muscles take the brunt of the assault and your walking pole stops you rushing headlong down the hills. The real killer is your feet. Due to the steepness and the unevenness of the terrain your feet constantly slide in your shoes, boots or sandals and that is how blisters begin.
It was very boring today as we followed alongside the main roads criss-crossing every so often. The scenery wasn't as picturesque. The route was very, very, dusty especially when the track ran alongside the main roads. Seeing the distance in front that we had to walk was quite disheartening at times but encouragement to each other soon got us over it.
We walked almost 25k straight due to not knowing where we were as we discovered that the markers and the information leaflets do not match in distances and the café stops, not as prevalent as yesterday, were packed. We could only grab a quick respite along the roadside and refill our bottles and of course push our way in to get our passports stamped.
We kept moving on until we found a spare table at a café … blistered and aching joints!
Familiar faces join us at this stop and as usual we acknowledge them with a friendly ‘Buen Camino’. They all look as spent as we do. Our ankles are black with the track dust and my feet are on fire from burgeoning blisters. My better half has only aching thigh muscles.
Sitting at the table we notice that every single person is on their phone, checking or updating. We also do the same but we restrict ourselves to communicating with family back home and nothing more. Technology really is everywhere.
We slept for two hours when we found the hotel we were that bushed. Tomorrow is a much shorter walk which is brilliant. My feet are in bad shape but the blister patches and painkillers are working well. One thing, if walking in trekking shoes, boots or runners, it is advisable to free your feet at the end of the walk in to a pair of flip-flops to air them as lengthy enclosure in footwear can unexpectedly lead to toe-nails falling off!
In the evening the overcast sky eventually decides to unload its water content. It is pouring down but still very warm. Thank God we missed the rain while walking!
As for Calas de Rei, an old town supported with modern architecture … not as pretty as Puerto Marin.