Leaving the Monastery in the dark, we found navigating our way back to the Camino trail very difficult – this along with wrongly positioned way makers made our first hours trekking rather frustrating to say the he least.

The paths today varied enormously – steep narrow rocky tracks, grassy wood land  sections and towards the end a steep downhill path covered with shale where Mark slipped and rather elegantly did the splits , skinned his Knee cap and landed on his Bum. Ironically this happened moments after he instructed everyone to take care as one false move could result in a problem for us all.

After yesterdays shenanigans with breakfast we were pleased to find a cafe after an hour or so – it was completely deserted as we arrived so thought we would be served quickly. How wrong could we be ….we were greeted with  “Please wait 5 minutes” as a car with 4 Lycra clad cyclists  pulled up outside “they are before you”….she said – a minute later 2 more arrived … then a group of 6 until the cafe was full with what appeared to be the regional Cycling squad. 

Serving her regular customers first  we were relegated to a table outside and after a 20 minute wait we decided to walk back to the petrol station and make a DIY breakfast with Petrol station cheese and croissants, washed down with Orange Juice .

In fact Petrol stations turned out to be quite significant factor for us today …I will come back to this later .

All feeling rather weary after our long hot days trekking  yesterday, our pace slowed somewhat for the last 10Km. Mark fell behind following a short resting stop, he had to retrace his steps – Initially to go back for his walking staff and then a second time to fetch his neck scarf left carelessly on the floor.

We finally  arrived in A Laxe, Tony half an hour ahead found the Albergue and was promptly informed by the host that as it was Sunday everything was closed so the only option was a Pizza takeaway and  apparently only our host could order this for us . Suspicions raised and Tony being a canny Yorkshireman , he didn’t fall for that old trick and with a bit of Googling found a restaurant nearby. 

We quickly showered and changed and almost ran up the hill to secure a table at Tonys restaurant – Richard had phoned ahead and confidently told us it was open until 7pm so we had to get going – when we arrived we discovered it opened AT 7pm  in 2 hours time !

Fortunately a little further up the hill  there was a petrol station with  a rather comfortable air conditioned Bar inside.

The next couple of hours proved to be quite entertaining. Just like the sketch from Faulty Towers where  Basil Faulty kept  popping up playing different roles first at reception, carrying bags , then as a waiter..etc etc.

As we sat comfortably sipping our beers watching events unfold , eating olives and crisps from the petrol station shop we were all captivated by  the rather overweight and very stressed attendant running her self ragged, single handedly serving all and sundry. 

One minute she was the hand pump attendant serving fuel stuffing the cash into her pocket , then she ran back inside to serve a bearded local who was drinking red wine shots at the bar …then back out to help an equally overweight gentleman who’s Mercedes had a flat tyre. A group of bikers turned up all wanting fuel at once then to top it all a coach pulled in but fortunately all the driver wanted was a quick leak .

The attendant worked her socks off whilst getting hotter and sweatier as the afternoon went on.   Being such a large lady we all had to avert our gaze more than once….as she sprinted across the forecourt it was quite clear she had not discovered the under wired bra.

All in all this was quite an education for us ..  we felt almost as exhausted as her by the time we left.

We made our way back to the Albergue for another early night, in just a few days time  having covered over 1000km of the Via de la plata we would be in Santiago.