Camino del Norte Day 36: Ribadeo to Lourenzá

We got a fairly early start this morning, making instant coffee and toast in the albergue. However, since we weren’t sure when we would be in a bigger town again, we decided to stop by a café to use the wifi. We also had a hard time figuring out how the route goes through Ribadeo because it is not marked at all, so we had to explore and find our own way. I’m not sure why some cities just do not mark through town—there were plenty of signs for hotel and all kinds of things, but not one Camino arrow or shell.

The weather had looked brighter, but became increasingly cloudy and we were deluged with rain as we entered Vilela. We had heard there was a new albergue there that we wanted to visit, but we didn’t see any signs to it. We asked several people, who sent us in different directions. Finally we found it, right behind the only café in town, but even the building itself did not have any sign outside. It was a beautifully restored building but unfortunately was very dirty with only one shower that was covered in mold. It’s hard to understand why a community would take the time and expense to renovate their old school into an albergue, but not take the simple next step of putting a sign out!

The rain let up rather suddenly, and we enjoyed some sunshine to dry us off. It didn’t last long, however, as were socked by an even stronger downpour, which drove us to seek shelter under an abandoned barn roof. We thought of stopping in the albergue of Gondán, which had a lovely kitchen, but there are no shops or restaurants nearby, and we didn’t think we had enough food for the evening. The albergue also has the toilets and showers outside of the building and I didn’t relish the thought of running out in the rain to use the bathroom… There was no one else at the albergue yet and we would have had to call for someone to drop off the key.

We continued on to the next town, San Xusto, and were surprised to see a new albergue there! With only 10 beds (including a room of only 2 beds), it looked quite nice and there was no one there yet at 5pm, so we would likely have had the place to ourselves. Quite tempting, but we decided to press on to the larger town (2,600) of Lourenzá in order to cook a more substantial dinner. We arrived a little after 6pm, and the 18-bed albergue was almost full. We grabbed some food from the grocery store and made up a tasty pasta dinner. None too soon, as there was hot competition for the one stove burner and two pots available at the albergue…

I had a nice hot shower and did laundry in the dark, though our clothes will likely not dry tonight. The weather report says sun for the next 5 days, so we hope they are right! I have been surprised that this route has much fewer washing machines than the Francés, where it was possible to pay a few euros to wash every few days. I really get tired of hand washing, especially the arduous task of wringing things out… and no amount of hand washing seems to rival the cleanliness a machine wash affords.

My mom has also been experiencing rainy, cold weather on her route. She has completed two days already and seems to be doing well!