Monday, September 16, 2013

The Lord's Day

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

                                                    Village Background
 
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 View



                                       O'Cebreiro Is A Popular Tourist Attraction

                                                    More Mountain Views

                                                    Just Beautiful

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.

                                       Outdoor Marker Stone By Statue

                                    
                                    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.

                                          Side Altar Displaying Chalice and Paten

                                        
                      Saint Francis of Assisi Statue - Church Administered by Franciscans

                                               Village Buildings By Church

                                                             The Village

                                                 Looking For A Room 

                                    Where We Will Lay Our Heads For The Night

                                           Our Room For The Night In Here

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.

Buen Camino
Dale and Arlene