This ended up being a bit of a day off! Although we started out on the route into Pueblo de Sanabria with some interesting and rather direct signage indicating I guess that drivers should slow down and take more care driving through the little villages (the Spanish don't beat about the bush!)... we soon found that it the day was going to be largely directed along tar roads. This is no fun for humans or dogs, and the girls needed their exercise, so we decided to drive along the main, and very busy, road toward Requejo and see if there were any diversions onto off road tracks and to find out exactly how far the peregrino was going to be directed along the roads.
|Pretty marker on the lovely|
way to Requejo, easily missed
if you are just trudging the
tar road. It's easy to assume
that one will have to take tar
all the way to Requjo - and
sadly many peregrinos ended
up doing exactly that
As we entered Requejo the ayuntamiento makes the pilgrim feel very welcome and we had a great coffee and bite to eat in the little cafe at the foot of the town, where the camino would usually pass by and head on up the steep valley into the hills, but off the road. For now this is closed and the only way for the pilgrim is to head up the very busy main road. There is a nice little albergue and the town will be set for peregrinos in the near future, a great place to stop over before the BIG climb up to the Galician border (and believe me it is!)... There were many pilgrims here when we stopped but most were keen to just get on with the journey and conquer the main road section before it got even busier as the day wore on. On our return from our explorations we saw around 20 or so peregrinos battling their way up the road - one (who we had spotted before and were quite amazed at how they might be achieving the more rugged sections of the camino) - with a wheeled suitcase!!
|The cross with St James as one enters|
From the restaurant, we drove up the long and relentless hill, the more so for it being a major highway, busy with construction lorries and no pathway so that those on foot had to walk in traffic, and kept our eyes open for where the camino would be redirected back "off road". We knew it had to be somewhere and finally, although not clearly marked, we found it. This would be my starting point the next day and I wanted to be off early to avoid being surrounded by too many pilgrims, there were a "lot" staying in Pueblo de Sanabria and possibly some in Requejo. The total climb above Requejo before heading down again into Lubián is 1450m.
|Where the camion gets "back on track" above Requejo|
and off the main road, but by where many of the
construction vehicles park up
Requejo is a kind of frontier zone - between the Mediterranean climate and the Atlantic. The mountains often have snow and ice and there are salt and sand tanks along the side of the road for gritting in the winter months. It's also why I had to walk this section out of winter time. The guidebook recommends alternative routes for when it has been raining because the way can be hazardous, although at the moment, because or building the railway, even the alternatives are not available! It is an area known for its architecture, its flora and fauna and there are many trails for tourists to explore, even if they are not walking El Camino.
|The back streets of Pueblo de Sanabria|
|Various dried beans and "mushrooms" (especially taken for my mother... haha!) ... the cuisine of this area|
is well known for some of its wild mushroom dishes and they are delicious!