We slept past our alarm again this morning! When we finally deigned to rise at 8 am we were greeted with a clear blue sky through the treetops. Thank you Portugal! We had chilly breakfast and were ready to head off by 9.30. When we went to pay we found the office all locked up, even though it was supposed to be open at 9. We didn’t have the right money, and we were undecided about whether to go and find change and return, or just abscond. We went about 3 km down to road to the petrol station, as we were pulling in we were moaning about what a pain it was going to be to get change and go all the way back. Luckily enough though, the campsite lady was also in the petrol station, so we were able (indeed obliged) to pay her there and then. We didn’t attempt to advise her about opening the office on time in Portuguese though! We carried on up the road, and as we came around a corner we saw a small village with the valley below it cloaked in cloud. What a start to the ride!
Our first stop today was Castro Labroeiro, a great little village with an old hill fort nearby, and a huge selection of elderly ladies wandering the streets dressed in black. One elderly lady (who wasn’t dressed in black) brandished a hoe and shouted at us as we rode past, but we then saw her brandishing a hoe and shouting at her neighbours as well, so we didn’t feel so bad. We stocked up on food for the day; at the bakery we got a brown loaf. It cost €7.50 which came as a bit of a shock until we tried to pick it up. It weighed about 1.5 kg and was filled with fruit and nuts. We decided it will probably keep us going for 3 days so not such a bad deal. We had first lunch on a little hill overlooking the village and admired the beautiful sky and the impressive boulder ridges on all sides. It would be amazing to live there if you could take being shouted at and threatened with a hoe on a daily basis.
We headed on towards the Spanish border, ready to brave the Galician weather once more. The landscape continued to be beautiful and impressive, the usual gorse, broom and heather interspersed with huge rocky outcrops and areas of coniferous and deciduous woodland.
At the border we had raincoats at the ready, but it stayed dry (although I thought I detected a slight drop in temperature as we crossed over). As we came whizzing down the other side we saw some sheep on the road verge. All the black sheep were on the sunny side, and the white sheep were on the shady side. As we came towards them though they banded together for safety, then proceeded to trample over each other to escape our big scary bikes. We then saw a little old lady herding two massive cows up the road with a stick. We would have loved to get a picture but we were scared she would herd us too. We stopped at a little church that had a lovely old oak tree in front of it. The oak had had its trunk chopped off at some point, and had regrown from some big branches at the side to a fantastic bushy form.
We stopped for second lunch in Lobios, a town with a big lake below it. From there we continued South, tracing the river Caldo uphill back towards the Portuguese border. All very confusing I know, but trust me, we know what we’re doing!
We decided that once we had got a few km outside Lobios we would find a place to camp. We found one almost straight away, which was in a great setting, but was quite close to the road and showed evidence of boar rootling, so we decided we would wait a while longer.
The road up the valley was stunning, we saw a massive waterfall tumbling down the opposite side of the valley, then a minute later we had our own little waterfall right next to us on the road!
After a few kilometres we go to a bridge over the river, and decided we would stop. There was a little area just off the road where the river formed a big pool, perfect for washing, but after walking a little way up a few paths we couldn’t really find anywhere good to camp. The only option we could see was right next to the road, totally exposed to cars in both directions. We decided to cook dinner and wait a bit to see how we felt. While we were cooking a police car went past twice, and a group of people stopped to ask us where the hot spring was. I didn’t find this ideal and I was getting a bit stressed about pitching up right by the road so we went walking a bit further afield and eventually found a place out of sight on a walking trail. So as long as we don’t meet any late evening / early morning hikers with an officious streak, we should be fine!