Grandas de Salime to Lugo

A particularly nice example of the shell direction indicator. We were in Galicia now, so the sign is pointing left
A particularly nice example of the shell direction indicator. We were in Galicia now, so the sign is pointing left

Hostels are cheap and friendly, and unlike hotels it’s normal to talk to other people. The big disadvantage is the high probability of sharing your sleeping space with heavy snorers. The Spanish gentlemen were the culprits here. The walkers started getting up around 06:30, taking turns for the bathroom. We rose when they’d left, departing at 08:45.

The day began cool and misty but soon cleared, forcing us to shed some clothing. Lack of food and sleep, together with the relentless rise to 1030m at Puerto de Acebo, made for very slow progress. A section of gradual ups and downs was followed by a steep rise into A Fonsegrada. We passed fields of buttercups and a farmer tilling the soil with a horse-drawn plough. I thought about stopping to photograph him but it seemed intrusive somehow.

At A Fonsegrada we stopped at a café-bar, desperate for food, but had to wait almost an hour until 13:00 before lunch was served so we rested over a coffee. There was cider on tap, rather than bottled, so I took the advantage of sampling some before we went deeper into Galicia and away from cider-loving Asturias. It was disappointingly sweet, though not fizzy. We had a mixed salad, asparagus omelette and local cèpes, which filled us nicely, though the asparagus was the usual white variety which is nowhere near as tasty as the green. The dining room was very smart, with an attentive waitress and crisp clean linen tablecloths and napkins but bizarrely there was a television showing motor-racing which detracted from the atmosphere. We left at 14:05, two hours after arriving.

We cycled through pine forests, long uphill slogs in bottom gear being rewarded with cooling freewheels down. The terrain opened out and became flatter as we came within 20km of Lugo but we were still around 500m above sea level. Just by the motorway roundabout outside the town, a sign directed camino peregrinos along a track, which we followed as it promised a quieter way in. But the very rough track meandered round and brought us back to the main road a short distance ahead, like a Sustrans pointless diversion. Then we saw the high-rise tower blocks of Lugo, streets and streets of them. We rose up through them in search of the unsigned old town, which we found at last. We found the refugio quickly, with a brisk and efficient resident warden. The hostel was modern, bright and not too busy, by far the best so far.

After showering, we left in search of dinner, hopeful of finding some international cuisine with vegetarian options as Lugo is quite a large town. We only found the usual traditional Spanish restaurants that could only offer us asparagus omelette. One in a day is quite enough, so we settled for a couple of cakes which we ate on a bench in the square, followed by a drink in a bar. I tried Estrella Galicia, which was a disappointingly bland lager.

Lugo to Melide