Monday, 17 August 2015

El Camino (Levante) Requejo to La Canda (18.2km) Friday 16th May

El Camino (Levante) Requejo to La Canda (18.2km) Friday 16th May
Watch VERY carefully for these markers
on the route from above Requejo to
El Padornelo - or you will get lost!
My final day on the camino for a while, as after this I had to return to the UK in order to get resettled for various reasons including work.  As I write this, it has taken some time and we are still house hunting from our new base in Cornwall.  I have been walking regularly - the daily walks with the dogs of course, but also some excursions along paths like the Ridgeway with a friend, which we plan to walk in its entirety with her horse and one of my dogs next year (Yume as she's a bit smaller and more "portable"!)  This will be a great way to keep my hand in while still finding my feet here.  It's not possible to add on the cost of a Camino trip, flights, transport and accommodation at the moment.  I will only be able to do this once we have our own place and are better established, but I have already planned the two final routes... one from where I left off, from La Canda, going through to Ourense and then finally Ourense to Santiago.  Writing this has given me the inspiration again and I do hope that it will be possible to make my next trips sooner rather than later.  Long distance walking is possible in the UK and this is also something I intend to make more of now I am here.  It means I can still take the dogs - which sadly will not be possible on my return Camino trips - and the ancient routes through Britain remind me of my Camino Time Travel, touching the past and its energies.  It's a great way to discover the history and less crowded places of this island.

In the mean time, back to this camino.  What a fabulous and fantastic day this was but VERY, very tiring!  I have to say that this really took it out of me, far more than the steep climb to Cebreros on the previous trip!  Maybe it was because it came on the last day of a long trip and one that did not afford us a break in the middle to rest up and renew the energy.  The total this time has been 191.3km which leaves me only 213.7km to do!  I can't believe it.  The dogs and I have covered 991.3km on foot across the diagonal of Spain.

The way after Lubián - continue
to the right of this church, following
the track as it curves right in
this photo
Starting early, the climb was pretty much ever upwards!  It was tough going and I was very glad for hard boiled eggs, fruit and nuts to keep me going.  I was also glad I started early as it was going to be a warm day and the morning was nice and cool.  In fact, when we reached the top of the climb above El Padornelo, the wind was really whistling through the trees and creating such an eerie sound Akina and I kept looking behind us, a bit spooked!  For most of the way it follows a gravel track and old road, crossing bridges over fast flowing streams and waterfalls and deep rocky gullies.  The valley is spectacular as you climb its sides and the main road occasionally soars above us across viaducts.

The wind whistled here and it was a little chilly on top
of the hill at 1450m.  We were glad for some "down" time
into Lubián although it was tar all the way and not
such nice walking
On the whole it is a peaceful and beautiful route, although despite my early start there were quite a few pilgrims marching out along it.  Interestingly the steep climb sorted out the distances between us and soon I was alone again.  There is a strange and interesting description in the guidebook which explains that to avoid extra distance along the old road, going around curves that were required for vehicles to make the steep ascent, the peregrino should take a cut to the right with a steep slope and then it will shortly reach the highest point of 1450m.  The arrows take some finding and I was not sure if I should turn left or right at one point, but where I emerged and after wandering about for a few minutes decided to try turning left onto the road, I then found the arrows and the one that distinctly marks this aforementioned "right turn" up a "steep slope" (arrow photographed above)... thank you yet again to some kind peregrinos who help others of us stay on the right track!

The wolf heads on the wonderful fuente in Lubián
Once at the top, the track descends and then takes the pilgrim onto the tar again.  It is quite a long distance from here on the tar and the Camino off road routes are not used for some time.  In fact there is almost an extra 8km on the road to avoid the new railway being built.  Many pilgrims were struggling along and again adding extra distance onto their journey, and extra discomfort to their feet.  Walking on tarmac is no fun and is so resistant, it's amazing the difference walking on it to walking on just hard ground.

The people of Lubián are known as "lobos" or wolves.  According to one camino blog I was reading, apparently this area has the largest

concentration of Iberian Wolves in Spain, right in the forests that we walk through and have been walking through...!!  From other research it seems that the town was known for the trapping of live wolves and I think, if my understanding of the Spanish translation is correct, they invented or developed some kind of trap after which they were named.

One of my own "red" wolves!
Anyway, I did not know any of this at the time, when we were up on the very lonely and quiet, but beautiful track we really did hear strange noises that did freak me out a little and there were strange cries that may or may not have been rutting deer... is it the right time of year for that?  It's what I told myself anyway, as I wasn't sure about wolves and bears after seeing the info on the signs at Requejo.  These things play on the mind, although I only read for sure that there are wolves in the area on my return from the Camino.  The dogs too were a bit unsettled, looking around at times, but were very good.  I was just worried that they would run off and stir up the "whatever it was" and was worried they might not come off the better for it.  My bigger concern now is that I now "know" about the wolves and I still have a lot of forest walking to go... next trip!  But from friends and reading, I reassure myself that they do not really like to cross tracks with humans... they don't, they really don't.. do they? Do they??

Such fun taking two girls with me on this section - long and hard, always upwards, but not a single other peregrino!
Beautiful walk on lovely old paths - again I was back in the past.  Yume and Kaishi played and ran the whole way.

Kaishi on one of the lovely little bridge crossings
on this route before we really started to climb up through
the forest and into the first mountains of Galicia.
Various concrete blocks have been
place along the wet and muddy route as
many streams flow across the forest
paths.  They are very welcome as they
keep the feet dry and sometimes there
are so many they are like giant
stepping stones.

The photo of a kind of river bed, with an arrow on one of the rocks in the foreground is an example of one of the wetter parts of this camino track - the actual camino itself running along the middle of this stream!  Fortunately there had not been too much rain and we could find rocky patches above the water level on which to walk, but it might prove interesting in wetter weather, and it may be harder to find the arrows if they disappear under the water itself, as I can imagine they do!

This section of the walk is just stunning.  It is so peaceful
and so beautiful and the signs are like friends appearing
along the way, pointing us onwards to Santiago.

The views as we near the top of the trail and are about to enter Galicia.  The dogs loved this walk.

I love this - another arrow left by fellow peregrinos to show the way where there is some ambiguity.  Here
the arrow prevents us from accidentally taking a path to the left and makes sure that we continue
in the right direction.

Love this!  Arrival in Galicia and entering the Province of Ourense.  What a great gateway to the final
northern part of our route - and apparently an area of fabulous food!

Great achievement.  Really loved this day's walk and here we all are - with the Robertson Mala after 991.3km

Thank you to Rodney for his wise and simple words... they sum up the essence of the camino and being in
the moment upon it, all one has to do is "walk"... "When walking, just walk".

My credential - getting quite full now!

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