Fri 16 Oct - Day 32: Laguna de Castilla to Triacastela 23km

651km walked. 134km left to walk. 

We are on home stretch now. Today I walked into Galicia, the last province of the Camino and the province where Santiago de Compostela is. The guide book specifies 6 stages beyond today and I expect to finish the Camino in 6 days, walking into Santiago de Compostela on Thursday 22 October. 

The drawback is that the guide book's suggested destination for tomorrow's stage 28 is Sarria.    

Sarria is around 115km from Santiago de Compostela and the last town of any size on the Camino, population app 13,000. 

That will likely mean a massive influx of Turigrinos from Sarria onwards, or Compostela seekers as I also call them. The psuedo pilgrims who will walk the absolute minimum requirement of 100km in order to receive the Compostela, the paper of "achievement". 

The guidebook "warns" about the additional competitive effect for beds in albergues. 

I am sure that I will also see more tourist buses and "tourists" with day packs only or even without any backpacks. 

Back to regular programming now...

The small settlement of Laguna de Castilla where I spent last night is only a short walk from the border to Galicia. Given yet another early start as the hostel bar was dark and closed and hence i had no breakfast, Deb, Win and I took off in the dark. The boys and Sophie were still in the albergue as we left. 

Unfortunately that also meant that we did not see the Galicia border sign which was supposed to be there. The first Galician town is O'Cebriero 150 meter higher and 2 km away from Laguna de Castilla. 

O'Cebreiro Iglesia looked mystical, spooky and gloomy at predawn. 

After a bit of breakfast in O'Cebriero, we took off as the sun began to show itself. Unfortunately we did exactly what I found out later that the guide book warned about and I quote "many pilgrims miss the track and take the asphalt in error". Yep, include us 3 into that crowd. 
The pilgrim track and the main road come together in the settlement of Linares so no damage was done. 

One of the crosses at Linares church provided an interesting shadow. 
At Alto de San Roque a bit further, there is an imposing statue of a medieval pilgrim. 
Here is that imposing medieval pilgrim again and two a bit more current and less  imposing pilgrims. Me and Deb. 
In Galecia, a new type of Camino marker began appearing, see below. The markers showed irregular distances where they sometimes marked half kilometers as well. The distances did not correspond that well with distances in the guide book either. 
Today's Camino was noted for its beauty. Very green, lots of rolling hills. A bit like Ireland unsurprisingly enough as there is a partial Gaelic background to the people of Galicia. 
I could see from a distance this herd of cattle being taken from one pasture across the road onto another. 
I could have taken many landscape photos today but the photos tend to be flat in a photographic 2D environment. 
There were several very rural hamlets close to today's destination of Triacastela. The pilgrims had to constantly look out for those brown puddles on the ground. They were everywhere. 

Outside one farm, this donkey and the hitchhiking cat combination was particularly funny. 
There were chooks, roosters and dogs around the animals above as well. Rural indeed.  

Another picture from this rural part of Galicia. 
Win had walked ahead of Deb and me so when we arrived at Complexo Xacobeo, as tonight's albergue in Triacastela was called, our names were already on the reservation list.

By 3pm, Ben, Aaron and Sophie arrived at the Triacastela as well. 

A couple of pics from downtown Triacastela. 

My dinner was a prepackaged paella marinara from the supermercado that I heated up in the microwave oven. 2€. Not too bad but likely with a lot of salt in it. 

The whole thing reminded me of our US travel in 2013 when we bought a lot of dirt cheap but reasonably tasty TV-meals. 

It wasn't enough so I had a can of sardines in olive oil with crackers to supplement it. I love that stuff. 

I was tempted to get some of this cheese from the supermercado. No, not really. 
I had a most relaxing evening in the mild and lovely Galicia climate, sitting mostly outside at the back of the albergue in Triacastela. No alcohol tonight but some chocolate and crisps treats. Heck, I am walking towards those 500 miles...

I also asked the hospitalero to book me a bed 5km or so on the other side of Sarria. I think that I will make a booking for the remaining days of the Camino. Better safe than sorry. 

Post note on blisters etc: 
To date, I still have had 0 blisters on my feet. Right foot:
Left foot:
I have had a couple of false alarms. This toe looked like it had a blister coming but that was several days ago and nothing has come out of it. 
The only blister I have is on my left hand. From holding the hiking pole too hard. 

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