. . . a tough first half . . . 18 km to Ixco . . . late start due to porridge, philosophy and photos with Sergio and Juan . . . a gentle stroll through town before 9, saying hola to locals and hearing buen' camino in reply . . . then a kilometre steeply up to Rocaforte, with notices warning there is no more drinking water until Ixco . . . down the other side, stop to strip off to t-shirt, take a drink . . . whoops, forgot to fill the bottle . . . just a quarter full, plus the flask . . . hey ho, it's not summer . . . on we go, up and down, the path muddy and puddly in places, made worse by grazing cows and sheep . . . it seems either we have avoided the rain or it has avoided us . . . either way, I am grateful . . . four and a half hours later, Izco . . . pelota court, albergue, bar closed . . . a young woman arrives, opens up, cafe con leche . . . a rest outside in the sun . . . ten km to Monreal . . .
. . . which turns out to be much easier . . . concrete road over compensating for the muddy track and a slog through fields . . . in high summer it would be interesting . . . In Salina, two benches facing the sun and a welcome rest after 8 km in 45 minutes . . . the last 2 km into Monreal a dry woodland track . . . maybe it helps that it's near the end, but I reckon the energy of the trees helps too . . .
. . . Sergio already at the Albergue and Josep. from Barcelona arrives later, having covered 40km from Undues de Lerda today . . . but no sign of anyone running the place . . . nor bars or shops open . . . a sign says there is food at the bar later . . . if not it will be porridge and honey again . . .