Distance Today: 24.7 km
Total Distance from Oviedo: 183.6 km.
Elevation Gain: 916 metres
Weather: Overcast; cold
Highlight: From Asturias to Galicia
This was one of our longer walking days and (sorry to say) one of the less interesting ones in comparison with some of the others. Our impression of the day might have had a lot to do with the cold weather and the fact that there were few opportunities to stop for cafe con leche breaks. We just plodded along, wanting to get to our destination.
After leaving our little hotel in Castro, we climbed to yet another hilltop lined with windmills (Alto del Acebo) which provided sweeping panoramic views – not as colourful as they would have been on a sunny day.
It wasn’t until we reached the little bar at El Acebo (8.3 km) that we finally had breakfast which consisted of cafe con leche and a shared boccadillo. By that time it was 11 AM and whatever energy we had to begin with was pretty much gone!
It was easy to miss the understated sign that showed we crossed the border from Asturias into Galicia.
In Asturias it was easy to make sense of the direction the Camino was going, depending on which way the scallop shell symbols were pointing. The spines of the scallop shells always came together in the direction of Santiago. After crossing into Galicia the scallop shells pointed in both directions.
Dave figured it out. All of the stone markers in Galicia were made the same. If they were placed on the right side of the trail, the spines of the scallop shells come together in the direction of Santiago (same as Asturias). If they were placed on the left side of the trail, the spines come together in the opposite direction. There is no mistaking what the yellow arrows mean!
A couple of hours later when we saw smoke coming from a chimney a long way off in the distance, we were hoping it was a lovely, warm cafe/bar. Sure enough, it was the Catro Ventos in Barbeitos. It came at the right time, before the tough climb into A Fonsagrada.
Unfortunately we missed seeing A Fonsagrada as we came into the outskirts of town and then straight back out again. According to legend, St. James was attended in this village by a poor widow and, struck by her poverty, turned the village fountain’s water into milk. It thus became the Fons Sacral, a (sacred fountain).
I was under the impression that the Hostal Complejo O’Pineural where we had made a reservation (42.50 Euros) was closer to the town of A Fonsagrada and that we could walk back to see it from the hostel. Instead, it was in a remote area, 3.5 km beyond the town.
One good thing about the location is that we have a head start tomorrow!