Camino de Santiago

Day 39 on the Camino de Santiago: Herrerias to Fonfria

Today was trail walking through the county-side nearly the whole way. And much of it was close to good old New Zealand tramping. If you’ve ever done it, you’ll know what I mean – uphill, steeply, on uneven ground. It was exhilarating, and challenging.

The path towards O’Cebreiro

The path took us through small settlements where we had the chance to see farming practices up close.

Farmhouse along the way

This cow and her calves are protected from the elements in their stable beneath the farmer’s house.

As the climb went on and on I may have complained – ignoring the fact, not for the first time, this was all my idea. 

John turned around to see me wiping the sweat from my eyes. It was dripping off me like rain, so much so I considered pulling the waterproof skin over my camera – except that would have meant stopping. And if I stopped, there was a risk I wouldn’t go again. 

Why is this harder than the climb to Orrison I grumbled. I should be fit by now. It’s only an elevation of 600 metres. 

John offered to carry my pack – brave man.

Let me tell you what I told him … except here I’m a little more polite about it: “I’d have to be on shredded knees before that’s an option.”

It all began to seem worthwhile as we neared the top, and crossed into Galicia.

We’ve arrived in Galicia

At O’Cebreiro, the first village in Galicia and our lunch stop, the satisfaction of having done it made up for all the hard work. After a brief study of our guidebook, over a rejuvenating bowl of garlic soup, I realised we’d climbed further, faster than we did that very first day to Orrison. No wonder it hurt – a bit.

Garlic Soup – yum!


As for O’Cebreiro – it was, well, odd. Picture us – in a bit of a lather, able to breathe in gasps, in clothes that, remarkably, are still holding together after 38 days of wash, dry, and wear. Picture others in designer leisure wear, cheeks not ruddy from exertion, carting collapsible stools, on which they had sat while they took in the view, to their waiting taxi. 

O’Cebreiro in a quiet moment!

As well as the view the tourists had come to check out the unusual architecture; that, or the crazy Peregrinos who walk for weeks to get there.

Typical building

I set off from O’Cebreiro with a skip in my step – the worst was behind us. From the guidebook it looked as if it would be level going the remainder of the way. 

I should have known better. Anyone who has sidled along a ridge line at home would know better. 

Yep, this hike in the mountains had a sting in its tail. The walk was undulating with uphill grunts which hurt, a lot.

But the reward was in the views.

Looking back towards O’Cebreiro

And in the opportunity to play the fool at the top.

John at Alto de San Roque

Crossing into Galicia, somehow, marks the beginning of the end. It’s the last province of the Camino. And although we have a week or more of walking ahead of us the conversation in the laundry turned, for the first time, to plans for Santiago de Compestella.

To me, with 150plus kilometres still to walk, it seems too soon for all that. 

Tomorrow we will walk to Samos, where we’re taking one, maybe two, rest days. There we might begin to plan the beginning of the end.

Most of all I’m looking forward to a room of our own for a couple of nights. Here in Fonfria we’re sharing a dormitory with about thirty others. 

13 replies »

  1. Oops just did a comment that seems to have disappeared into cyberspace! I commented on what a hero your John is and you answered my comment from the previous comment on yesterday’s post. Wow 150km should be a doddle for you. Enjoy your 2 days in a private room

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a hero your John is. You deserve those days off in your private room and thank you I just asked in my last comment about how far you still have ahead of you. Wow 150km, should be a doddle

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe, just maybe, the next time say “Thank you so much,” and hand the pack over to John. I think when we fight or argue over generosity, our own soul, regardless of the reason for refusing, shrinks just a little.

    The Camino is a teaching tool. That’s why people walk it.


    • Thank-you for reading and commenting on my post, Janet. But for me it’s a “nope” to the points you’re trying to make on many, many levels. And not a discussion I’m going to enter into here.


  4. love the exhilarating and challenging and thanks for sharing with us this farming up close – what a culture rich post.
    and my very favorite picture – for some reason – it was the garlic soup with the bread.
    felt the sustenance – but also reminded me that we can travel to crazy different places and then share common things – like soup in a nice ceramic bowl…

    Liked by 1 person

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