September 5, 2018
I’m kind of a “party pooper” and a “lightweight” as a general practice. I believe that sleep is extremely important – especially when strength, energy and/or focus will be called upon – such as on The Camino. So, I am usually tucked in between 8:00 and 9:00 – while other pilgrims are eating dinner, playing guitar/ukelele and socializing. I don’t always fall asleep before everyone else comes to bed, but I’m at least relaxing my way to that point!
Last night was the same as most nights – there was a helluva lot of hullabaloo which I did my best to tune out and for the most part did. Eventually my fellow peregrinos came into the room and started shuffling through their backpacks for half an hour, and by 10:00 the room was quiet.
At 5:00 a.m. the “boys” that I have been seeing off and on for the last three days, as well as who were in adjacent bunks to me had an alarm go off, and even though they shuffled for a long time before they went to bed, for some reason they needed to do it again! Since I was rested, I just went ahead and got up! As a result, I was out the door by 5:45 after charging my phone for a bit.
In the long run it was worth it, but after being caught in a torrential downpour for half an hour, having basically no visibility and worring about being killed by lightening, the rain subsided and as the day progressed, the weather became more uplifting. As I reflected back, I thought – if only I had stayed in bed for the additional hour that I normally do, I might have missed that monsoon, bone chilling thunder and “life threatening” lightning!
There are many metaphors on the Camino and one day I will write a blog about them, but today I was thinking about that magnificence and power of God Almighty! The sky was lighting up all around me, and it was just so evident who is in charge! I laid my trust and care in the palm of His hands, and felt secure. However, after an hour of that, I realized I was putting my light show on the back burner – which is kind of a metaphor for how I deal with God in my life sometimes. He’s always omnipresent, all powerful and amazing, but it’s really easy to overlook that and just take for granted the awesomeness and amazing world he has created…
Today was billed us a tough climb, and it certainly lived up to it. In April I walked the “Primitivo” Camino route. When I compared the elevation gain, what I did then was much more challenging. I also scaled the Pyrenees Mountains on day one of this trip and had a couple of other really tough days on this Camino Frances. So my logical brain was saying it was “no big deal”, yet I found that I was approaching the day with much intrepidation!
And my fears were worthy! I had a good three-mile, consistent uphill about a couple of hours into my morning. This was after walking in the dark for two hours, surrounded by lightning, a downpour of rain and inability to see. My raincoat and backpack cover were happy to be employed into service though!
Much of the walk was along the highway again. Once I was able to see after 8:30, everything but the highway was green upon green upon green upon green! And it was so nice to see (and hear) cows, sheep, mules, horses, and mucho gatos (lots of cats)! As I ascended into the hills, my vistas were amazing and spectacular beyond words!!
Today I left Villafranca del Bierzo and traveled through Pereje, Trabadelo, Portela de Valcarce, Ambasmetas, Vega de Valcarce, Ruitelán, Herrerías, La Faba and Laguna de Castilla before arriving in O Cebreiro.
My legs did get quite rubbery, and I actually even encountered some remnants of snow! Seven hours after beginning, I was very happy to make my way into the town I had chosen to stay in, O Cebreio. Day 26 of walking, 28.6 kilometers, 17.8 miles. It was an entrance into Galicia, after passing through Laguna de Castillo, the last town in Castilla. I have been into the Galician region on my previous two Caminos, and have so been looking forward to returning – not only for the surroundings but the food as well! I got into town an hour before my albergue opened, and just as the entire area was getting socked in with fog. I was second in line with my backpack, and it gave me just enough time to get into a local bar and have my first DELICIOUS bowl of Caldo Galicia!!!! Yum, Yum, Yum, YUM YUM!!!
From here on out my days will be under 27 kilometers and I am very happy about that!!!