Camino de Santiago

Camino de Santiago – Day Four

After the exertions of the previous day, this was a far more pleasant distance of just twelve miles, walking from Arzúa to O Pedrouzo. I was a little reluctant to leave my accommodation as there was a lovely terrace with views out onto the countryside, but a pilgrim has to make sacrifices.

We all met near the church, known locally as Igrexa de Santiago de Arzúa, which was unfortunately closed at the early hour that we set off from Arzúa.

The start of the route was busy and I spent some time overtaking people so that I didn’t have to walk at their slow pace. I was conscious that they were enjoying their environment and treating it like a pilgrimage whilst I was storming down the path at 4mph, but each to their own of course….

The morning walk took us through some open countryside and we were fortunate again that the temperature was moderate.

I’m not an expert on the foliage of northern Spain in the medieval period, but I imagine that there was much that was wooded. These sections felt the most authentic to me in terms of what the pilgrims would have historically experienced and I enjoyed the thought that the terrain of the land here is unchanged over recent centuries.

It was at around this point that another amusing incident took place, which is that Gordon and Bev managed to go down the wrong path. This isn’t unusual on a walk that I’m leading or am participating in, but is pretty amazing on the camino where the signage is idiot proof. I of course didn’t say anything at their incompetence, but I’m sure it’ll be brought up again in the future….

This is one of the quietest main roads that I can recall seeing in some time. Beautifully peaceful, despite the initial appearance of being a scar on the landscape.

The breakfast stop en route, a healthy Coca Cola and a croissant which had perhaps seen better days, although the taste was fine.

A cockerel excited by the banana in Bev’s bag.

Gordon made friends with the local cockerel and we all enjoyed the moment when the cock attacked him. I could make a joke here, but it’ll be beneath me, so I’ll avoid the temptation.

One of the more inventive cafe arrangements at Casa Tia Dolores, which looked an inviting location to visit. Unfortunately, it appears from TripAdvisor that this cafe, which brewed its own beer, has permanently closed down which seems rather a shame.

A reminder of the slightly tropical nature of the surroundings.

My healthy lunch en route. The staff had given me a cracked glass by mistake (or perhaps on purpose if they hated me) and I managed to break one of the ashtrays when moving it, which didn’t bode entirely well. Bev spent some time taking photographs of another English group doing the walk and Susanna and Jim caught us up as they were a little behind. It transpired that Susanna had spent half the morning digging, hence why they were late.

The afternoon walk took us through woodland, which was fortunate as the temperature was starting to rise.

More afternoon woodland…. I accept that this isn’t the most descriptive of terms, but to a degree the landscape around this part of Spain did get a little repetitive at times and I have managed to forget anything of particular note for certain sections of the walk.

The meeting place in the evening in O Pedrouzo, the town cockerel, which seemed appropriate given the events of earlier in the day. Being the gentleman that I am, I took the rare action of bothering to walk everyone to their hotels, which I thought was very generous.

After settling in to our hotels for about twenty minutes, the two Steves and I headed to look for a bar. I was moderately irritated to discover that ‘Taste the Way’, the bar that I wanted to go to, was shut. But we found Panadería A Peneira instead, where we had a few drinks.

I had three glasses of flavoured tap water, which I admit was refreshing.

The snacks acquired by Steve M were good, and the bar provided us with more complimentary olives than we could realistically eat.

The ladies (including Gordon) had meanwhile discovered that ‘Taste the Way’ was open, so we headed back there. And, I was delighted, this was the first decent craft beer bar that I’ve been to all week. I found a stout, which excited me greatly, as northern Spain isn’t known for its stouts and porters. Just so that everyone knew how excited I was by this development, I told them at least three times.

There was the option then of going to a nearby restaurant for a pilgrim’s meal, but I was too tempted by the menu options at this bar. Having waited nearly a week to find somewhere this good, I wasn’t going to willingly miss out.

The Galician soup, which was tasty, although I wouldn’t say was exceptional as it wasn’t packed with flavour. It was though hot, but it could have had more texture as I’m not entirely sure that this soup is meant to be smooth.

The Galician meat pie was though exceptional and was the best food that I had during the week. It doesn’t perhaps look very exciting and embarrassingly I wasn’t entirely sure of the ingredients, but it tasted of pork and had a rich and moreish taste. Absolutely delicious.

And my beer of the day to go with the meat pie, which was a beech smoked bock. This is something a little different and the beech smoked taste was a delight, smoky and caramel flavoured, I’m not sure that I’ve had anything even remotely similar before. I had to test a few bottles of this to ensure that I was delighted with the experience. I was.

Bev, Steve M, Gordon and I partied away late into the night in this bar, well, to 22:30 anyway. Then the highlight of the day took place, Gordon reported that the electric in his room had gone off. This caused merriment throughout the town, although we were disappointed to discover that he managed to get the electric back on and working.

With that excitement, it was time to sleep.