Day 12 – Sun-cream and Raincoats

It didn’t stop raining all night last night! But we were dry in the tent and I used earplugs to get a good night’s sleep in spite of the hammering rain. When we started packing up inside the tent at 7am, the rain stopped, there were hints of blue sky and we were able to break camp and set off in lovely conditions.

As we rode out of the campsite through the village, the mist was rising off the cloud-shrouded hills around the valley, and the colours were wonderful after the rain. Fields of poppies all bright red, bobbing their heads under the weight of the water on them. We headed back to the road, the N-VI that has been serving us well for the last few days. Today, as yesterday, we were taking the N-VI alongside the new (and huge) A6 motorway. Neither road was very busy, but thankfully most of the traffic was on the A6 and we had the N-VI mostly to ourselves again.

Beautiful morning, empty roads!

Beautiful morning, empty roads!

Uphill on the peaceful N-VI

Uphill on the peaceful N-VI

The sun and the clouds were with us all along the N-VI as we headed gradually uphill, north up the valley. When we were on the same route as the famous Camino de Santiago, we saw loads of hikers and greeted each other with the customary ‘Hola! Buen Camino!’. When we stopped for first lunch at a picnic spot in a little town, we chatted to a Dutch lady who’d cycled from home to do the Camino de Santiago.

Then we continued uphill, steeper now, criss-crossing the A6, under or over as the weather was getting steadily worse. A cold wind was blowing and the rain came and went. The phrase of the day was ‘Oh look, it’s raining over there!’, then it’d rain over here for a bit, too.

Under the A6

Under the A6

Ouch, so hilly!

Ouch, so hilly!

We crossed the county boundary into Galicia [pronounced Galithia], a country renowned for its lush green hills, good farming and lots of rain!  So of course it was raining as we entered the county.

Arriving in Galicia

Arriving in Galicia

When we finally made it to point at which we were going to leave the N-VI, we were already tired and it was raining quite hard. We stopped for a chilly second lunch then carried on up and up and up.

We met a few other cyclists on the way, all with quite a bit less luggage than us but we were all having just as tough a time going up the mountain.  A friendly Czech guy took a picture of us at a viewpoint.

Viewpoint on the way up

Viewpoint on the way up

When we finally made it to the top of the pass, we thought we were going to get to go down for a while, but ended up going straight back up again!

One of several pass summits

One of several pass summits

It seems like we had been going for hours uphill in the rain this afternoon, but we’ve hardly gone any distance since we left the N-VI! When we’d one 50km for the day, we came to the top of a hill in the rain and saw a hostel, so decided to call it a day. We finished the day 850 meters higher than we started but the total climbing was more as we went down quite a bit too!

The hostel is far from the best accommodation – it boasts the world’s worst showers! But alas, we are clean and warm and dry and full of delicious home-made lamb stew and sweet tea from the bar! There are a few locals chatting noisily in Spanish and one Camino walker kindly talking to us in English.  He did the same distance as us today but without wheels!

– Anna

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