Arzua to Rua 19km (11.87 miles)
After breakfast we could see there was light rain, but the type of rain that makes you very wet in no time at all. I decided to try out my new £1.99 poncho that was a mistake! It turned out to be absolutely useless.
The start point today was a few yards from our accommodation. We walked down the steps behind our hotel onto a quiet road, and then straight on until the last house of the town, following more pilgrims; the weather was not showing any signs of improving. As we were leaving Arzua we came to a small church and had a look inside, along with other people, then continued on our way towards Pregonotono, passing under the N547.
We were now walking through lots of wooded areas and crisscrossing the main N547 leading to Santiago, basically walking parallel with the major road. We went through some pretty, tranquil, and somewhat wet, villages – Calzada, A Calle and Brea – until we reached O Emplame. Here we were looking for signs to Santa Irene and discovered the route by following other pilgrims. As we arrived in Santa Irene our guide book suggested we visit the chapel, but as we were feeling cold and wet we carried on into the forest until we saw a sign showing an alternative route to avoid crossing the major road. According to the guide book this was the direction to take, but all it did was lead us to a hostel and a cafe’ that was closed, so we crossed the road again, back into the eucalyptus woods towards the village of Santa Irene. At this point we walked up a hill very close to the road and at the top were a couple of cafés, so we decided to have a coffee break. The drizzle had ceased but we were wet and feeling very, very cold. We stopped at the nearest café. Inside it was difficult to find a table as there were bodies everywhere – people just sitting, eating, supping hot drinks or queuing for toilets – and the air felt damp too, due to wet coats hanging up to dry off in the heat of the room.
As luck would have it someone was just leaving. We ordered coffees and got out of our wet gear. After half an hour or so, and being warmer than we had been, it was time to move on. Our wet coats, although now drier, were still horrible to put on but it had to be done.
Outside we crossed the N547 again and headed back into the eucalyptus forest looking for signs to Rua and O Pino, our next hotel. As we walked through the forest the trees were giving us some shelter and the ground didn’t appear to be wet. We passed a monument and started to descend a much narrower path, our guide notes telling us to look out for the Rua Tourist Office.
At the end of the path, and what looked like a small village street ahead, there was our Tourist Office, closed. At this point we had to turn right as our hotel was two hundred metres straight ahead.
We arrived at reception, booked in and went to our rooms very quickly. Steve had a look round and found a drying room so it was all wet clothes off and into the drier. Whilst this was happening we each had a hot shower and a change into warm clothing. Once the wet clothes had dried we went down to the bar for a drink and tapas. As we entered the lounge bar the two ladies from Texas whom we’d met in Palas de Rei, but didn’t know their names, were having a quiet drink – but not for long.
Steve noisily introduced us and they reciprocated, telling us they were Cathy & Suzanne.
Whilst Steve & Derek discussed how the walk was going I chatted to a lady from Norway who was walking the Camino alone and had started from St. Jean Pied de Port, France. This was her first ever long distance walk and when I asked what training she had done in preparation she replied, “Play a lot of golf!”
Following the tapas and a drink we booked a table for our evening meal then retired for the afternoon.
In the evening we had an aperitif before going to dinner and as we entered the busy dining room we could see that most of the clients were fellow pilgrims. We had a pleasant meal and after coffee we retired for the evening