I left Arzúa in the dark at 7:40 and walked a good hour alone through a pitch black forest of oaks and invasive eucalyptus, planted here to be used in the manufacture of furniture and paper. At times, stone walls separated the path from pastures.
At one point, I was startled by a snort and a ghostly apparition. A white horse stood by the path looking me in the face.
I stopped at several cafes today to break up the walk. At the first stop, I had orange juice and cafe con leche; at the second, peach juice. I crossed several small streams onto a side road, and then took a path under the N-547.
Arzúa to N-547 túnel (2.5 km)
After the tunnel, I alternated between country lanes and roadside tracks while bypassing the hamlets of Raído, Fondevila, and Cortobe. At my third cafe stop, I had apple strudel and orange juice (I’d had a tickle in my throat the last couple of days and I was trying to fend off a cold).
There were numerous shrines set up along the path, but I wasn’t always sure what they memorialized. I stopped to read some signs on the “wall of wisdom” in Taberna Velha.
I entered Calzada at 9:40. The name refers to the town’s location on the Roman and pilgrimage roads.
N-547 túnel to A Calzada (3.5 km)
Around a corner after my apple strudel cafe stop, I came upon a bar made of beer bottles. For a pilgrim, every bar is an invitation to stop, but if you stopped at every one, you’d never make it to your destination. Hydrangeas bloomed and colorful granaries graced the path.
From A Calzada, I walked to A Calle, a quaint village with traditional houses.
A Calzada to A Calle (2.0 km)
The path took me down to the N-547 at Salceda, about 300 meters above sea level. For a stretch of about 1 1/2 kilometers, I had to walk along the hard shoulder of a road.
A Calle to Salceda (3.2 km)
I continued on a woodland path, and then crossed the N-547 into Ras, where a pedestrian tunnel brought me safely into Brea. I crossed back over the N-547 up to a crossroads into O Empalme, where I stopped in a chilly outdoor courtyard for a lunch of lentil soup and cerveza limon. I briefly chatted with three Finnish ladies walking the last 100 km from Sarria.
Salceda to Cruce (O Empalme) (4.0 km)
Much of today’s walk was through forests and there weren’t many views to be found. From Salceda to A Rúa was mostly uphill. Hydrangeas were blooming in the hamlet of A Rúa, a traditional hamlet, and finally the route flattened out.
Cruce (O Empalme) to Santa Irene (1.2 km) to A Rúa (1.4 km)
After A Rúa, the path ascended again. I was getting tired of all the climbing in Galicia! Before long I was in Pedrouzo, which many people apparently call Arca (the parish name).
A Rúa to Pedrouzo (Centro) (1.8 km)
I stayed in Pension Una Estrella Dorada on a main drag in Pedrouzo. I ran into Sheryl, Sharon and John sharing a room adjacent to my private room. At the gleaming and quirky gourmet restaurant, Taste the Way, I bought a t-shirt, drinks and dinner.
After relaxing a bit in my hotel room, I wandered down to the church on the fringes of town, the Igrexa de Santa Eulalia de Arca, built in the Romanesque-Gothic style in the 17th century. After a fire destroyed the church in the late 19th century, it was rebuilt in the neo-Classical style. I’d heard there was a 7:30 mass. It was quite a long walk, so I was late, arriving after 8:00, and found all the doors were locked. I was either misinformed about the time, or I was at the wrong church.
I went for a short walk through town and saw Rubia and Maria, the Brazilian ladies I’d had dinner with the previous night, at a table in a restaurant window. I sat down with them to have a beer and chocolate mousse cake topped with mandarin ice cream. While I was there, Jesse came in and joined us. He seemed to be interested in Maria, who informed me that she and her husband separated about a month ago. She said her husband was a great guy, but she got married young at 18 and now she wanted to find herself. Jesse said he’d spent four hours today walking with and listening to Marie-Helene from South Africa, who had stayed with the Brazilians and me the night before in Arzúa. Jesse walked with Rubia and Maria the rest of the day.
In my room, I laid out my pilgrim credenciales (I had accumulated three by this time) on my bed and photographed them.
According to the Brierley guide, I had to walk 20.1 km to Santiago the next day. It felt strange, both sad and a relief, to think that after 47 days of doing the same thing day after day, my journey would be over.
*Day 46: Friday, October 19, 2018*
*32,495 steps, or 13.77 miles: Arzúa to O Pedrouzo (20.6 km)*
You can find everything I’ve written so far on the Camino de Santiago here:
On Sundays, I post about hikes or walks that I have taken in my travels; I may also post on other unrelated subjects. I will use these posts to participate in Jo’s Monday Walks or any other challenges that catch my fancy.
This post is in response to Jo’s Monday Walk: Mesquite & The Fonte.