Moonset on the Meseta

Moonset on the Meseta

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 23 on the Camino, past Sarria

There have been some days of rain, but walking in Galicia is beautiful.  Climbing up over O Cebreiro was a highlight, beautiful in the early morning.  Today I walked from Triacastela to Barbedelos.

Yoko, Linnea, and Eva in Villafranca del Bierzo

The day of Foncebadon I met Yoko and Eva and we walked together to Ponferrada.  It has been good to have companions on the walk.

All day rain!

from Faba to O Cebreiro at dawn

Heading up to O  Cebreiro

At Barbedelos with Jean Paul, Marie Christine, and Eva and Yoko and a German man

Another rainy day, but actually very good and beautiful walking. Hip pain went away, whether from prayers you have all be sending or a dose of Eva´s 400 mg ibuprofen. The first pain free day in a long long time. A couple of sore toes on the left foot, otherwise very good, even walking in the rain, and going a long way before a stop for a second breakfast about 11:30 a.m. Even though I mention wine and chocolate a lot, I am really getting a pretty well-balanced diet. A bit heavy on eggs, cheese, and jamon, no doubt, but I guess I am burning up those calories. For an afternoon snack today I had the ubiquitous ensalada mixta, which is lettuce, tomatoes (getting some really delicious fresh tomatoes these days), onion, olives, tuna, asparagus, with oil and vinegar dressing. Occasionally yummy soup. Last night it was macaroni in tomato and meat sauce followed by chicken and potatoes, and ice cream for dessert. What I have not seen on any menu, broccoli, zucchini (although I have seen them growing in the fields), Anyway, I am doing quite well with food, and have pretty much stopped buying and carrying bread and cheese since it is easier to just stop at a cafe or bar, and they come pretty frequently, although today it was a good 12 km before we found one.

We walked through some beautiful woodsy sections today. Some quite steep. Up on stony tracks with mossy stone walls lining them, and huge beautiful old chestnut trees. Sometimes it was quite slippery. At the first bar in a long long time this morning, about 8 km from Sarria, the place was packed with wet peregrinos and their backpacks, all sitting around a long wooden table. It was about 11:30 -- we got a late start, not waking up until nearly 8 a.m. this morning, and nearly 8 before we headed out of Triacastela. Oh, I saw I beautiful great blue heron in a stream just outside of Triacastela. Anyway, when it is 11:30 I am never sure whether it is time for another cafe con leche or beer. So, this morning it was beer and a freshly made tortilla (eggs) with Spanish ham sprinkled on top. Very good.

That got me through the next 8 km to Sarria, where I had ensalada mixta and sampled some pulpo (spicy octopus) off a neighboring diner´s plate. We then decided to continue another 4 to 5 km to this little village of Barbadelos, and to stay at a private albergue, which costs more and is pretty spartan, but has a nice dining room where I hope to have a good supper. All in all, it was a beautiful day of walking. Galicia is very green, unlike the meseta through which I was previously walking.

I have been meeting more of the same people again on the trail and in the cafes -- including the Spanish young men who took my picture. Many people are hoping to reach Santiago by Sunday, which will be 10/10/10. So I suspect there will be an even larger than usual crush of pilgrims arriving. We will see. I think we can easily make that -- 4 more days of walking, whether in rain or not. At least walking in the rain is not hot, except when scaling hills, and there have been a few today. Yoko and Eva and I all get very hot, and end up having to take off layers as we climb up, and then put them back on as it starts raining harder, or we get cold when we stop.

I am sitting here now wearing my fleece jacket and longsleeved shirt, and my fingers are getting numb. I´m ready for a cup of hot tea, but I think I can get dinner in another hour. I am in a room with 14 bunk beds, nice bathrooms down a circular staircase that will be fun to navigate at 3 or 4 a.m. I am in a top bunk next to a window with a beautiful view out over a green valley with a big eucalyptus with birds maybe 50 feet away. I´m going to sign off and climb under the covers -- they did provide an extra heavy blanket -- and look out the window and try to stay awake until dinner time.

Thinking of all of you as I walk. It is good to have found some congenial walking companions -- we are quite an unlikely combination, but get along well.

Our last day of walking -- almost to Santiago!