Madrid Camino Day 25 – Vega to Fonfria

May 30, 2017

Crossed into Galicia today.

A happy moment crossing into Galicia

I just got through one of the longest and highest climbs of the Camino – 8 hours uphill gaining over 650 metres in the first half of the day (roughly a 210 storey building) then up and down through mountain passes for the second half of the day. 

I was apprehensive this morning because I woke up at 5:30 am with a screaming muscle spasm in my right calf. It took almost an hour of heat, massage and stretching to get to the point where I could hobble to the bathroom. It was the worst I’d ever experienced. Luckily I was mentally prepared for this 20 km day and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Reaching the end of today’s walk at Fonfria felt nothing less than heroic. (Of course that might something to do with the endorphins coursing through my veins)

The picture does little justice to the steepness of the trail.

It was a special day for so many reasons. Firstly, I was virtually alone all day as a great many pilgrims take a bus or a taxi to avoid this stage. Second, it was stunningly beautiful being so high up in the clouds among fields of aromatic wild flowers, mountain streams, soaring eagles and ancient forests. I felt so grateful to be able to experience these places and things.

Stunning landscapes today.

I am staying in a private family hotel, Casa de Lucas, with just a few rooms in a tiny mountain village. The bedding is extraordinary and the dinner was the best I’ve had in Spain. The location is so peaceful and the owner is very friendly. There are chickens in the streets and cow shit everywhere, so it is also quite aromatic and one must watch one’s step.

Tomorrow I venture off the standard Camino to walk through deep countryside to stay in Samos, home of the Monastery of St. Julian of Samos that was founded in the sixth century and, in addition to other things, shelters pilgrims.

Tonight I am tending to my aching legs and looking forward to what some say is a storybook walk off the beaten track.