Day 9 – Grandas de Salime to A Fonsagrada

15.4mi/24.78km from Grandas de Salime to A Fonsagrada

My memory is a little foggy on what we did today. At least, the details are a little hazy. I wrote some notes about the day on my phone but they’re lost in the cloud. I mist’ve forgotten for some reason.

Ok, I’ll admit, that last one was a reach. All day today, from 9am-5pm we hiked through a fairly dismal fog and mist. And don’t forget, it’s the third of four days in which our total climbing is at least 2,800 feet – with today’s total being 2867.

We left Grandas de Salime relatively early in the morning (for us) at 930am, and the day began in a “death fog” that seemed to never lift throughout the entire day. The dampness exacerbated the cold temperatures and penetrated my various layers making me feel cold to the bone whenever I wasn’t walking (or doing all that climbing). At least it wasn’t often that we weren’t moving. See, one of the best things about a Camino is the stops. Bars, cafés, or benches and scenic vistas to accompany your bag lunch, these breaks help you rest up and get through these long hiking days. David and I saw plenty of that on our previous 3 Caminos. Yet today we had none of that except for during the first half hour. In the middle of the day we got smashed in the face with a 1300-foot climb, after which our guide informed us there would be a bar (café). It was closed. The bar that was “supposed” to be about 2.5 miles from there? Nonexistent. Ultimately we trudged through most of the day with nary a bench to sit on. Our one “long break” was sitting on the side of a road eating trail mix.

There were good points. Despite the cloud and haze, views were still often pretty awesome. Though we were hungry and looking for a bar, it was more often pleasant hiking along very decent paths – especially after crossing from Asturias into Galicia. And, over the day we ran into a bunch of folks we’ve seen the last few days, including Andalusian old-timers Manuel and Gregorio, cutesy Hondureño/German couple Ariel and Angela, and German speedwalker Jonas. So at least thanks to all that, this long and dreary day was manageable… until the very end…

In the last couple miles. we could see our destination of A Fonsagrada high up in front of us. We may well have been on the Pelennor Fields looking up at the Tower of Ecthelion in Minas Tirith, it was THAT high above us. After trudging almost 15 miles with no real stops, we had to climb a steep 450 feet just to reach the town and find a bed. After expending all that energy on the day, we needed to dig down and find a little more juice to get us up that monster hill.

Sweaty and exhausted, we made it. We stayed at the awesome Casa Cuartel hotel/albergue where we cooked and ate a big dinner (I made a quasi-paella!) and zonked out, dreading another long and hilly (but at least sunny) day tomorrow.

More from the Blog

Day 8 - Berducedo to Grandas de Salime

Day 10 - A Fonsagrada to O Càdavo Baleira

Created by Nilanj Desai, David Franz, and Greg Scheaffer
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