Day 29: Olveiroa, Spain


Day 29
Date: Tuesday, Oct 4, 2016
Start: Negreira
Stop: Albergue Horreo  Olveiroa     👍
Distance (Day/Total): 34/690 km
High Temp: 18 C/64 F

A single thumbs up or down is simply an indication of whether I would stay there again or not.  It is not a recommendation.  A double thumbs up or down indicates that the place was great and I highly recommend it or absolutely awful and stay away.

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Got up at 6:30, grabbed my pack and sleeping bag and tiptoed out to the common room, just outside the dorm.  There was another couple already up and getting ready.  Got dressed, packed, had breakfast and was on my way by 7:15 am.  It’s dark and quiet.  I like this time of the day.  There is a gorgeous sunrise.

I see other pilgrims on the way to Olveiroa but walk by myself.  I stop once for coffee and need to recharge my phone but skip lunch.  Get into Olveiroa at around 3 pm.

Olveiroa is a small farming community, 34 km from Negreira (yesterday’s stop).  It is a logical end of a stage on the Camino Finesterre.  As a result, there are several hotels, B&Bs and albergues in the middle of, seemingly, nowhere.

I stop at the first place which has three buildings – a two star hotel, an albergue and a restaurant.  The check-in for both the hotel IMG_3233and the albergue is in the restaurant.  I see Sue and Rebecca having lunch.  Sameer returned home from Santiago.  They decide to continue on after lunch.  The hotel is full and I get a bed in the albergue.  I’m shown my dorm room.  This is more like it.  About 10 bunkbeds for 20 people squeezed into a tiny room.  The room is half full and will be full before the end of the day.  There are a total of 3 or 4 dorm rooms.  There are 3 toilets and 3 or 4 showers.  Not nearly enough.  I jump into a shower.  It’s setup in such a way that a toilet vent fan blows directly into the shower.  It stinks and I jump back out.  I am in between waves of pilgrims and am able to find another available shower.  It’s still a quick one and return to the restaurant, just in time to see the arrival of the next wave of pilgrims.  I congratulate my timing with a couple of beers.  I write in my journal and review the plan and mileage for tomorrow.  And I talk to several pilgrims.  A lot of Canadians and Germans.

Based on my comments, the 👍 rating for this albergue may be a surprise.  However, this experience was pretty consistent with most albergues in Spain.  They are very much a commercial affair, squeezing in as many people as possible and the service, while not rude, is brusque.  The owners have become jaded by the hordes of pilgrims, some of whom view the camino as one big, moving party and sometimes behave badly.  And when I say Spain, I mean the Frances and Finesterre routes.  Don’t know about the other routes.  The routes in Portugal and France don’t have similar hordes of people.  This is not a criticism of the Spanish caminos, just pointing out a difference in atmosphere.  I’ve enjoyed all my walks but France is still my favorite country to wander through.

I go explore the village but not much to see and return to the restaurant.  Around 6 pm or so, the Swiss nurse who I met two days ago comes strolling in.  We greeted each other like long lost friends.  Common on the camino.  She gets a bed, is going to settle in and we agree to meet for dinner.  She’s also going to invite another pilgrim she walked with that day.  Sounds good.  I visit with other pilgrims, write some more, check the news on my phone and have a another beer.

The Swiss nurse recommends another restaurant in the village, about 50 yards away called As Pias, that she had read about.  It’s a Casa Rural.  It’s modern rustic, looks very nice and specializes in local cuisine, grown locally.  The restaurant is very small and is down to one empty table when we arrive.  Everyone else in there looks like pilgrims.  The menu is very simple (only 4 entrees) and on repurposed wine bottles.  I have the veal stew, which isn’t really a stew as we know it but is very good.  We have a very pleasant dinner.

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Dinner at As Pias, Olveiroa
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