OK, I admit it, there does seem to be a bit of obsession creeping in about all this signage business, but I think it definitely merits a mention on entry into Galicia, as after about 400 miles of other regions using the base of the shell to direct walkers in the right direction, the Galicians have taken it on themselves to turn the whole thing on it’s head by using the tip of the shell to point you the right way. Without any warning whatsover.
Thankfully, someone had told me about this in Asturias – if they hadn’t, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion I would have been well back on my way to Irun before noticing that anything was awry.
Minimising the chances of getting lost is also becoming something of a priority as the heat intensifies. Someone else told me that we could probably expect a lot of rain in Galicia; I can only assume they were using the UK Met Office for their information, as today apparently it hit 40 degrees, which as you can imagine makes walking distances of any significance pretty heavy going, especially when you’re lugging a heavy rucksack.
It’s also made a little more challenging by the fact that this section of the walk through Galicia at times feels almost uninhabited. During yesterday’s 29.5 km walk from Ribadeo to Lourenza, I think I only passed through two small villages – a scattered selection of houses with the only form of refreshment available being cold drinks sold from one of the local’s fridges.
Other than that, there’s a succession of seemingly endless paths and roads through the rolling hills of Galicia.
The countryside is some of the most lush I’ve seen (must be all that rain), and it’s clearly hugely fertile farmland with field after field of corn, barley, wheat and sugar beet.
But it also seems as if some farming is still happening at a subsistence level, as several times I saw people hoeing potatoes in their own patch or scything crops of corn literally outside their own front doors.
And I’m sure it’s an appalling cliche, but in this region in particular, there’s a huge sense of being taken back in time, especially on today’s 24km walk from Lourenza to Goutan, walking through villages that feel like the sort of places that Don Quixote might have passed through (which should also help explain the difficulty in finding WiFi to make daily posts).
Even evidence of more contemporary living didn’t exactly suggest a willingness to fully move with the times…
…although it looks like they’re getting a bit more racy in some parts.
But apart from that there’s not a huge amount to tell you. The path for the last two days has been pretty much like the one you can see below, stretching from the middle of the mountain in the background, down through the valley and then up again at an often extremely steep incline. As I said, hard work in the midday sun.
Not that I’m trying to go for the sympathy vote.
In fact, the only reason I mentioned the heat was as an excuse for an entirely gratuitous segue into this. Lovely boy.
Filed under: On The Road Tagged: Asturias, Galicia, Goutan, Lourenza, Rethink Mental Illness, Ribadeo, The Northern Way, The Santiago Way