Camino del Norte Days 19, 20, 21, 22

September 22-25, 2022
La Caridad to Vilalba

DayDateFrom-ToSunriseWeatherStart# HrsMilesKmElev.
1922-SepLa Caridad-Ribadeo *8:1455 Sunny7:404:3015.324.61234
2023-SepRibadeo – Lourenzá8:1657 Cloudy6:497:4017.928.82506
2124-SepLourenzá – Abadín8:1858 Rain6:457:2016.526.53051
2225-SepAbadín – Vilalba8:2048 Rain7:266:0414.623.51143

Day 19, La Caridad to Ribadeo ~ Sept 22
Mike did this stage solo, as I badly needed an extra day to recuperate. After a massage, I felt much better, and I was grateful that Mike had suggested that I take a day off. Our hotel room overlooks the River Eo. I enjoyed a beautiful sunrise before breakfast.

Mike, in the meantime, didn’t have to wait for me to catch up or to stretch my legs and feet. He managed to do the 15 miles in 4½ hours, including a café con leche stop (he texted me the picture). We had a lovely lunch in the Parador dining room, and he told me about his hike. He said that it was relatively easy, with very few hills and a beautiful walk across the bridge over the River Eo. I wished that we could have gone to the Playa de Catedrales…. Another place to add to our list to do the next time we visit Spain.

Ribadeo is at the start of our time in Galicia, the last province on our Camino.

Day 20, Ribadeo to Lourenzá ~ Sept 23
This is where we start our trek inland. The terrain is hillier, and the elevation pretty much stays at about 1000 feet. This is a very rural part of Spain, dotted with small villages, not too many places to get café con leche, and fewer peregrinos. Many of the people doing the Camino del Norte jump down to the Camino Primitivo after Gijon, and we’ve noticed a pronounced decline in the number of people that we see.

The terrain was mostly pavement, and the uphill climb was pretty tough. At one point I stopped at a park bench to rub my feet while Mike continued up the hill to try to find a café. Lo and behold, there was one! We stopped for a bite to eat and a café con leche, and met a bunch of young folks who seemed to be traveling somewhat together, meaning they all seemed to have the same daily destinations and it seemed like they were pretty much staying in the same albergues each night. They were from the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, the UK, and Canada. And the 2 guys from London also showed up.

We finally arrived in Lourenza, had a bite to eat in a small bar, and found our guesthouse. Casa Gloria had potential, but things went south pretty quickly.
First: no hot water. Mike took a cold shower, but I went to find the innkeeper who had to call someone to fix the problem. Poor Mike never really got warm.
Second: we had a double bed. We sleep in a queen-sized bed at home, but when we’re away we usually book a king-sized bed.
Third: the walls are very thin. Just saying.
The positive: the guesthouse is owned by a person who also owns a bakery, so they left some yummy pastries and juice for us in the self-service kitchen.

Day 21, Lourenza to Abadín ~ Sept 24
We started out walking up a surprisingly pleasant trail in the rain. Up until that point, the forecast had been for 7 days of non-stop rain that never really amounted to anything significant. Because there were very few puddles on the trail, it was pretty easy. The trail had dozens of little lizards. Very cute.

Walking with headlamps is easier than I remembered from 5 years ago. This time, we also had rain jackets, backpack covers, and ponchos. The rain only lasted a few hours. By the time we reached Mondoñedo, it had cleared up. Mondoñedo has one of the Camino del Norte’s most beautiful Cathedrals. Wish we’d been able to go inside.

We started seeing windmills, which we didn’t see on the coast. On the Camino Primitivo 5 years ago when we’d see the windmills we could be guaranteed that we’d have to climb up to them. This time, we walked on paved roads around the mountain. And we didn’t have to climb all the way up to the windmills.

Since we ended this stage in a very small town, we took a taxi to Vilalba where we were staying for the night. The next morning, a taxi took us back to where we ended up, and we walked back to Vilalba. The logistics seemed daunting until we realized they made sense. And it was nice to be in the same place 3 nights in a row (including an extra rest day).

Day 22, Abadín to Vilalba ~ Sept 25
After our ride back to where we ended up the day before, we started out in the rain again. We passed lots of cows, lots of baby calves. The mist in the valley was mystical looking, and the mixture of sun poking through the clouds and darker rain clouds was beautiful. We met one of the “kids” that we’d met a few days before. Carmen, from the Netherlands, walked from her home in June, through France, to the Camino del Norte in Spain, and will finally finish next week in Santiago de Compostela. When we saw her she had been walking for 112 days! Wish we’d gotten a picture with her. We had a nice chat over café con leche.

We also met a couple from Arlington Virginia who were heading to Vilalba and will get to Santiago a day before us. We’re taking a rest day tomorrow, so we’re a day behind most of the people that we’ve met this past week. We were surprised to see a woman who is doing the Camino on horseback! She walks the horse through the villages.

We had a delicious comida at LarOs Píos, after seeing a small parade of people wandering around the Plaza, dancing to bagpipes and a drummer. They came into the restaurant where we were dining… after they danced outside for about 15 minutes to the bagpipe music. No idea what that was about, but they seemed happy, all dressed up in fancy clothes. Before heading back to our hotel, we stopped in at the Church of Santa Maria to light a few candles, say a prayer, and take some pictures. Many of the churches have automatic [electric] candles. I imagine it’s to make sure that nobody inadvertently starts a fire. But it is odd to put a few coins into a slot to light a candle.

We decided to do laundry so that we could have a day to relax on our last rest day, and gave ourselves a tour of the Torre dos Andrade, which is now part of the Parador where we are staying.

Vilalba ~ Sept 26
It was very nice to have an extra day of rest! We walked around the town; Mike bought a sweater, and we found a Michelin-rated restaurant, Meson dos Campo, for lunch. It was a wonderful meal! The building is beautiful, the food (a tomato salad with figs, onions, and goat cheese; tuna tartare with guacamole and salsa; and beef tenderloin) was outstanding. Best part: Mike went down to the wine cellar to choose a bottle of wine, a 2006 red blend.

I took advantage of our downtime to upload pictures and catch up on our blog. Mike found the route out of Vilalba for our walk to Baamonde (about 12 miles) tomorrow. Now, to sleep! Thanks for following along.

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