We slept quite well. A few people rose very early but we stayed in bed until the lights were switched on at 07:50. The early grey cloud soon dispersed and the temperature rose rapidly. We wheeled our bikes into the Plaza Mayor for breakfast at a café, then took turns to look after the bikes and walk around the city wall. There was only one access point to the very broad wall which forms a complete circle around the old city.
So we didn’t leave until 11:30 and spent quite a while finding the route out of the city.. We rode along a very rural undulating road, similar to riding in Britain. We decided to take the more northerly route to avoid the main road but got hopelessly lost. Lots of minor roads were signposted to places that weren’t marked on our map, and the main road wasn’t signed at all. We spent ages trying to figure out where we were and were really pleased when we reached Hospital das Seixas, again not marked on our 1:200000 Mapa Provincial but described in Eric Walker’s “Pilgrim Guides to Spain: No 4”. The guide is very useful but sometimes maddeningly vague on directions, and the map is too large-scale for following minor roads.
We continued but must have somehow missed a turning, as we found ourselves heading towards Palace del Rei too late to make turning back a sensible option. This meant we’d taken a long detour just to end up back on the main road that we’d been striving to avoid.
We stopped just outside our destination of Melide to cook dinner by a picnic bench and water fountain so it was 21:30 by the time we reached Melide. We’d joined the very popular Camino Francès by now, but we were still surprised at how busy the refugio was. Lots of people were milling around outside, no warden to be seen and every bunk was occupied. Some dormitories were locked, perhaps they weren’t expecting so many people, but there was no-one to unlock them. We tried a hotel along the road but they were fully booked so we returned and helped ourselves to the emergency mattresses in the lounge. Others joined us and one was the inevitable heavy snorer who prevented everyone else from sleeping.
One Czech was so frustrated at the racket that he went outside to sleep in the porch, but was locked out. At 02:00 he was cold and started hammering on the window to be let back in. No-one else stirred so I had to get up to open the door for him. What a night!