21 kilometers, 4 hours and 30 minutes. A little climbing out of A Gudiña and then through nothing little villages that time forget: A Venda Da Teresa, A Venda Da Capela, and A Venda do Bolaño. High hill towns of very few and mostly old people. Capela was at least on the old train line, and there was a stop there.
About 90 percent of this day was on quiet blacktop country roads, mostly rolling up and down along a ridgeline once you are above A Gudiña and before dropping quickly to Campo. (There I go again, shortening and simplifying the Spanish names.)
There are two paths indicated as you leave A Gudiña, one for the Laza route and one for the Verín route (toward Portugal). The Laza route is normally taken, and we followed it. That route takes you through great scenery with long-distance views in every direction. Fernando and I walked together most of the day, only separating when one of us would stop for a picture or something to eat.
We talked little. He understood, knowing my limited Spanish, and only talked about what was obvious. He would tell me things about the terrain—like the fire breaks cut preemptively along ridgelines—and about the AVE high-speed rail line construction. He indicated that one tunnel section we had passed over the previous day was eight kilometers long (five miles). Wow! But looking from our vantage point that day, there must have been many such long tunnels in the new line. Very little of the new system through the hill country I saw was above ground.
I got the sense that Fernando was not really pleased with the new lines and the money being spent. He probably knew best, but I was always super happy with the AVE trains I had taken in Spain. They were always very close to on time and very comfortable. However, I can only imagine the billions in European capital being spent on the projects I’d seen during that trip.
But then, the government’s spending of billions on wind turbines, solar energy, and high-speed rail seems very forward looking. With energy and transportation secured, the sky’s the limit.
We stopped for the day at a short distance (as the other option was a very long one), staying at Albergue da Rosario in Campobecerros. Fernando and I met Rosario later at a little bar in her name on the tight, medieval streets inside the small town.
I later had dinner just up the hill at Café Nuñez with many of the construction workers laboring on the new rail line. Campo sat in a bowl, and the rail line popped out of a tunnel on one side, then back into another on the other side of the bowl, the short section in between adjacent to the little town.
That day, I noted I had set some personal records: most time away from home (not really a bragging point), most time away from my wife (certainly not a high mark there), most time at one physical adventure (old record was twenty days and five hours on the Camino Francés), and most distance walked (I had passed through eight hundred kilometers of trail that day).
Costs: €8 for the albergue (hostel), €4 for breakfast (leftovers for lunch), and €8 for dinner in Campo.