After Astorga it got a bit hilly and I made a lot of use of my first gear. While making the photograph shown below, I accidentally dropped my camera and it bounced several meters down the steep slope. After that the camera said it had found an error with the zoom function. I kicked the zoom lens and than the camera said it was okay.
I am sorry if this is all a bit technical.
A short while later I reached the highest point of the camino, at around 1500 meters. For some reason the engineers had decided to build the road over a steep summit instead of leading it in a more gentle slope around it. While I was gasping for air, I cursed the engineers, their children and all other possible relations they might have. Going down was an enervating thrill though, as I careened past the pilgrims, taking full advantage of my wheels by releasing all the gravitational energy of my uphill struggle upon them.
In Ponferrada nobody had found it necessary to put up any signs, reasoning there were enough people around to give directions. I asked a woman. It’s very difficult, she said. At the next roundabout you have to go left and straight on from there. I wondered what was so difficult about that.
The following day I had to tackle the O’Cebreiro pass, which was lower than the high pass of the day before, but very steep. It was gruelling hard work going uphill. At times I had to push my bike, sweat dripping from my face. In Sarria I stopped for the night. I was now in Galicia and the camino has become the ‘Ruta de Xacobea’.
The following morning I met two South Koreans whom I had briefly spoken before in Burgos. One had a normal bicycle, but the other rode a single-speed bicycle with only brakes on the front wheel. It must have been a knee crushing experience, even if his friend carried all their luggage. We cycled together to Arzúa through the pounding rain.
The last 40 kilometers to Santiago were exhausting with uphill slogs through the never ending rain, and downhill races with my brakes slipping. After finding an albergue, I took a short rest and then I walked into the city where I found the cathedral. Unfortunately, it was being renovated, meaning there was no use of making any photos. I conveniently had forgotten to bring my camera..
The next day I walked into the city and bought an empanada de pulpo (octopus pie). It tasted like a vegetarian spring-roll with some chopped up rubber duck in it. I liked it.