Total distance = 194 km
Alto do Poio – Fonfria – Biduedo – Filoval – As Pasantes – Triacastela – Balsa – San Xil – Montan – Furela – Pintin – Calvor – Aguiada – San Mamed de Camino – Sarria
If going uphill is hard, going down isn’t much better! It takes an aggressive toll on the knees and from Alto do Poio, it is mostly downhill, sometimes very steeply – a 700 m descent which takes over two hours. Triacastela is a beautiful village but other than little cafes, there is little of note.
But it is here that a decision has to be made as the route soon offers a choice of two – San Xil or Samos? To take the Samos route, it is 5 km longer and passes one of Galicia’s most prominent monasteries.
What I particularly enjoy about walking the Camino is the quaint villages that we passed through so frequently. Balsa is a perfect example of one of those villages, rejuvenated only in the last few years, it is a tiny stop alive with the sound of peregrinos voices and their clacking poles.
Not able to contemplate the idea of an extra 5 km, we went for San Xil – and spent many a kilometer working out whether the ‘Xil’ were really Roman numerals and that the village was named after a Saint 41? We were obviously a little travel worn by now; we were obviously a little confused about our Roman numerals anyway. As it quite often did, the conversation swooped and turned into word plays and non-sense! But did we regret the decision to take the San Xil route? Maybe, as the lure of the longer route was the flatter of the two. But we climbed when we needed and rambled through our word games that had started several days before; the word of the day being ‘flutter’.
My partner wasn’t feeling very well today but he kept going; in the end, I almost dragged him onto Sarria.
Some of the old town in Sarria is lovely but that is uphill and we knew that this is what faced us in the morning.