Outdoor Passion

Crossing Borders, Day 9, Last day, Santiago de Compostela

Waking up the day after in Santiago de Compostela, my first instinct was to get ready for another day of running. I was trying to remember the distance for the day when it dawned on me that I was not going to run this day because I had arrived to Santiago de Compostela!

A mixture of joy and sadness came upon me. Happy to have reached my target, but also sad because it was over for this time. I did my morning routine of going through everything and then getting ready. Still it felt different, no running.

Feet were feeling ok, blisters under control. No muscles torn or ligaments hurting. But I did have a funny way of walking on my stiff legs.

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Busy streets and pilgrims arriving all the time. I was struck by the fact that there were so many people and all very happy. We ran into a group of singing wanderers just arriving. Beautiful voices and lovely people.

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The center of all activities were in the old part of the city. Many small streets full of people visiting, arriving and also some leaving to continue on their journey. Amazing contrast to be in such a crowded environment after being alone out on the path for eight days.

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Seeing the basilica in daylight was impressive. It was huge! Wide building and tall towers. 220 000 people from all over the world wall, ride or bike here each year. Not always a spiritual reason, but all with one thing in common, to reach this church.

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Inside there was the golden centerpiece with the figure of St Jacob in the middle. Behind it was a small passage where the people could enter to embrace or hug him for a blessing. On the sides of the church there were many chapels for prayer and contemplation.

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Time to go to the Pilgrimage Office with my credential. The woman behind the counter asked me why I had done this journey, ’Was it as a physical challenge or more of a personal or spiritual reason.’.I told her about the adventure, Crossing Borders, running the Camino Primitivo and about the fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders. I thought of all that I had experienced and seen and concluded that it was both reasons. She went through my stamps in the credentials, verified the dates and places. Then she signed a certificate for me and Congratulated me on the conclusion of this journey.

There it was, the official completion of my expedition. It was now officially approved!!

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Outside again, smiling, time for lunch and to celebrate the completion of Crossing Borders’ objective to reach Santiago de Compostela in 10 days by trail running the 330km Camino Primitivo. I managed to do it in 8 days in a safe and controlled manner. Felt great!!

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A full day of rest and recuperation was much needed. Much more than I was aware. That evening I slept well. Next day we left to go back home. The adventure was now officially over.

So grateful for all the encouragement and support, which I have received before, during and now after my expedition. The donations to the fundraiser have been heartwarming. These are much needed for the work of Doctors Without Borders. Thank you!! Wish I could hug you all!

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And remember if you want to go to Santiago de Compostela, just follow the yellow arrows and the sea shells. Buen camino!!

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Presentationsteknik.com – Supporting sponsor till Crossing Borders

Goda nyheter! Riktigt kul att få presentera  Presentationsteknik.com som är med i projektet som supporting sponsor. Har lärt känna dem senaste året och de är riktigt vassa på just presentationsteknik. Bra bolag med bra värderingar.

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Vi på Presentationsteknik.com är stolta över att under sommaren ha sponsrat Fredrik Hjorth som, istället för att slappa i hängmattan, har genomfört en makalös bedrift. Under 10 dagar har han sprungit de 30 milen som utgör Camino Primitivo i Spanien, drygt 7 maratonlopp! Allt i syfte att samla in pengar till Läkare utan gränser. 

Under snart 10 år, har vi på Presentationsteknik.com samlat några av Sveriges främsta utbildare, föreläsare och coacher inom ämnena Presentationsteknik och retorik. Grundare till sajten var 2007, David JP Phillips som fortfarande är fullt aktiv och jobbar nu med stort fokus runt om Europa men genomför även enskilda uppdrag i Sverige.

Crossing. Borders, Day 8 – Melide to Santiago de Compostela

I had estimated about 53km and about 1 000 height meters between where I was and my final destination, the. Basilica in Santiago de Compostela. Arriving to Melide on day 7 was good and Ieft me with 3 days to complete my expedition.

