Casa Simon (40€)
We are up at 7 AM and downstairs at 8. Breakfast is in the bar, and the sole bartender is ill prepared for the onslaught. Chaos! We are able to get two coffees and two tiny muffins, but no stamps for our credenciales. Just as we’re ready to be on our way, the gift shop opens and we ask to have our credenciales stamped there, only for no particularly reason be blown off. Humph! The morning is very cold, somewhat clear, no rain. We will be traveling downhill for most of this stretch but at the outset we are winding our way along a ridge, and the views are inspiring. Snow-clad mountains in the distance, green fields below us, and purple blooming hillsides all around. Our path undulates along the ridge, with gentle ups and downs. Magical walking. Lots of pilgrims, passing us up. We stop for C&CC. On our way, we see and greet familiar faces… the fun and fraternity of the Camino. Another snack a little later. Our little breaks are energy boosters, with now, a BIG DESCENT! Steeply down, braking with our poles for 9.5 long kilometers. After some 6 ½ hours, we arrive in Tricastela at 3:20 PM. As the name implies, are there three castles here? Well, once upon a time. We find Casa Simon. No record of our reservation, but that’s OK. In what appears to be a rambling, creaky boarding house, our room is OK, just. We head out to eat (it’s now 3:40), and wind up at the Café Fernandez, initially dreary, but then good and even cheery. Bonnie: ensalada mista with bacon and eggs with potatoes / Nick: caldo Galega, veal steak, and ice cream. Heading back to our room, we enjoy a Celtic bagpipe and drum duo in a bar along the way. B+N, then up at 7:30 and out for drinks down the street. It’s raining. We order gin and tonics, with an accompanying cream cheese and orange spread on bread. We share a glass of wine, and then scurry home through a downpour, to read and sleep.