El Camino Fonseca

Northwest via Ourense

Over the Mountain Passes

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Puebla de Sanabria to Vilar do Barrio

Laza to Vilar do Barrio: 17 June 2006
Soutelo Verde

The day started fine but with rain clouds in the sky. Waymarking was not very clear on this section but the Protección Civil in Laza had given us detailed route maps to help us through this difficult section. Nearing Soutelo Verde we came across this rustic sign. If you can see the sign it is just about to rain. If you can't see the sign it is already raining.

It is possible to take a road from here to Alberguería but we decided to follow the Camino throught the village and on to Tamicelas. Here is where one of the steepest climbs of the Camino begins and I was soon left behind by my young companion.

towards Alberguería

The humidity of the day and the weight of my rucksack made this climb very tiring and I stopped for a rest break just as David caught up with me.

After the break David pressed on ahead of me and I walked slowly through the clouds up to the road leading to the village.

Alberguería

For many years there had been no facilities for walkers in this village but Louis has recently opened a bar, Rincón des Peregrinos, to provide simple snacks and drinks and a very unique place to rest for a while.

Rincón des Peregrinos

Every pilgrim passing through here is given a scallop shell on which to write his name and place of residence. David had already written his but pride of place had been given to Jugo's shell in Japanese characters which was screwed above the front door. I completed my shell which was then fixed to the ceiling joists and had a good rest watching two young kittens playing around the tables.

Soon after leaving the bar and the village the rain began. It was pouring by the time I reached the cross at the summit of Monte Talariño and continued during the long descent into Vilar do Barrio.

Part of this descent is on woodland tracks and part by road. On the road I came across the hill climb section of a vintage car rally and the occupants of these open vehicles looked just as wet as I was.

Vilar do Barrio

David was already drying himself in the first bar of Vilar and I joined him while I considered what to do. He would continue on to Xunqueira but I had sufficient time left to take an extra day on the Camino to visit an old town just of the route. I decided to stay here for the night and, after a little search, discovered that the key to the albergue was kept at the kiosk for the village petrol pumps.

Vilar do Barrio

The albergue was very new and has accommodation for over 20 people in three dormitories. One dorm is on the ground floor and is equipped for disabled people and the other two are on the first floor. Other facilities at the albergue are of a high standard.

At first I thought I had the albergue to myself and laid out all my wet gear to dry. The hot air hand driers in the loo were pressed into use to try and dry my soaking wet boots but they were still damp in the morning.

I thought I would have a lonely night but I was joined by Rafael and Daniel from Burgos who had sheltered from most of the rain in Alberguería. When they were ready we went out to find a restaurant for a meal and a chat about our various experiences on the Caminos.