El Camino Fonseca

Northwest via Ourense

Over the Mountain Passes

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Puebla de Sanabria to Vilar do Barrio

Normally this section would have started after staying a night in Puebla but I took the advice of Domingo from Santa Croya and continued to Requejo at the foot of the pass.

Requejo to Lubián: 14 June 2006
Dovecote

There had been several thunderstorms during the night which would have made the Camino very wet. I therefore set off up the N525 towards the pass of Padornelo, passing a rather ornate dovecote on the right hand side of the road. Dovecotes are a feature of this area and are used as a supply of both meat and fertiliser. I had already passed two older and larger ones on my journey, one at Riego del Camino (I passed before dawn) and another at Palacios de Sanabria (pouring rain).

Pass of Padornelo

The N525 was very quiet at this time of the morning, heavy through traffic keeping to the motorway. Even though this road is now mainly for local traffic it had been resurfaced very recently and the asphalt was surprisingly easy on my feet. Part way up the pass it is possible to use the original road which winds about following the contours. When it started to rain again I was near to a road construction depot and I was able to shelter in an open building.

Padornelo

Near the top of the pass I took a wrong turning onto the N525 and was suddenly faced with the entrance to the tunnel through the top of the hill. There was no traffic about and there is a footpath to the side of the roadway so I walked the short distance through the tunnel to emerge above the village of Padornelo.

The village lies below the N525 and contains several old houses in the distinctive local style with heavy slate roofs and often with outside stairways. The livestock typically lived on the ground floor but most of the ones I could see into were now used for storage.

Padornelo

At the end of the village the street rises to rejoin the N525 and there is a bar/shop just uphill to the right. As well as serving refreshments this shop specialised in selling local produce and several motorists were there having drinks while choosing sausages, hams and vegetables. Broad beans were a local speciality and there were several open sacks in the bar displaying dried beans of different colours.

Aciberos

After my rest in the bar I turned back downhill and soon came to a hotel/restaurant on the left hand side of the road. Soon after this the Camino takes a local road to the right which was the old road to Lubián.

I soon left this road to drop down through the steep narrow lanes to the village of Aciberos. The village is entered next to the church and, after winding through the streets, I was soon out into a beautiful walk through woods towards Lubián.

towards Lubián towards Lubián towards Lubián

This was one of the most pleasant walks of the whole Camino. It wound through oak woods either side of a stream and eventually brought me out into Lubián next to the excellent albergue. A notice on the door directed me farther into the village to obtain the key and I soon settled into the first floor dormitory. There are only eight beds (four double bunks) but, as yet, I was the only occupant.

After cleaning up and doing my laundry I went for a look around the village. Next to the albergue is a Casa Rural, Casa Irene, and since I ate very little the previous night, this was my first call for an excellent lunch made from produce of their own garden.

Casa Irene

After lunch I had a slow walk through the village. The church, Plaza Mayor and a useful shop are near the albergue and there are other shops and bars where the old N525 passes through the village. I did some shopping and watched football for a while in a bar then returned to the albergue, collecting another pilgrim who was looking for a key. Jugo is from Japan but spent his youth in South America where his father was working. The locals were amazed at his excellent command of the Spanish language.

Lubián Plaza

The Plaza in Lubián is quite modern and has covered areas on three sides for shelter from the rain. There is also a fuente with good fresh water.

Heavy rain set in just after we returned to the albergue and Peter turned up very wet. He had stayed the night in an hotel in Puebla, intending to take a day's rest and catch up on his writing. The hotel was expensive and the service not good so he continued his Camino in the morning. Later another pilgrim turned up, David from San Sebastian, who had walked that day from Palacios. Four of us sat down to dinner that evening in Casa Irene; four different nationalities but we found enough common languages to tell a few tales. Irene joined us at the table after dinner and we had a pleasant time drinking wine from her father's vineyard. Peter booked a room in the Casa for the next night so he could have his delayed rest day in comfortable surroundings.

Lubián means wolf town and there are still 40 or 50 pairs of then in the surrounding hills. They are very wary of humans and it is most unlikely that you will see one. Their range is all along the valley of the Rio Tera and over the hills into Galicia. Perhaps I should have mentioned this earlier.