Day 11- Miraz to Sobrado dos Monxes- 25.5km
Today we reached the highest point on the Camino del Norte. Unfortunately there isn’t a climactic pinnacle or spectacular monument to mark the occasional but the knowledge that we have walked from sea level to 710m was a Nestlé chocolate moment for us.
The day started with all nine of us enjoying an English breakfast at the Albergue in Muriz. The group of six Catholic college girls (aged between 20 – 25) were first to leave. It was their second day and they were keen for adventure. The French student who had wondered into the Albergue late yesterday afternoon, left before us but spent some time in the church before proceeding on his way. He eventually passed us around five kilometres later. Even though I had nicknamed him Jesus, due to his beard, sandals and long staff, he told us that his name was Xavier and he had started his pilgrimage in Paris, two and a half months ago. He had left his studies to walk this religious pilgrimage with hardly no money and very little belongings. I asked him what he would do after arriving in Santiago de Compostella, as at his pace he would surely get there in two days. He said that he will continue down to Fatima in Portugal, a distance of around 420km, and then he didn’t know where after that. He had a sadness in his eyes that I hope will be lifted as he redeems his soul to the saints.
The Way was again marred by mud for the first 4km but after this, we mostly walked on road base. We have since found out that there is serious flooding in Galicia between us and A Coruna, just 80km away. Television footage shows people being rescued from their houses in motorboats and water up to the rooftops of cars. No wonder it is so soggy underfoot.
Enough doom and gloom.
We made it into Sobrado by 2.15pm and are staying in the 28 bed private Albergue Lecer with the three Spanish boys we met yesterday. The girls are staying in the 120 bed Albergue de Perigrinos in the Monasterio de Santa Marìa de Sobrado. This magnificent building, founded in 952, dominates the town and has a stunning Baroque facade. Unfortunately no wifi, so Lecer won for me. We have filled up on our Menu de Perigrinos- three courses for nine euros each, and are rugged up against the plummeting temperature- currently hovering around six degrees celsius. I hope there is heating for the girls.