Camino, Day 28, la Portela de Valcarce to Hospital, plus horses!

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This was my horse, a 12 year old mare who slipped a few times on the rocks, but not nearly as many times as I would.
This was my horse, a 12 year old mare named Bonny, who slipped a few times on the rocks, but not nearly as many times as I would.

Day 28, la Portela de Valcarce to Hospital, 22k (10k on horseback)
April 28, 2016
This morning we were up early and out before 8am because we had an appointment about 7k down the road. We allowed enough time to stop for a quick breakfast (for those, unlike me, who can eat in the morning). We walked to Herrerias to meet Victor Echevarria at Al Paso stables. That’s right. Our preferred way of climbing O’Cebreio is on horseback! We were the envy of the Camino as we sat and let the horses climb the 3,000 feet into Galicia, our last Province. (35 Euros for the horse, 5 Euro for a taxi to take the backpack up).
The 2 hour climb would have taken me 5 or 6 on foot with a pack. Or more. We first followed an asphalt road, but quickly turned off onto an old Roman road, lined with chestnut trees, giant fern and wild primrose. Victor said the trees were planted by the Romans to help feed the slaves in a nearby gold mine. Victor and one of his helpers walked the entire way and rode the horses down. They do this twice most days!

The walk first thing in the morning.
The walk first thing in the morning.
One of the towns this morning had its own castle (in ruins) high on the hill. Can you see it?
One of the towns this morning had its own castle (in ruins) high on the hill. Can you see it?
Saddling up the horses.
Saddling up the horses.
This is what we climbed, about half way!
This is what we climbed, about half way!

After lunch at the top, we added another 5k to an albergue in Hospital.
Warning. WTMI (Way Too Much Information) I know I go on a variety of “adventures” but what most people don’t realize is the tole it takes on my body. This is not a walk in the park and though I enjoy backpacking, my body simply doesn’t. It’s showing the signs of rebellion. First was the morning retching. That started over a week ago. Then actual vomiting in the mornings, so that I can’t eat breakfast unless I want to see and taste it a second time. I can’t consume anything for breakfast except coffee and usually only have whole grain crackers before lunch. Next is mild diarrhea. That hit today. While I can take something for it, what I need to do is listen to my body and rest. Odds are, I’ll be able to jump ahead by bus tomorrow and take a day off while the group catches up.

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Beth

I'm a professional vagabond. I quit my cubical job in January 2014. Since then, I've hiked the Appalachian Trail, The Camino, and taught English in Vietnam, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Mexico and Peru. I'm exploring the world and you can come too!

6 thoughts on “Camino, Day 28, la Portela de Valcarce to Hospital, plus horses!”

  1. Beth, Do yourself a favor and take two days off. You need to rest and have a good meal. Please listen to your body and don’t abuse it. Get some honey and pour some on crackers. Avoid coffee altogether. Drink ginger ale. It will help your stomach. I know the next couple of days are challenging and demanding . Hang in there, I believe in you and I am proud of you. Remember you are almost to the finish line.
    My friend, I am in Madrid and would love to see you before you leave for Russia.

    1. I can eat well, but not necessarily everything I’d like–no gingerale. I’ve taken a couple days off now and ready for the last 5 days of walking to Santiago !!!

  2. Your horse is very pretty! I remember reading about the Lewis & Clark expedition and how they suffered with dysentery because they had no fat in their diet. After eating tallow candles they recovered. Also are you taking multivitamins on an empty stomach? That can make you sick too. I’m sorry this is impairing your enjoyment. Do you think this is your last trail?

    1. I never take vitamins or any medication on an empty stomach. This is what happens when I push too hard. I’ve taken a day and a half off now. Feeling better. Ready to hike to Santiago. Hope to be there by pilgrims mass Friday at noon.
      This probably isn’t my last trail……

  3. Sorry top hear your body is acting up again. That’s no fun.

    With all of the options for doing the Camino, I might have to rethink it. I could totally get into the horses bit!

    1. I don’t know of a service that would let you do the entire trail on horseback, but maybe. We could only hire these for 10k, but it was a seriously steep hill.

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