Distance Today: 16.1 km
Total Distance from Oviedo: 222.2 km.
Elevation Gain: 350 metres
Weather: Fog early AM; sunny; warm
Highlight: Albergue A Pocina de Muniz
Today we enjoyed one of the easier hikes of this Camino. We woke up to early morning fog which was gone within a half hour of leaving the albergue in Cadavo Baleira.
Our first stop was in Vilabade (6.6 km), a town that was established as a Franciscan community for pilgrims in the 15th century. The Church of Santa Maria was built in 1457, restored in the 17th century, and is a national historic-artistic monument. It is known for its ribbed vault and a Baroque retablos (frame enclosing decorated panels/shelves behind the alter) dominated by an impressive Santiago Matamoros (Saint James as the Moor-slayer).
We were forewarned that there is no place to buy food between Castroverde and Lugo, so we stocked up on fruit and snacks, and ate lunch on a bench outside the supermercado in Castroverde. Restaurant kitchens are only open during certain hours and it seems that is often when we want to eat!
Stage 10 in our guidebook involves a 30.5 km walk and goes from Cadavo Baleira to Lugo – further than we want to go in a day. We broke this one-day hike into two: Cadavo Baleira to Vilar de Cas (16.1 km) and Vilar de Cas to Lugo (14.4 km) and are so glad we did for two reasons. It meant we could stay at the albergue in Vilar de Cas which turned out to be the best one we have stayed at. Also, the shorter walk on the second day allows an entire afternoon to see the cathedral and walk along the Roman wall.
The place we stayed in Vilar de Cas is Albergue A Pocina de Muniz. It is a new family-operated albergue that opened last October. The albergue and the garden are beautiful as the photos will show. It was comfortable and our bunk beds even had curtains! 🙂
All members of the family are involved: grandma, mom, dad, 21-year-old son Ruben, and his 18-year-old brother David. The family doesn’t speak English except for the sons, Ruben and David, so they act as translators.
The mother brought me a special treat: a small dish of pulpo (octopus) and potato to enjoy with my beer. How thoughtful of her! A lot of people love pulpo and, although I am not a fussy eater, I’ve never eaten it or wanted to eat it. If the suction cups weren’t laying face up on the plate, it wouldn’t have been so bad. Of course I had to eat at least some of it to be polite but my stomach was going through a bit of a turmoil. The traditional, home-cooked dinner we had later with some of the other guests was excellent, though. No more pulpo!
I enjoyed speaking with son, David, about the differences in the Spanish language in various parts of Spain. For one thing, the Basque language is entirely unique – something we already knew. There is also a difference between “Galician” and “Spanish.” David says Galician is spoken mostly by poorer people who live in rural areas of Galicia while Spanish is spoken in cities. People in cities who speak Spanish have less respect for people who speak Galician and think they are stupid. David prefers to speak Galician and doesn’t like to be judged negatively because of this. Rightly so!
Two friends from Germany who were also staying at the Albergue a Pocina de Muniz are doing the Camino Primitivo in reverse and having a challenge understanding their guidebook “backward.” They started in Santiago and plan to walk all the way to Bilbao by the end of June. They told us that the inside of the cathedral in Santiago is under renovation and that Botafumiero (incense burner) is not being swung. What a disappointment! When we were last in Santiago, the outside of the cathedral was being restored; now it is the inside.
Between dinner and bedtime I was sitting by the window blogging when a mouse quietly scurried by. I didn’t want to say anything about it but Dave did and created a little fuss. I assured the family that I was not at all concerned about it. Really!
The cost for our accommodation, home-cooked dinner, and breakfast in the morning came to 26 Euros each and was such a treat!