Sabrina, was going to arrive in the evening by car, so if possible I wanted to meet up with her in Santiago de Compostela. However, If I felt that I would need to stop on the way, then there was always Saturday to make the last distance. I had a plan.

I had sore muscles, I was tired and the feet needed attention. I cleaned the area around the blisters and put on Compeed. Put on a clean t-shirt, a pair of clean socks and switched to shoes more suitable for both trail and asphalt running. I felt the energy as I set out.

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From Melide the camino connected with the French Way (the most famous one) and I quickly found myself on a new type of trail with wider and much more prepared paths.

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More people , groups and bikers on the road here compared to where I had been running the previous days on the Camino Primitivo. Also more possibilities to eat and drink on the way.

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The weather was good, potential rain and cool air. Perfect for running. i pressed on and focused on covering the first 14km to Arzúa, where I had decided that would stop for something to eat.

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The forests I passed all had a similar look to them. Felt like being in a mythical place or in a fairy book. Then every now and then someone offering something to drink or wishing me a good day.

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I stopped as planned to have lunch. Legs were tired and the feet too. i set out to my next check point, O Pedrouzo, 19km away. On the way a biker passed me and then a second one. A minute or two later I heard a runner behind me. He came up next to me and we started talking while running. As it turned out, His name was Victor and they were from Brazil and the bikers, Thais and Raphael, were his support team. Their team is called Correndo no Mundo. Really friendly guys and it was good to have someone to run with for a while.

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They stopped, we exchanged contact details, wished each other the best and then I continued onwards. More forest and the path winded up and down over the hill sides.

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I kept going, walking uphill, running downhill and keeping the running at low intensity. Mixing the two was good for the legs and for my head. I was getting tired and my thoughts were moving slower and slower.

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Drinking and adding energy by eating dates and nuts became the routine. I kept smiling and going with my focus set on reaching my target.

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I continued and i could feel that the rain was about to start. I stopped to put on my rain jacket. All the other things in the backpack were inside a waterproof bag. The air was getting much cooler.

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I continued in the rain and passed another hillside with less than 10km left. More fields of corn. I passed the airfield of the city and continued. Not far now!’, I thought.

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But the running was slow and my feet were complaining. I had no shooting pain, so I focused on technique and on reaching the Basilica. The sun set and I turned on my head light as I pressed on. Still raining.

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I passed through the last village on a hill where I stopped for a quick coffee and a bottle of water at a bar. Yet again, lovely people and the cheered me on. I was close now, 4km. It was cold and as long as I moved I was fine.

I entered the city, followed the shells engraved in the pavement. Right by the old town I met Sabrina, who had backtracked the shells to meet me. It was great to have a welcoming committee come and meet me! Extra energy again, one more kilometer to go!

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We walked together and I know she asked me many things, but my brain was not responding. I was just focused on getting to the plaza in front of the church where I could shoot of the last satellite position from my satellite tracker on top of the backpack.

We reached it, I sent out my position, verified it was received and The journey from Oviedo had come to a close.

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A total of 330km and 8 300 height meters in eight days. Still have a hard time believing it. So many impressions, encounters and experiences.

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We went to a restaurant nearby for something to eat, drink and to celebrate the completion of the adventure! I entered with the gear on, but i can assure you that hat and lamp were removed shortly after this picture.

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I am not sure what I drank, but Ido remember the dish, yum! This concluded this day before a night of well deserved rest. Thank you all for support during the day and all encouraging messages!

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Arrived!!

I arrived to Santiago de Compostela last night before Midnight! I was received by Sabrina and she joined me for the last kilometer, which felt like forever. Legs heavy but still willing to move forward.

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Then in front of the basilica, off with my backpack to send the last GPS coordinate via the satellite tracker for this adventure.

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In total I have covered 330km in 8 days!!

During the afternoon I received reports from the fundraiser, Doctors Without Borders had posted an article on Facebook, which received many positive comments! People sent in donations and sent me messages. What an energy boost!!

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I will publish my report from this day (day 8) tomorrow.

