El Camino Fonseca

Northwest via Ourense

Rolling Hills and Steep Climbs

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Ourense to Santiago

Cotelas to A Laxe: 21 June 2006

The bar in Cotelas was open for breakfast next morning and I was joined by two Spanish pilgrims who had stayed overnight in Cea.


We walked together, at first by road, through Piñor then there was a more rural stretch over a moorland hill towards Dozón. Along this way we asked a farm worker how far it was to Dozón. He explained that he had no idea how many kilometers there were but, if he were walking, it was about an hour and a half. Not far out.


In Dozón there is a bar and shop for supplies. At one time there was accommodation here but now the guidebooks are a bit hazy about this. I didn't notice anything of this nature as I passed through but the Camino only passes through a corner of the small town and there may be more facilities along the main N525.


After Dozón there was a rather unpleasant stretch of Camino with road works as the motorway was being extended. Hopefully the way will be rerouted onto a better track when the work is completed.


Following the present Camino involves crossing the main road several times and some stretches are actually along the hard shoulder of the N525. Eventually the Camino goes off to the left of the road along a dirt track and, after an easy climb drops down to the village of Puxallos. At the entrance to the village is a house with a statue of Santiago and a cruciero in the front garden.

From Puxallos the Camino drops down along tracks through open countryside with wide views and then enters a shady wood towards Pontenouf.


After Pontenouf the road passes over the Rio Deza and you are confronted by a tunnel under the railway line. The Camino ignores this tunnel and goes for a short distance to the right then turns left to rise through woods to the village of A Xesta. From here there is quite a bit of road walking until you meet the railway again at Estación de Lalín.

Footsore and weary I headed for the hotel by the railway station for a long, late lunch. At another table in the dining room was a group of businessmen having a meeting over lunch. After my meal I was invited to join this table for drinks. The meeting was to do with planning permissions for building work in the area but the representatives of the town council then questioned me about the state of the Camino in their area before sending me on my way towards A Laxe to meet the hospitalera, Victoria.


I was now into the heat of the afternoon and the walk through the following villages passed in a bit of a haze. I do recall that there was a lot of road walking involved but on narrow country roads with hardly any traffic. At times the views were extensive then the route dropped down to the main roads (and more roadworks) near A Laxe.

I quickly found Victoria's house but there was no one at home. Villagers directed me to the albergue and showed me the way to the rear entrance which had been left open. The albergue is new and very well equipped. There were another half dozen pilgrims here that night, the most I had seen on the whole Camino, but there was still plenty of room for more.

Victoria turned up later to stamp our credenciales and take donations towards the upkeep of the albergue. She also explained that the doors would be locked at 10pm but we pleaded that there was an important football match being shown at the bar up the road. We were granted an extension and all adjourned to the bar for supper and football.