El Camino Fonseca

Northwest via Ourense

Agriculture and Moorland

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Vilar do Barrio to Ourense

Allariz to Ourense: 19 June 2006
Allariz"

In the morning there was not a soul awake in the hostal. They had not taken my money for the room and had promised to serve a simple breakfast of coffee and cakes. I let myself out to have breakfast in a nearby bar but even after this there was still no sign of life in the hostal. I left money with my key in the foyer and set off through the debris of the night's celebrations.

The old bridge built on Roman foundations was easy to find and I soon picked up the waymarks which led me across the N525 and then underneath the motorway. The villages of Roiriz and Rubiás follow soon after the motorway and then the Camino heads towards Santa Mariña through a wooded area where I became lost for a while.

Camino towards Santa Mariña

I had to backtrack for quite a distance until I rediscovered the yellow arrows then continued climbing the hill, partly by footpaths and partly by road.

Camino near Santa Mariña

It is possible to find refreshments in Santa Mariña but I decided to press on towards Ourense.

You must enjoy what you can of the countryside here because soon after Santa Mariña and Outeiro the Camino joins the route coming from Xunqueiro and the walking then is mainly by road.

Vineyard near Outeiro

I made a coffee stop in one of the forgettable villages along the road and eventually passed through an ugly industrial area. I was then considering getting a bus into the city centre but I stopped for lunch just before the traffic lights in Reboredo. This gave me a chance to study my guide book and I decided to follow the Camino. The way climbs steeply to the right at the traffic lights but, after the top of the hill you must dash across a busy main road. Then you must cross the railway line by foot and once again cross the main road.

The reward for all this dangerous rushing about is the pretty and quiet suburb of Seixalbo. The grand houses are in narrow flagstoned streets and there are several shops and bars to meet your needs. An old church and graveyard are at the exit to the village and after this you are back onto the main road into the city centre.

From here on there is no way to avoid the main road. The day had become very warm and the sun reflecting off the buildings and pavements soon sapped my strength. Near the city centre I was directed to the right up a long straight hill to the old monastery of San Francisco which houses the large albergue as well as a museum.

I now found that I had just over an hour to wait until the albergue opened at 4pm so there was no chance of a siesta for me. The bar across the road from the albergue's door had a shady patio so I settled here for a few cold beers while I watched for signs of activity at the door. My feet were definitely fraying at the edges by now so I planned the final section into Santiago in four easy stages.

Once I was settled in the albergue I could clean up and have a gentle walk around town. The albergue is on a hill above the city centre and access to the cathedral and Plaza Mayor is by a series of wide steps. It seemed that I had just missed a fiesta here because there were still decorations strung across the streets and a few other signs of the previous night's revels. I found a small restaurant for dinner then climbed back up the steps to the bar to finish off the evening watching part of the football World Cup on television. I met my four fellow residents at the door of the albergue as they returned from similar activities in another bar.