The day started foggy but cleared up and got warm. It was a pleasant walk down to the newly-opened albergue at Diomondi. Well, it is open after a certain time of day, at least if arrangements have been made. I passed by in the morning, so paused to appreciate the exterior, but couldn’t get to see the interior of the former bishop’s palace. Oh well. I tend to the attitude that when you are on a pilgrimage to Santiago, you need to keep moving westward and not worry too much about whether you have properly “done” all the sights.
The day was most notable for its long and hard descent to Belesar and the very scenic views of the Minho River. I think the boat excursions on the river, and winetasting tours, would be fun to do with a companion.
Having reached river level, I was faced with a steep climb back up on the other side. There was a bench to rest in preparation, and an old guy told me I’d be fine if I took it slowly. So I did and I was. But it was hot!
I walked alone all day and found the Hotel Vilaseco (I had made a reservation by phone yesterday) in its glory all by itself on an open hillside. Nobody seemed to be around, except for a guy using a weed eater off in the grounds, but there was one car in the large parking lot. After awhile the weed eater guy noticed me, turned off his equipment, and came over. Manuel proceeded to check me in and we agreed that 8 pm would be perfect for dinner.
I was the only guest there. I had a 10-bed albergue room to myself, including bedding and towels. There were 2 more similar rooms, lounge and good bathrooms!! This was all in the albergue section and there were normal hotel rooms as well (very nice, as I got a glimpse.
Dinner was excellent – a plate of the best embutidos I’ve had (3 kinds of sausage and an interesting cheese, all locally made), steak and fries, wine and dessert. All well worth whatever it was that I paid.
In the morning, a good breakfast (i.e. ham, cheese, fruit, OJ, toast, etc.) was laid out for me alone. Manuel and I discussed the state of the world and the Camino Invierno.
I highly recommend the Hotel Vilaseco, in part because it evens out the stages at comfortable lengths.