The clocks went forward at 2am, when I was fast asleep. When I woke it was nearly seven, ie eight, technically chucking out time from the albergue, though there was no sign of that happening. Which was good, as it was pitch-dark outside and still showery-chilly.
When it began to get light I started gingerly out into the unmistakable Yorkshire Dales – er, Galician hills – finishing yesterday’s switchback ride along the country road through villages and farms. At Palas de Rei it started drizzling; I had coffee no. 1 in a bar. At Melida, with its market including a stall doing a brisk trade in umbrellas, I had coffee no. 2, and an almond bun thing which was very satisfactory. The drizzle intensified and I got damper. Coffee no. 3 came in Arzua, a place I had earmarked for lunch, but I couldn’t face eating either bar food or finding a bench in the rain to eat my chorizo, cheese, chocolate, and shame there’s no ch- word for bread, lunch.
I got inundated somewhere between here and coffee no. 4, at a roadside bar in the middle of nowhere. My socks had undergone that instantaneous stage-change from dry to completely sodden, and my arms were now wet through to the skin as well. There was nothing to do but ride on through the rain and hope to dodge the more intense bursts in bus shelters. It was all very up and down, but nothing terrible: my guidebook had warned of ‘exhausting cycling’. I wasn’t exhausted, just dripping wet and cold, with swishing traffic occasionally barrelling past.
So you’ll understand why there are so few pictures for today.
But the time passed OK, I didn’t get miserable, and I was resolute and even content, because I was getting close to Santiago de Compostela now. And at last, around four, it stopped raining, and the sun even looked out nervously for a few seconds as I passed the airport, before hurrying back in as if changing its mind.
I got to Monte de Gozo about half fourish, a sensible time: I was going to stay at the hostel here tonight to leave the whole morning to get to Santiago, which was in theory splendidly visible to weary pilgrims from this lofty mount. In theoretical practice, the view was only of trees which have inconveniently grown up to obscure the cathedral, and in practical practice, today offered little except clouds anyway.
But the hostel was new and clean and spacious and lovely, with plenty of vital radiator room by the window to hang things up to dry. I had lunch for dinner and an early, sober night, mindful of a respectful arrival in Santiago tomorrow.
Miles today: 47
Miles since Pamplona: 473