Day 25 – O Cebreiro
I slept well last night but I woke up with a bit of a head cold. Thankfully, I was able to shake it off through the day.
We had a simple breakfast in the albergue that consisted of the standard fare: pan, chorizo, oranges, cream cheese, goat cheese, and juice. Then we slung our packs and merrily headed off into the street of Pereje in search of some café con leche. Shortly after leaving Pereje, the highway merged with another and we found a motor stop with diner. We settled down with some café con leche and packaged pastries. We chatted over the warm, slightly frothy cups and looked over the sale racks of old CDs and the guidebooks which were several years out of date. Just outside, we noticed a scale. Keith, and I decided to weight ourselves and found that Keith has lost a lot of weight and he noted that when Alice sees him she is going to kill him. He’s going to try to increase his calorie intake. I, on the other hand, haven’t lost anything. I console myself with the idea that muscle weights more than fat. 🙂
Keith and I headed out off at a common pace, which is somewhere between his normal pace and my normal pace. We came upon a nice little pilgrim’s statue of Santiago, so we sat for a few minutes, refilled our water, and took some pictures of the statue. We then continued along the Way which followed the road; which wasn’t too bad as the terrain on the side of the road was lush and green and we passed several babbling brooks. We also came upon an incredibly huge bridge that spans over a wide valley. It was so very, very high. Spain has gone through a boom in infrastructure due to EU equalization payments. Very impressive bridges, but I don’t think I would be very comfortable using one…
We made good time through the mist and the intermittent bouts of light, drizzly rain, and when we arrived at Las Herrerias we were feeling good. We stopped at a nice place that had a terrace overlooking the countryside. We sat on the terrace and had two infusión de menta each and we shared some Kit Kat bars. By the way, the Spanish seem to love Kit Kat bars, you will find them in almost every mercado, café, and bar. It was a very pleasant break and we stayed put a little longer than we normally would. We asked the café owner about the antique forge that was supposed to be in Las Herrerias. Unfortunately, it is apparently no longer in town. No one even seemed to know exactly what had happened to it. Oh well, no pictures for Pedro.
After the refreshments, we left Las Herrerias and started the steep climb to La Faba; which is a three-hundred metre elevation change in a relatively short four km. It was however, a lovely walk. We could have taken the alternative route that stays by the road, but Keith and I wanted to get back into the countryside. The path was a bit muddy in spots but it was pleasant and there were lots of bird calls and a happy, whistling Keith. Some areas were very rough going and we had to resort to handholds to get ourselves up in some spots. We also had to stop a few times to catch our breath. But it felt so very good.
We snaked our way up to La Faba where we stopped for a pop and some crisps and we met Mette and Chris. I gave Mette a big hug as I haven’t seen her in a while. I was pleased that she was still wearing my shell. They have been traveling together for a while now. Chris’ pace matches Mette’s pace and he has done the Camino before and she pointed out that he was a good guide. I think he mentioned that he is an Englishman living somewhere in Ireland. We sat with them and chatted a bit until it was time for them to head off. Keith and I had a second pop and the nice lady who was running the café was kind enough to fill our water bottles which we had used up quenching our thirst on the last four kilometers.
Shortly after we set out from La Faba, we encountered the Galicia marker stone. We celebrated with a whoop, a nip of water, and a photo opp. Finally, Keith and I set off on the last leg of the day to O Cebreiro.
O Cebreiro is a beautiful place of lovely stone buildings nestled on the top of a mountain. We did a little shopping in the gift shops; and we a bit surprised by the amount of Celtic symbols we found. It brought home that fact that the Galicians and the Irish share Celtics ancestors. Even the music playing in the shops sounded Irish to my ears. Our purchases done-a necklace for our wives-we moved into one of the restaurants to dry off and warm up. We were pretty wet by then, and we peeled off layers and hung our ponchos and fleeces to dry on a banister. We had some cerveza-what, you’re surprised?-and we shared some pan and pulpo. Ok, Keith had the pulpo and I just had a nibble, I’ll stick to the calamari from now on. We finished it off with some more infusión de menta.
Peter, Morag, and Danny showed up to our cheery greetings and we decided not to walk any further today and to stay here. We walked over to the albergue which is very nice; modern, nice kitchen, good showers, and a decent laundry. I did the group laundry, we lay back a bit and relaxed, and then we went on walkabout. We visited the Church of Santa Maria, which has a wonderful feel and some pretty architecture. We sat scattered in the pews quietly for a while. Then we gave wandered the church, took some pictures, and admired the reliquary. A miracle was supposed to have taken place at that church in the 14th century when a peasant braved a snowstorm to get to the church in order to hear mass. The priest criticized him for coming so far just for a little bread and wine. At which point the bread and wine literally turned into flesh and blood and the carved bust of Mary on the wall turned its head to view the miracle. I believe that Pope Innocent VIII confirmed the miracle in 1487. The remnants of the flesh and blood are housed in the reliquary. The reliquary itself was given to the church by Queen Isabella, I believe.
Finally, we set off for supper and we scored a nice table on the second floor of the restaurant in a windowed alcove that had a beautiful view of the valley below. The views from O Cebreiro are great. We had a few lovely shared family plates of pasta and lomo, lots of pan, and some lovely wine. Finally, tired and sated (have you noticed a pattern here…), it was time to bed.
Soundscape: Stream and Birds
Soundscape: Whistling Keith