Crossing Borders, Day 7 – Lugo to Melide

My plan was to leave Lugo mid day and to reach Melide this day and I knew that I had a tough day in front of me. I was fearing more asphalt on the way. Energy and water was fine, as well as where I could replenish my supplies and have something to eat.

This day I did 53km and about 1 000 height meters.

Weather was warm, 23 degrees in the shadow. The hot weather training came in handy and I knew How my body would react. I just had to be disciplined with drinking.

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Legs were heavy and I started to make my way down out of the city. i quickly reached the countryside and the views became more open like in Asturias. Lots of green!

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How do you mentally handle that you have more than 50km in front of you? I divide it into small targets of 2, 3 or 5km. I use the same method whatever distance I run. First target is to reach 5km, then a place for a coffee around 9km. Then I compare what I have left with other distances during the adventure. I eat a date every two km and I have small routines going on to keep my mimd occupied. Then after half the distance I start a count down.

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And above all, smile! If it starts raining, then a loud ’Yes!’ Is so much better to keep the spirit high instead of a quiet ’no…’. Counting smiles, not miles and enjoying the moment is the best medicine. Of course there are hard times, but they are easier for me to cope with when I smile inside.

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The path took a turn into the forest, most welcome with the cool air in the shadow from the trees. The green tunnels has become a signature of the camino. Magical.

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Inside the forests the paths were mostly gravel or trails. Outside it followed roads more and more. Hard roads. Feet started to hurt and a burning sensation became apparent under the front part of my left foot.

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The views helped to make me keep my mind set on the destination and all the messages and encouragement from all of you were an energy boost. Smiling and onwards sticking to the plan.

There was an option between a short and long scenic route along a Roman road. In my condition. I decided that the shorter would be wiser today. I looked at the map, i knew where to go. Yet I ended up taking the longer route. After reaching the next intersection with the camino again I stopped for a proper break to fill up in energy, minerals and liquid.safety first! I turned out of the village onto a field.

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Into a forest again and a hill. Ireached a village and while having something to drink and some crisps I met Mapi and her dog.

I walked with them across the mountain side to Hospital de las Seixas and realized that she was the friendly person mentioned in the guide book. Great person and had I not taken the wrong turn, we might not have met.

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I said goodbye and continued, i still had another 12km to cover until I reached. Melide. The views helped and just one more uphill climb and then downhill all the way.

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Sun started to set and. I picked up my pace. Left foot had a burning sensation and legs were tired. Just a little longer and then rest.

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I arrived to. Melide and passed through town to where. I was staying. Tired and happy when I arrived. Big smile!

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Shower and checking feet. One blister under the front part of the left foot. Not broken, which was good. A small one in the right foot on the same place. I would tend to these the next day. A late dinner before sleeping.

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Camino Primitivo, Crossing Borders, English, Haglöfs Adventure Academy, Outdoor Passion, Spain

Crossing Borders, Day 6 – O Cádavo to Lugo

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The main impression is that the closer I come to Santiago de Compostela, the more they have paved the path with asphalt. If there is one thing I fear, then it is asphalt under my trail running shoes. The combination after a few hours is hurting my feet and cause burns and blisters.

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I tried to stay on the front foot and keep the technique, which worked quite well. Tired legs, but no pain in my back. So far no blisters, which is good! Funnily enough I feel my arms tired too. No poles today.

This day I covered 33 km and about 500 height meters uphill.

Warm weather and lots of sun, I was literally melting and drank all the time. It is important to have a lot of water and to plan where to fill up. I had checked where I could refill the Camelback and also where I could get hold of things to drink. I mixed in mineral and salt tablets in my water.

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There was one climb and then mostly soft down hill. Nice feeling when. I knew that this one was it for the day.

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The views on the way out were spectacular and boosted my energy. How can all be so green and the sky so blue!

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Following the shells is easy when you see them. However, more than one pilgrim has walked straight by without seeing them when they are really tired. This has happened to me more than once during my camino and. I know it will happen again. Good thing is to have a map and a compass. This way it is easy to navigate and get back on track.

