Vía de la Plata – Day 24: Asturianos to Requejo de Sanabria

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29 kilometers, 5 hours and 20 minutes. Completely different landscape and wonderful trails sliding past Remesal, Otero de Sanabria, and Triufé, and through historic city of Puebla de Sanabria and beyond.

This was one of my favorite days on the VDLP. During the night, heavy rains had waked us. As I lay there, I remembered reading in my Camino information that “off-road sections between Asturianos and Puebla de Sanabria may be muddy and flooded after rain.”

In the morning, as we readied to go, I decided I’d take the trail as long as it made good sense. Mike and Cici, who ended up at the same—like only—albergue (hostel) in town, thought they would take the highway, a safer bet. Because of the new freeway, the highway had little traffic. Fernando, a member of the sagrada familia (our little “holy family”), was up early and had left the albergue before the rest of us.

We said our goodbyes at the split of our paths on the edge of town, and I headed for the trails. I was quickly rewarded by little water or mud on the lightly used trails and by the beautiful sights of the fall season: wonderful red mushrooms, frozen dew drops on fallen yellow leaves, and chestnut tree orchards with leaves yellowing and scads of chestnut pods giving even more cushion to my path.

My plan was to continue with a relatively light day of 29 kilometers in advance of a long 42 kilometers the next day—with lots of climbing, including the highest point on the VDLP, at 1,361 meters (4,466 feet). In Puebla de Sanabria, I stopped at a Dia store to buy snacks for both that afternoon and the long next day. I then climbed the long staircase to the historic old city, where I found some lunch and café con leche (espresso with steamed milk). This was a perfect spot for coffee and a generous slice of Spanish tortilla (egg and potato quiche) straight out of the oven, all for €1.80, along with a great view looking back to the newer parts of town.

Just before the town I was headed for, Requejo, I passed through the tiny puebla (village) of Terroso. There, I was beckoned by an older man to come sign his book, and he would put a new stamp on my credential. His name was Andrés, and he had many other pilgrims’ names in his book. He wasn’t looking for anything from me. But I did catch the word parochial, and he did seem to give me a tiny speech about the blessings of marriage. He had pointed to my wedding band and spoke for just a moment. Then and there I missed her all the more.

For slideshow, click on imagine.

In Requejo, I found the private Albergue Casa Cerviño and quickly started on laundry. I stayed there because of the washer and dryer, the Wi-Fi, and hopefully better heat than what the municipal albergue across the street offered. Casa Cerviño was very comfy and warm, and I was the only pilgrim there that night. I found out later that Fernando had stayed at the municipal albergue. He preferred those, indicating we needed to support them to keep them alive.

I later went to the Hostal Tu Casa for dinner. This place was recommended by the hospitalera (albergue hostess) at Casa Cerviño. I cannot recommend Tu Casa, though it was inexpensive and hearty. It’s a pretty good walk out of town, along the highway. I was the only person there, and it appeared that the place was well past its prime, decaying slowly. New freeways and rail lines are killing these old places.

Costs: €12 for the albergue, €4 for laundry, €1.80 for lunch, €4 for snacks, and €6.50 for dinner.