Sunday, 21 April 2013

Ponte Ulla

Today I was meaning to go a bit nearer to my goal than in fact I managed. It´s an easy walk until the last bit, but that involves climbing 200m within 4 kms. As a gang of other walkers were sitting in the sunshine lunching late at the bottom of the hill, I joined them: the lunch was a good one, especially the fish - you can tell we are getting nearer the sea. Generous quantities of wine were thrown in, and that made it an easy decision to stay the night in a room above the restaurant. I´m not the only one to change their plans, and reserve the steep bit for the fresh air of the morning: we should still be in Santiago by early afternoon.

Ponte Ulla is a small town on the North side of quite a sizeable river. I´m sitting not far away from the end of the (local) road bridge, and can see the motorway bridge high above, further upstream. Downstream, the view is dominated by two even more enormous viaducts, one for the original railway (still very much running) and the other for the rare AVE trains that thunder by occasionally between Santiago and Ourense (rarae aves indeed - I haven´t heard one all day).

There´s been plenty of real birdlife on this Camino, especially since entering Galicia. As usual I find I don´t know many of the names, but more often than not I´m woken at cock-crow. The cuckoo is omnipresent. I´ve seen hawks and heard woodpeckers at work, and then of course there are the cranes. So, what with that and all the varieties of animals, trees and flowers, I have enjoyed these three weeks plus as much for being in the natural world as for anything else the pilgrimage has brought me.

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