With slightly more sore legs than the previous day, we set out on our new segment of the Camino today. Again, it was quite cool in the morning, with light breeze. Our walk today took us through many woods and forests and our first small town — where we almost lost our way.
The path seemed to go perpetually uphill today, which my legs noticed immediately. What struck me as we walked through the forests was how much the Camino path reminded me of some of the “roads” that were a part of our family farm in Nebraska. Many a time I expected to round a bend and see a landmark from my childhood. There were a few times when the path was extremely rutted and quite uneven so we had to slow down so that we wouldn’t stumble.
We passed through the village of Palais de Rei, which had a lovely little church dedicated to St. Tirso. It was here that we ran into a problem finding the yellow arrow that all the pilgrims look for as they walk. Kris and I had walked for about 15 minutes and had not seen a yellow arrow. I tried to talk to someone in a large bar/cafe on the road, but she had locked her doors. We were just getting ready to walk back to the last yellow arrow we had seen, when we spotted our bus; it was headed for our next checkpoint. Francisco, the driver, honked, and pulled the bus to the side of the road. Ignacio hopped out and directed us to the right path–we were actually going in the right direction. It seemed that several segments today were not as well marked as yesterday.
Later, we ran into the same problem when we came to a crossorads on a path. We had just spotted a farmer who was hauling several large bales of hay and we decided to take one path, but in a moment, we heard a series of honks from the tractor. The farmer was smiling and gesturing to us to follow the path that he had taken. As we waited for him, he smiled and waved; his young son was eyeing us curiously as they drove off.
We stopped for lunch at a small cafe called Samosa, which is famous for its Spanish omlette. Unfortunately, our legs did not want to leave the cafe as we finished our meal, but we had 4 km left to walk. It seemed that this was the most challenging walk of the day and by the time that we arrived at the checkpoint we were relieved to be able to sit for several minutes and guzzle down our water and rest.
Ah, but the day was not over…Marly Camino had arranged for us to take a short tour of an artisnal organic cheese maker which included a cheese making worshop. Frankly, I wanted to find my bed at the Pazo and stretch out, but I soldieried on with the rest of the group.
The cheese maker was quite proud of his operation and showed genuine glee in taking us through the steps of making cheese in their tradional manner. While we waited for the curds and whey to separate, he showed us a traditional Galician home from 200 years ago, which was set up as a home might have been back then.
We went back to the cheese making and each of us took a turn separating the curds and whey, and then taking the curds and forming them into a small ball of cheese. We used a mold made out of birch wood, and we kept patting the cheese gently to remove more of the whey. You periodically had to flip the cheese out of the mold and start over– I never quite got the hang of it, but by the end of the workshop we each had a little mound of cheese to take back with us to our lodging. We even sampled it later that evening at dinner.