Day 31 (Oct 16): Portomarin to Palas de Rei, 24 km, 714 km
We left in the dark in an attempt to beat the crowds of “pelegrinitos” (i.e. the hikers who are just doing the last 100Km) but it was futile. Still had a lovely day with some great scenery.
About 7 miles into today’s hike we passed a very cool archaeological site (the Castro de Castromaior) just a little ways off the trail.
Though it was just a tad windy at the top.
From the Castromaior we had great views.
Along the way we stopped in a small chapel built from the remains of a 13th century Templar pilgrim’s hospital where we got a stamp from a blind custodian.
And we saw the usual assortment of interesting and curious things along the trail.
Today’s hike was about 15 miles and while rain threatened most of the day it never happened. Tomorrow is our last long day (~30Km, ~19 miles) and promises to be rainy most of the day but… we will see.
Day 32 (Oct 17): Palas de Rei to Arzua, 30 km, 744 km
Our last big day started with a pouring rain at breakfast. The forecast called for rain all day but…. as we left the hotel the rain stopped and we had no more than a light drizzle the rest of the day.
And, as the rain cleared and sun came up, we had some nice views.
In the last 100 Km you are supposed to get at least two stamps a day. For the 100Km people this is not an issue but for us long-haulers we have to be careful as our passports are filling up. We still had room for a stamp at a pretty little church we passed in the morning.
We got separated today. Leigh Ann is having shin pain so Jim, Bert and Leigh Ann were moving slower and I went ahead. Around 10:15 Leigh Ann fell (a real face plant according to Bert) that required some doctoring. After the fall they seemed to be moving well. Jim and Leigh Ann elected to stop in Melide for lunch around noon. Bert kept coming and caught me at a little lunch spot about 13 miles from the start.
After lunch we learned that Leigh Ann was in too much pain to continue and decided to catch a cab to our hotel in Arzua. We continued on with Jim following a couple of hours behind.
We arrived in Arzua around 3:30 after a long, 18.5 mile day.
We are in a lovely boutique hotel which served one of the best meals on the trip. We all agree that the food has improved significantly since we entered Galicia.
Day 33 (Oct 18): Arzua to A Rúa, 18 km, 762 km
Our penultimate day! And good news, Leigh Ann is feeling good enough (with pain killers) to hike. We decide to split up so she doesn’t feel pressure to hike faster than she is comfortable with. Bert and I head out in the dark around 8:15 watching the sun slowly rise behind us.
Today is an easy day, only a bit over 11 miles. We stopped around 6 miles at a trail-side cafe with a nice view (there are lots in the last 100 km!) for coffee.
And we finally saw one of the grain storage structures (which are everywhere – we have seen hundreds of them) with actual grain. They usually sit 5-10 feet off the ground and are constructed to prevent rodents from getting in.
We are definitely getting close to the end, there are signs everywhere reminding us that we are nearly there.
At the end of the day we are only 21 Km from the end of our journey. It doesn’t seem real somehow. And, of course, rain is forecast.