Piligrims are showing up in different places, walking and on biciycles. This is Easter week holiday and many Spanish piligrims at heart, walk the camino in stages, as their holidays allow them to do it. Also being closer to Santiago, some piligrims walk the last 100 km to recieve the Compostela.
Wow !! I am now 100 km from Santiago !!
From Xunqueira de Ambia to the center of Ourense, there are 26 km.
The moon is full, orange and very bright. Four of us piligrims decide to leave the albergue at 6 am to avoid the extreme heat past noon (unsual weather for this time of the year) and also avoid the traffic, as today's walking has a fair amount of walking on a secondary road.
The Via de la Plata has very little road walking, which is great. Roads, villages and cities are as much part of the camino as valleys, mountains and narrow trails. Through history and centuries, those piligrims walking paths, became also the trails that have grown to communicate villages, cities and roads.
Walking, as the day was becoming light, I hear the early morning birds and sounds in the path. It is peaceful, beautiful, cool and I wear my toque and gloves, until the trail starts to climb. Walking in Galicia is always up and down, gaining and losing elevation, both equally hard on the feet and knees.
Ourense is situated in the deep valley (130 m elevation) of the river Miño, which gives a climate hotter and drier than in the rest of Galicia. The Romans built a settelment here to take advantage of the multiple hot springs along the banks of the river Miño that flows through the city. There is also a hot spring site in the center of the city, next to the XII century cathedral. The beautiful cathedral is romanesque and early gothic. The original roman bridge is not standing and a newer stone bridge has been built using the original footings.
The albergue in Ourense is on the site of an old Franciscan middle ages convent, high above overlooking the city and many steps to get to it !! it has 20 bunk beds and the stone walls and wooden new ceilings....a beautiful place to rest and fall asleep. The cloister has 76 double columns, 63 arches showing the transition between romanic and gothic architecture.
|walking towards the hot spring|
In the afternoon four of us piligrims visit one of the six hot springs public sites along the river. When I arrived there at 5 pm and + 32C, I decide not to stay as it is too hot for me.
I returned to the comfortable sheltered albergue where I felt sheltered, protected from the heat and also the constant shock of the life when entering a city after being in the Camino.