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I kept a god pace and took the opportunity to stop for a proper lunch in order to fill up for the energy deficit I have been feeling building up. Slow pace and walking uphill is my thing.

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The hard surface under my feet started to push through the shoes. Kept my mind on positive thoughts and the cheering in from friends and family was really helpful.

I passed through many villages and the locals were so nice. Always with a ’buenas tardes’ or a ’buen camino!’. I wish we were more like this at home. Like the openness and happiness of this country.

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The path left the road to turn into tunnels of green forest with cool air. Every time i was grateful and enjoyed each step on the softer ground under my feet.

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Two villages had vending machines, very appreciated! I stopped at both places for a drink and something salty to eat. Perfect timing since it was almost 15km between the bars on this stretch.

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I passed fields of corn as I approached Lugo. Soon done for the day. Felt that the body needed to catch up on the rest from the tough effort since Friday, six days of continuous running does have an effect on my physique and the psyche.

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Arrived and happy as can be! It is the same feeling as after completing a long race. There is a joy mixed in with almost crying. A warm deep joy inside. Especially since I know that. I am not just doing this for myself. There is a higher cause to help,others in need.

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So after a much needed shower, washing of clothes, I got the biggest hamburger I could find. Then some blogging and catching up on Facebook before I turned off the lights.

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Camino Primitivo, Crossing Borders, English, Haglöfs Adventure Academy, Outdoor Passion, Spain

Crossing Borders, Day 5 – Castro (Grandas de Salime) to O Cádavo

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The days are beginning to merge into one long journey and memory. Being in motion all day, eating, preparing the gear, sleeping, writing a report and then out again to the next destination. Thank you for all your engouraging messages, they are needed!!

And thank you for participating in the fundraiser! This is a pure boost of energy when I see the donations come in. Keep it coming and together we can help make a difference.

This day I covered 49km and about 1 500 height meters.

I was the last one out and Nicole at the Albergue in Castro made me breakfast and then saw me off. Such great people!

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As I set out the sky looked like there could be rain. Not a real problem, but it would slow me down.

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The rain never fell but I did get a nice and cool wind for a while. Very welcoming since this would be a long way. I started up again and the legs started to complain. Mostly the right ankle, but with care and some stretching I managed to keep it happy.

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On the other side of the hill, the sky started to turn real blue, azul! Path turning down the hill and I went down the path and ran into Patrick and Magda from Belgium.

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We walked to the next bar and stopped for a coffee and some pintxos. They had been out for more than two weeks and were still full of energy.

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I passed more people from the Albuerge where I slept and we cheered each other on. Everyone is so nice! I caught up with Beatrice, my room mate from the night before. Big smiles and a ’Buen camino!’.

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I continued on and the paths today had a mix of gravel, forest paths and some asphalt roads. Mostly soft ground though.

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After a lunch stop in La Fonsagrada I continued on and encountered a fountain where I refilled my Camelback pouch with fresh and cool water.

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More beautiful views. Bliss..

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In Galicia the symbols of the shells are turned in the opposite direction that in Asturias. Had to pay attention when I got tired.

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Last 5km under way and it took me along these hills, up a ridge and then a downhill stretch into the pueblo. I was tired and wanted to reach my place of rest so much.

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I met a boy and his dog on the camino. In my tired state I associated to the post apocalyptic movie from the eighties with Don Johnson. We walked a bit and talked before I pushed on.

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From the top of the slope I could see the village and after a last push I arrived. Another day completed and still smiling.

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Crossing Borders, English, Haglöfs Adventure Academy, Outdoor Passion

Crossing the border to pass it forward!

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I do this adventure as a part of my final training at Haglöfs Adventure Academy. It is my own expedition, my design and my choice to dedicate it to raise funds and awareness for the work of Doctors Without Borders. I have good instructors at the academy and great class mates, who have all chipped in with directions, knowledge,advice and good ideas.

Many of you are involved in helping others and that is great! My journey here ends in a few days, but those that are in disaster areas cannot go away when they would like.

