Into The Mountains

August 5, 2021

The city of Ribadeo which we left from today, was founded by Fernando II in 1183 but taken by the French knight Pierre de Vaillanes and not fully integrated into the larger region until the 19th century. We had a view right out our window of “The house – Tower Sierra Pambley”, which really looked like a fort! from a pamphlet received in town, “it was built by Francisca Sierra Pambley, son of a Jacinto Sierra Pambley and Marina del Barco Baraondo and Lexarmendi in 1701. It is a three heights tower built in plastered masonry walls and finished in battlements. It’s most remarkable feature is the balcony on the second floor. The gargoyles at the corners of the tower for the evacuation of rainwater stand out. The name of this architectural element, very widespread in the medieval cathedrals, comes from the French ‘gargouiller’ which means to produce a noise similar to a liquid when passing through a tube (or from the Greek word meaning to gargle)”. It was impressive on the hillside!

Today we bused to our next town of Mondoñado and anticipated walking five miles to our lodging, our trek simply consisting of combining to and from stations.

Yesterday/this morning were our last coastal days with epic views and popular beaches on the Atlantic Ocean. The bus route moves us closer to joining with our other group.

We drove an hour through MORE corn fields, rural villages with vast verdant expanses and lots of livestock. Up, up into the mountains we advanced. Yesterday we walked over the long bridge into Ribadeo, leaving the region of Asturias behind and entering into Galicia, lovingly referred to as “Green Spain”. There is much rainfall in Galicia, and as is the case where I reside in the Pacific Northwest, the result is lush flora and fauna. The kind of beauty I just can’t get enough of!

It was a bit of an uphill walk into the lovely, historical downtown plaza of Mondoñado from the bus station, ultimately through winding streets and opening up to a grand and ancient cathedral! There was a small outdoor market and a good amount of people bustling about. Mondoñado was once one of the seven capitals of the Kingdom of Galicia, its old town has since been declared a national cultural-historic site. “Bronze Age remains have been found in the vicinity, including an alter once used for human sacrifices. Bronze busts of Marcus Aurelius and Hadrian bear witness to the former Roman presence as well. The 13th-century cathedral was declared a national monument in 1902, and is known as the ‘catedral arrodillada’ (kneeling cathedral) for its perfect proportions and short stature. It’s frescos are among Galicia’s oldest, the walnut choir stalls are Gothic masterpieces, and the 5 m rose window is especially stunning on a sunny day.” (from the “Northern Caminos” guidebook).

Our group leader and one of the Wayfinding Academy students went to the hospital as there is concern about a sinus infection and They wanted to get to the bottom of it. Plus too bad, it happens to be that student’s birthday today!

So the other four of us trudged considerably further than we expected, supremely more uphill than we expected, against headwinds and in the hot sun. Actually, the wind had a cooling effect, and the scenery was spectacular! Unfortunately, moods continued to deteriorate, and it became increasingly clear that we were very unsure of where we were going. Since there was only one road with no turn offs and plenty of Camino markers though, it was just a matter of finding our place of lodging. At five miles on foot We stopped at a property that had a sign matching the name of the albergue we were to stay at, but everything was locked up and it looked like no one had been there for at least 100 years!! Plus the update via text from our leader was that they wouldn’t even be done in town until after 5:30 when the pharmacy came off siesta so they could get antibiotics for the confirmed sinus infection. After an hour of individuals hanging out – each in their own combative corners journaling, I went back up to the road because several cars passed us on our way in and I hoped that maybe someone would see a confused pilgrim and stop to help. Two cyclist sped by wishing me a “Buen Camino” and another Peregrina came from the opposite direction heading to a place where she had a reservation and knew nothing about our “Albergue Da Natureza”. I saw a premises down a long driveway a bit further up the road, and there was a car parked in the driveway so I thought to inquire. After five “perros grandé” (BIG dogs) came out separately and loudly barking from different locations, thankfully on chains, I backed right out wence I came!

Just as I came back down the hill after 45 minutes of hanging around at the gate, I saw one of our group going over to a door, taking a key out from under a slate rock, and successfully opening it! And then she proceeded to unlock the kitchen as well as the laundry area which houses two dryers and two washing machines! After a two hours wait we were in!

Groceries were purchased by the two in town on their way by taxi drive to our ancient albergue and finally we had a delicious meal at 7:00 – you’d think we had not eaten in days!!! And our chicken fajitas were followed by lemon cupcakes swathed with Nutella for the Birthday Boy!!! Only two other pilgrims stayed with us in a separate room, both from Spain and of course, extremely fun to hang out with!

We walked from Mondoñedo through Barbeitas, Maariz and Paadin. Buen Camino!

2 responses to “Into The Mountains”

  1. I feel like I always end up walking way more than I expect to during trips! But sounds like it was worth it and with beauty all along the way – and a happy birthday indeed with nutella lemon cupcakes.

    1. Ha ha Ha ha ha, funny how that works! Not always in the moment, though it always feels great upon reflection! Internet is tough to come by on our route, but I enjoyed reading your post about the communication on your honeymoon! And of course your location. Nice writing!

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