Sunday: 20. 04.2014
Alto do Polo – Portomarin 67kms 509m
I was correct about the early call of the rooster, in fact there were two: one in perfect voice and the other suffering from a nasty case of laryngitis. It had the same effect though. By 0730 we were eating (yes, you’ve guessed it) two pieces of toast! Once again, the coffee and juice were excellent.
The weather had changed not at all from when we arrived and was damp, foggy and very cold with intermittent rain! Now you would think that two so called practiced outdoor education specialist would understand the rudiments of mountain weather! Hmmm….even the best make mistakes and unable to see the descent, which was very long and steep and fast, we had seriously underestimated the wind chill factor. Twelve kilometres later Al was hypothermic staggering from his bike and shaking like a jelly.(so out of it I had to think about how to stop the bike - ed.) A less caring person than myself?, might have found the situation amusing (we did later) but at the time, coffee seemed a good idea along with more clothes. During this thawing process, we were overtaken by the three young female cyclists who had shared our albergue. They weren’t cold, or at least not then, but a couple of kilometres later they were stationary flapping hands and feet!
Two hours later and still wearing all our warm and waterproof gear, we hunted for a bus shelter in order to partake of the remains of the coffee. We are something of experts on bus shelters and the only one available was on the shabby side, very shabby side. However, it still retained a roof and a bench – what more does one require? A bit less litter, perhaps.
Our journey today, has followed the inevitable ups, downs and ups all made a tinsy bit more hazardous as a result of the wet and, I have to say, a lot of shit. If I thought the incident the day before yesterday was unfortunate, today it would seem the farmers had all decided to move their cows to new pastures having first ensured that they all had an enema. No shit on shoes, just splashed onto everything else. Lots and lots of good luck!
A bit fed up with traffic, we thought to follow the recommended route from our magic book which encouraged us to share a road, which was likely to have short sections of gravelly bits, with the pelicans. All initial indications were that this might make for a good short cut. Alas and alack, after a couple kilometres, the few gravelly bits became a stream with stepping stones. Now we have negotiated some odd hurdles in the past but Herman and Sherman absolutely refused to hop from one stone to the next! Another good idea that came to nought.
We still reached our destination fairly early and managed to find shelter under the porch of the yacht club (closed) as the heavens did their best to soak us yet again! So now very damp and a little dispirited, and it being Easter Sunday and some kind of fete in the town, I was not confident of finding decent accommodation. Wrong! Mr. Locator of Refuge, searched his book and came up with a name. I wandered around accosting innocent folk with a request for directions to no avail. Then, ta rah, the Guardia not only explained the whereabouts of the hotel, but actually took us to a point where we could see it. Hmm……………..at the bottom of a very steep and wet hill. With the trailers threatening to overtake the bikes we successfully reached the bottom and proceeded to locate this fabulous refuge. Never in a month of Sundays would we have found it without the help of plod. So, many thanks.
Tomorrow, I suspect, will be more of the same but ever nearing our goal.