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I have covered 189km and climbed 5 100 height meters from Oviedo to O Cádavo in 5 days. I consume more than twice my daily requirement for energy and can not keep up the intake of energy.

Still it is worth it as long as I listen to the body and stick to my project plan and risk analysis for the expedition. As my principal at the academy, Ola Skinnarmo, put it, ”Push yourself, but do it safe!!’.

Last night. I had no hunger and had a hard time sleeping. This morning I had a good breakfast and feel the energy coming back. I have a good and fortunate life. There are many people out there in more need of direct help than this swede running the Camino Primitivo.

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My challenge is for you to set aside a small amount to their excellent work. By doing so we all help in making it possible for other great individuals grow up and reach their full potential.

If you donate SEK 100 you can help 14 kids receive malaria treatment. If you donate SEK 200 you can finance 100 doses of measles vaccinations. All the donations are sent to the emergency fund and will be put to direct use where it is most needed.

Join in and share our fortune with those who need a helping hand!

Use this link to be part of the Crossing Borders fund raiser!

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I am off again and today it is 30km to Lugo. Next report from there.

Camino Primitivo, Crossing Borders, English, Haglöfs Adventure Academy, Outdoor Passion, Spain, Uncategorized

Crossing Borders, Day 4 – Pola de Allende to Castro (Grandas de Salime)

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I woke up feeling good! Legs were awake and I looked forward to head out again. Breakfast early and then getting ready before heading out. I noticed that most of the pilgrims left early to enjoy the cool air. Not uncommon to see them leave before 8am. Well I left a few hours later at around 11am.

This day I did 45km and 1 700 height meters. It was a hard but good day.

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I followed the street onto a road and then it took a turn into a forest to head towards the mountain I was going to climb up to Puerto de Palo at 1 146m. That meant a 600m climb and the last 400m in about 3km! What a way to start the day. Poles at the ready!

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The path windled up through the forest and then turned almost straight up. After a hard march up I reached the top and it felt like being on top of the world. Amazing views!

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The path then went straight down on the other side before it turned up on another mountain ridge. The running up here was amazing. I ran on ridges, along the sides and onwards. Bliss.

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I continued and the path went through a forest before opening up and turning downhill. The landscape shifted to rolling hills and fields.

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Passed through a small forest and the path joined the normal road all the way down to La Meza. Here on this road I met a group from my hotel. They had a hard time believing that I did the camino running and that I was going all they way to Grandas de Salime in one day. I stayed with them for a while walking before continuing. Lovely people!

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After reaching the bottom of the valley it was time to go up yet another hill. There is something futuristic about windmills in the middle of beautiful nature. Somehow they fit in, even if they do not belong. Will take more photos of them.

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On the other side I took a wrong turn and had to backtrack to reach the path. Again A friendly local let me walk through her farm and then onto the camino again. Another long descent, I was headed to the river.

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I went down, along the mountain side towards the river. There was a dam, Embalse de Salime, where it was possible to cross, but first I had to get down to cross the river.

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Crossing the dam and then climbing up again on the other side was tedious and hard work. Being on the the main road is dangerous and when going uphill it feels like it will never end. But as a reward I could look back at where I had been. This is the same river as in the previous pictures, and I was up in the ridge on the other side. Up, down and up again.

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Last climb and last stretch to Grandas de Salime. I got away from the road and followed it on the camino through a forest all the way into town.

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Guess who I met there? The group I met on the other side of the river of course. Now they were showered and in clean clothes. I was longing to be in that position. I stopped and talked to them while having something to drink. This is really part of the camino, having time for the people you meet.

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They waved me off with the ’buen camino ,’, and I set out of town to reach Castro where i would stay the night. Started to rain a little so I picked up the pace. I was tired, but soon I would be there. At this ooint I just wanted to be there.

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I arrived late after a long day on the camino. The people there were really nice and got me food and showed me to my room. My roommate was almost asleep so we said ’hola!’ In the dark and introduced ourselves. I tried to sort all the impressions from the day while falling asleep, so many. I did know though that it was another good day.

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