Cows, Cows and More Cows!! (Vacas Grande)

Friday, July 6, 2021

Not sure how I missed the memo that we were not leaving today until 8 am, but I did. I thought launch time was 7:00 and since I was kind of awake at 6:15, I went ahead and did my normal “Get Out of Dodge” routine and scooped up my sleep sack, threw my queued up toiletries and the items I had readied to wear for today into it, grabbed my backpack, and headed over to the kitchen building. Strangely enough, our actual lower room only has a sink and shower in it – no downstairs toilet!! The three that slept upstairs where there is a toilet relegated the other three of us downstairs because we snore! After getting ready in the kitchen building, I went back over at what I thought was a designated time to leave at 7:00, and everyone was still sleeping!Our leader‘s alarm had just chimed though and he said the time was changed to 8:00. We left at 8:30…

Leader and Sinus Sufferer waited behind for a taxi, and the other four of us set off to venture further up the mountain. Up, up, up we went into the the jewel toned greens of the hillsides. I am reminded more of Hawaii today rather than the Pacific Northwest. Just as humid, too.

Our walking accomplishment for the day: 7.1 miles, 95% up challenging, long hills through San Vincenzo and Lousada. So many cows and sheep to keep us company though!

We got into Gontán around 11:30. The energizer bunny of our crowd arrived at our albergue nearly an hour before us and saved beds, which is a good thing because they are really adhering to COVID precautions here and every other bed is covered in cellophane and X’d out. The café down the street where we stopped for lunch after dropping off our backpacks also has tables X’d off in between others. The entire time we have been in Spain we have worn masks throughout our town excursions, including walking into the urban centers, back out and definitely inside merchant shops and restaurants. We have also worn them when checking into albergues and mostly within unless it was just our group staying there.

The first problemo with the bed saving, however, was that when the other two who came by taxi arrived, given that the Energy Bunny was in a café and not available to chat with, they thought that the albergue was full and went on to the next town to try to get space for us! This we only discovered when the one of the four of us who is using data sparingly checked in to see if there had been any communication. They were faced with walking back into Gontán! Further, I had a second café con leché on my own, and when I returned to our home away from home, the gang was sitting outside with all of our backpacks! Often the premises are open yet the hospitialiar doesn’t arrive to check passports, stamp our credentials and collect our money until late afternoon or early evening. In some regions they stay over night. In Galicia they show up only to check people in. And forever there seems to be some tweak – a variation on a theme. Today, Problemo Numero Dos, was that La Jefa (The Boss) wanted to disinfect, etc. before admitting us, so she was none to happy that we had already moved in, and kicked us out!! Temporarily, of course and we all got the same camas (beds) we had originally claimed. The kitchen is also closed due to the Pandemic.

We had a late dinner in Abadín, a very nearby town. Tomorrow the projected time of departure is 6:30 am – we’ll see…

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