Tuesday, 16 April 2013


Caroline and I stayed a night here five years ago, when we were Interrailing - a great city, with boiling water spilling out from hot springs and a long Roman bridge, which I shall walk over tomorrow. Rather different from our hotel room in 2008, I am sleeping tonight in one of the 18-bed dormitories converted out of part of the old St Francis Convent, high above the Cathedral. And it´s a lot fuller than previous albergues, as quite a number of people start their Camino here: you can qualify for a Compostela (certificate) in Santiago so long as you walk at least 100 kms., and there´s just over that to walk from Ourense.

I remember many phrases often repeated by my late headmaster Fr. William Price when he taught us European history, one being that the climate in North Spain was nine months Winter and three months Hell. We seem to have just crossed the threshold here in Galicia: last Friday was so wet and cold that I was thinking seriously of giving it all up - a thought encouraged by the fact that the albergue in A Gudiña (where I spent that night) was right next to the railway station. But since then the weather has changed completely, the landscape is transformed (you can take in your stride even those bits where you still need to paddle), and today as I walked through the outskirts of the City, I would have done anything for an ice cream.

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