La Gudiña - The twelfth step ... Three months in Spain - CycleBlaze

May 1, 2022

La Gudiña

We knew we had two biggish climbs ahead of us today, one of about three hundred and fifty meters net gain and the other about two hundred and seventy, so we took it easy.  The first climb was quite enjoyable because we were still fresh and Leigh's shoulder was handling it quite well.  Here we reached the highest point on this trip so far - one thousand three hundred and forty meters above sea level.  The second was a bit more of a slog but it ended in a nice way (more on that later).  In between the two we passed through some lovely rural countryside that highlighted how different this area of Spain is to that further south.

The motorway high above us as left Requejo.
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We caught up to it as we approached the summit of the first climb. The motorway headed through a tunnel and we wished we could get one too.
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A kilometer or so further on we got our wish.
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A long downhill and a tough-ish ride on very quiet country roads. In fact in the first hour we only encountered two vehicles. It wasn't much different for the whole ride.
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Very different architecture to further south.
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A manhole cover with the pilgrims' emblem.
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The number of wood piles suggests its gets pretty cold here.
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Lots of water, either little streams or just gushing out of the mountainside with no apparent source.
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Just before the top of the second climb two other tourist cyclists approached us from the opposite direction.  Peter and Marie Hogenkamp from the Netherlands.  We had a long and enjoyable chat on the side of the road and I felt comfortable with them immediately.  They are only the second other cycle tourists who have stopped to talk with us.  The other was a young Frenchman on the Via Verde south of Salamanca.  It was so good to be able to chat to other cycle tourists, something we feel has been lacking on this trip because they mostly just shoot on by, sometimes without even a simple greeting.

With Peter and Marie.
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From there on to La Gudiña it was a bit of a slog into a strengthening head wind.  We headed for the albergue but it had moved and it took a while to find the new one.  The new one, run by the local authority, is really modern and functional but unfortunately the reception was manned by Hitler's long lost great-granddaughter. 

The albergue, appropriately, turned out to be opposite the church.
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If he is pointing the way to the albergue we didn't get the message.
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Despite having a lovely kitchen we were informed that the stove was out of bounds (maybe Health-and-Safety haven't given it the all clear yet ?).  When I asked if I could use our gas stove the answer was a firm "NO".  What about on the balcony ?  "If you want to cook you can cook in the street".  Ouch!  Maybe the local restaurants have complained that the pilgrims aren't spending enough money in the town.  

Fortunately we are allowed to use the microwave.  Unfortunately, there are no kitchen utensils in the albergue (Health-and-Safety still on vacation ?) and our metal camping gear won't work that well in the microwave.  It is Sunday so all the shops are closed.  Fortunately there is a fuel service station down the road and its little shop had some microwave meals so we won't go to bed hungry.

Something we missed today was that we have crossed into a new region, Galicia, and with that a new province, Ourense.

As I climb into the top bunk of our dormitory bed to , hopefully, get some sleep I can here the lady at reception having a loud-to-the-point-of-shouting argument with someone.  Happy days.

Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Total: 1,307 km (812 miles)

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