Day 25 : Foneria to A Balsa

Steve : As explained yesterday A Reboleira is a big albergue in the middle of nowhere. There are two dorm rooms, each with 20+ bunks.  We managed to get ourselves right into a corner, which was nice and quiet even if it meant a long trip to the loo in the middle of the night…

Our corner…
… of a much bigger room.

Today we are facing up to the horrors of Jen’s foot and we’re only walking a short 10km or so. Which, happily, will bring us to A Balsa, in which we find Albergue El Beso (‘the Kiss’) – where Jen worked for month last summer.  She is very much looking forward to catching up with her albergue colleagues.  They don’t know she’s coming and she wants to surprise them.  So we phone up and book under a false name.

But, first things first. We need surgery.  For Jen’s toe and for her boots.

Hamish gets to play Doctor and apply some antibiotic cream. I play Engineer and take a pair of scissors to her boot insole. The idea is to remove enough of the insole from the little toe region such that there’s no pressure coming from either the boot or the sole.

The (un)willing patient…
Now, tell me where it hurts… Check out that body language.
This’ll work, he says, confidently….

Outside the main entrance of the Albergue is a vending machine….

In a normal world this would contain bottles of sugar water and other unhealthy delights.  But not on the Camino.  Oh no, this machine dispenses Compeed, blister plasters, antibiotic cream and all sorts of medication for the weary traveller.

After our surgical endeavours are complete we finally get out on the trail and are the last to leave at around 9am.  We’re a day or so from Sarria, well into Galicia, and the weather has completely changed from the furnace of last week.

We set off into a pleasant misty morning.

The clouds roll over the hills as we amble towards Triacastela.

Sub 150km!

Panoramas left…
… and right
Hamish interacts with the recurring penguin grafitti

We have a second breakfast at a very splendid albergue in Filloval.  Possibly the nicest breakfast thus far.

We walk on through small villages and farms…

..and amble into Triacastela around noon.

Jen’s feet are holding up, much to the relief of us all.  The antibiotic cream and mechanical adjustments to her shoe seem to be working. We stock up at a chemist and, as it’s too early to check into El Beso, we eat chips and fried egg and delight in the short day – only 9km so far.

Junk food and preening.

At around 2pm we head off to walk the last 2 km to El Beso.  Jen is much excited…

El Beso is a serious attempt at a ‘green’ albergue.  The hosts and owners, an Italian/Dutch couple, are intent on recycling and making as much as possible themselves, be it food or furniture.

View over the albergue into the valley below

We check in with this year’s hospitaleros and Jen gives us a tour.  The dorm room is dark and cool and very comfy. The owners are out for the afternoon so Jen can’t introduce us just yet.

Rinse and wash…

Jen takes us to her favourite place, a collection of hammocks up on the hill side.

This place is beautiful and peaceful. I settle down in a hammock to read and am asleep in minutes.

The owners come back around 5pm and are very surprised and pleased to see Jen in their dining room.  Many hugs are given and much catching up is done.

Dinner is served around 7:30. The green ethos continues into the food served at dinner. Everything is local and most of it grown by the albergue staff.  Nettle soup is their speciality.  It tastes like brocolli…

Dinner table and view

We’ve had a very leisurely day. I do believe that the feet issues are finally behind us and we’re ready to make good progress.

We are very sad to leave…