At that moment, I decided to get off the mountain. That was my plan initially, but it was late in the day, and to arrive at Triacastela before dark would be tough. I descended the gentle slope through the fog at a good pace but was slowed by frequent large puddles and mud patches. The hamlet of Fonfría had an albergue, but I stopped only at the small stone church near the edge of a cliff where the views must be great on a clear day… From Page 165, Camino De Santiago In 20 Days. This was just after I had an encounter with a large dog — okay, I was bit. I wasn’t hurt but the experience was a little shocking.
Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago in Hospital da Condesa, Galicia. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons).
On my last post, On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, O Cebreiro To Hospital da Condesa, the sun emerged through the clouds briefly, and brought out the brilliant colors of the Galician landscape. It was time for some spring showers as I left Hospital da Condesa on the peaceful path through farmland. In this area during the Middle Ages, pilgrims were often robbed, or even worse, murdered.
Although the Church of San Juan in Padornelo may look ancient, it only dates back to the late 19th century. There was one last burst of sunshine before the skies darkened and the rain returned.
The quiet main street of Padornelo, with a mixture of new and old buildings. I would soon have to climb the hill just ahead to the Alto do Poio.
The Alto do Poio in the fog and rain. This is where I had the aforementioned incident with the dog. The Alto do Poio is important because it’s the last high elevation point before Santiago de Compostela. It doesn’t mean that the terrain is relatively flat later, as there are many smaller ups and downs which can be very tiring, especially after walking for three or four weeks. If you’re in need of a place to stay, the hostal shown here is a viable choice. There was also a bar behind me.
From the alto, the Camino is mostly downhill to Triacastela. Although the slope is gradual here, at times, the steepness will test your knees. I’m sure the walk would have been a little bit more memorable if it wasn’t for the pouring rain.
If you’re late in the day, you may consider staying at the albergue in Fonfría. The last time I checked, there were 47 beds available which is a lot for such a small village. It’s also important that you make a decision because there is not another albergue for about 12 kilometers in Triacastela.
Another rustic church that was rebuilt in 1962. This is the Church of San Juan.
The track leaving Fonfría. The path is lined by stone walls, grasses, blackberries, and broom.
In my book, I referred to the Ermita de San Pedro in Biduedo as the most rustic church along the Camino Francés. Reportedly, it’s also the smallest. I took my time and looked inside and around the church. As you can see, the church is open which was unique. Let’s take a closer look…
The cross and bell gable, weathered in the harsh climate. The slate roof is also typical of many of the smaller churches in Galicia.
Also typical of many of the smaller churches was the entranceway design. There is not a lavish tympanum or archivolt here. I have said it before but I really hated seeing yellow arrows spray-painted on these ancient buildings. It certainly was not needed. There was a bollard in front which clearly showed the direction of the Camino.
The fog cleared as I descended the mountain. I saw patches of heather and the beautiful landscape of the Río Lóuzara Basin. I wanted to feel the sun and was determined to get down there.
I hope you enjoyed this post as I’ll stop just a little west of Biduedo. On my next post, On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Biduedo to Triacastela, I descended steeply to the classic Galician track and had a new encounter before entering the town of Triacastela—this time with a herd of cattle. Please join me.
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