For many Christians around the world - Sunday begins with Holy Mass or a church service of their choice - up early - church at 8:00 or 10:00 - out for breakfast - the reminder of the day to relax - gather with family or friends - watch a game - or what ever strikes one's fancy. On the Camino that does not happen. In the part of Spain that we are walking through - church seems to happen either late morning around 11:00 or in the evening at 7:30 or 8:00 - so on Sunday - you do what peregrinos do - you walk. Rising at 6:30 in the morning - after a very restful night at the Albergue de la Piedra in Villafranca Del Bierzo -we said our "buen caminos" to room mates Beatriz and Jorge and to Lydia - the very kind lady who runs the albergue and started out on today's trek. The goal today O'Cebreiro - 30 kilometers away. Knowing our knees and feet - we knew that we would not complete the entire trip - especially since the last 10 kilometers involved an up hill walk gaining some 700 meters (2300 feet) - a lot more than we even wanted to consider.
Starting Flat Alongside The Highway
Peaceful Walking Following a River Stream
The sound of running water was very peaceful and helped to make the morning a very comfortable walk despite the discomfort in my shoes.
Mountain Wall Across the Road
At 10 kilometers We Arrived Here
Today's walk offered 3 options - the "normal path" through mountain tracks with all its natural wonder - translated - rocks in the path and challenging - a "difficult path" - only for those willing to endure even more challenges than the normal path - and a third track - mostly on flat ground with gentle up and downs. We chose the third option - our goal to get to Santiago - not kill ourselves in the process. It is interesting to note that somewhere before the 10 kilometer mark - our feet and knees stopped hurting - so much that we decided to keep walking as far as we could reasonably go.
14 kilometers - Still Going Strong
My Translator Says Free Zone Without Murder - Looking For Legitimate Translation
Entering Galicia Mountain Region
At this point we needed to take a break - we had completed 20 kilometers by 11:30 and were feeling good but not looking forward to the last 10 kilometers - the steep incline promised to be more than we should attempt - what to do? As we were walking we came to a cafe and on its awning it said - food - drink - taxi. Yes - we asked for all three and the young lady behind the counter provided all three. We had to wait for forty-five minutes - but in the end we arrived in O'Cebriro - still alive and breathing!
Awesome Views Ahead
O'Cebreiro Is A Popular Tourist Attraction
More Mountain Views
One of the attractions to O'Cebreiro is Iglesia de Santa Maria Real - one of the earliest surviving buildings on the Camino de Santiago - dating from the 9th century and associated with the Pilgrim Way. On display and venerated by pilgrims is the chalice and paten associated with the miracle of O'Cebreiro Santo Milagro - in which an arrogant celebrant of Holy Mass - dismissive of a devout and humble peasant - saw the bread and wine turn into the body and blood of Christ as he offered them to the peasant who had risked life and limb to attend Holy Mass in a terrible snowstorm.
The church also marks the burial place of Father Don Elias Valina Sampedro who did much during his life to restore and preserve the integrity of the Camino route - it was his idea to mark the route with the now familiar yellow arrows.
Burial Site Inside Church of Father Sampedro
Santa Maria Church
Evening Holy Mass - 5:00 - Followed by a pilgrim's dinner - writing today's blog - now to find wi-fi And get this posted. In this remote area wi-fi is scarce so may not be able to post until later.
Looking For A Room
Another Camino day - a lot of walking - making it to our final destination - 151 Kilometers to Santiago - we are in good shape. Tomorrow - another day - another adventure.
Dale and Arlene