Away by 7:30am and passing over the Romanesque bridge, the first hour or so  was an extremely taxing climb as we left the bustling town of Ourense. In fact the whole day was going to be very challenging; In 30 degrees of heat covering a distance of 30Km and a total assent of almost 3,000 feet in 8 hours –  it was our toughest day yet.

Mark had earlier spotted a coupe of rather delightful morning cafe options for a welcome strength building  breakfast of tostados and cafe con leche , but Richard quickly dismissed his suggestion saying he much preferred to walk a little way before eating and that we would find somewhere else in an hour or so. Tony also tentatively  pointed out a rather appealing road side cafe on the edge of town, he too was given short shrift by Richard – Clearly , after three days as Marks (temporary) stand in blogger the power had gone to his head !

…this would never have happened if Dr John was here. 

Some five hours later, all hungry and still in desperate need of our morning coffee, we finally came to the only bar en route in the middle of nowhere , serving any dish we cared for as long as it was omelet sandwich – beggars can’t be choosers !

The familiar Camino gravel path transitioned into a soft carpet of fresh pine needles covering ancient granite boulders. It is incredible to imagine many hundreds of years ago our fellow pilgrims picking their way through the same undulating terrain as they journeyed to our common sacred destination – Santiago de Compestala – the final resting  place of St James.

The cool, sun dappled woodland glade was a most  welcome break from the midday sun as our gradual decent drew us closer to Oserio. After almost 8 hours walking we reached our destination , the Monastery which had a superbly well appointed  dormitory   and excellent shower  facilities. Mark went ahead to secure bunk beds whilst Davin, Richard and Tony rested their weary legs in the local bar.

After so many disappointing pilgrims suppers so far this year the highlight of our day was an incredible gastronomic evening supper prepared by a very charismatic Galician Chef de patron. (See photos)

Chef  approached our  table and explained the classic Galician menu, taking great pride  in describing the food he was about to prepare for us …Cheese with creamy balsamic vinegar, apricots, pecan nuts and salty Anchovies followed by Rice cooked in black squid ink, baby squid and cured ham – delicious .  Only a Yorkshireman with the appetite of  Tony could some how manage a desert after that – when his beautifully prepared  ensemble of fresh berry fruits and ice cream arrived  we all wished we had ordered the same.

All tucked up in bed by 9pm – Tomorrow would be an earlier 6:30 am start as another hot 30Km day beckons.

Buen Camino !