Quelque part dans un bar
Sunday morning. The only bar that I could find open for breakfast was one that hadn't closed from the night before. Lots of young people in there, still partying, loud, but not belligerent. A couple dancing, a maudlin fellow at the bar, a young girl drinking beer from a bottle. Coffee for me, but nothing to eat. I had to walk 23 kilometres before I found another bar.
And then the quietest of days. A very long uphill walk, and then a steep climb for an hour or more to the upper ridges. Overcast sky, mist in the mountains, clear sky away to the west. Gently sloping valleys on either side, parcelled into fields lined with trees and bales of hay, some of the paddocks dotted with cows, others reserved for winter fodder.
High up on a ridge I came upon a little recreational space, sat on a friendly bench, and ate a crust of bread. I used to buy a baguette in case I got hungry along the way, but now I save a couple of chunks from the menu du jour of the night before.
Then it was a long downhill walk, through the village of Gondan and on to San Xusto where I finally found a bar. Another very steep climb up minor roads, over a hill, and then such a gentle stroll through heather and gorse and broom and gum trees into Lourenzo.
Despite the major climb, 13 to 14 hundred feet, it was very pleasant to be up high on lonely roads, away from the highways I have been plodding along in recent days. No larks, which have a magical sound all of their own, for I suppose it's the wrong time of the year, but the occasional song from a blackbird or thrush, and the odd, odd squawk from a bird that was heard but not seen.
I have changed my mind about Spanish dogs: they bark just as much as their French counterparts. Many of them are watchdogs that run along their fence, barking as you pass. But some are treated quite cruelly, I fear. Chained up, or even caged, how can they be anything else but savage?
Lourenzo is an ugly town, despite its main attraction and national monument: a monastery founded in the 10th century with a highly renowned baroque facade. Otherwise the streets are shabby, and the ugly factories which surround the town detract from the natural beauty of the river.
I have a lower bunk in the albergue, which is now full. There are a couple of coughers in my dorm as well. That's a bit of a worry. I hear that Ted from Quadra is about six kilometres back, but no sign of Preben the Dane.