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 took us through small settlements where we had the chance to see farming practices up close.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And in the opportunity to play the fool at the top.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.