A lovely day. Slept well. Up at 8. Tea and off with Peter from Slovakia and his bike. While we walked had an intense but interesting discussion with him about work, and what makes a job satisfying. Work and what people do is not a topic much spoken about the camino as it feels irrelevant. But this talk with Peter was extremely thought-provoking and helpful. I think I was just waiting for Peter to have this conversation. Climbed another 300+ m to 1310 in about 5k. Magnificent views both of the near valley with a tiny creek at the bottom and across to the mountains that separated Ponferrada from the Meseta. Every turn a photo op (excuse to just stop and enjoy). So green! Lots of steep pastures and gardens and woods. Cool, but no frost like the last few days. Walked a bit with Claudio & Katya from the Dolomites in Italy, and when we passed the marker announcing we were finally in Galicia – more photos.
We (Peter, Katya, Claudio, Zoe and I) all met up again in a cafe in O Cebreiro on the top of a ridge for a big breakfast of tortilla, sweet bread, cafe con leche and tea. A photo on the wall reminded Katya and Claudio of their mountains and they spoke some of their home.
Peter then pulled out and shared an amazing cahier that his daughter, Maria aged 17, had made for him as a guide to the camino. She, herself, had just walked the camino in July. Lovely photo of his family, then a poem about how Ithica is not the goal, the journey is, a list of her 10 rules of the camino followed by excellent tips on good albergues, panaderias, historical notes, all emanating a great deal of love. Like Tsuda’s watercolors, the personal nature of the work was very powerful and moving. His sharing it with us gave us a good deal of pleasure, and was so unexpected.
Thought of others who had shared family stories: Guylène, Beate, Maarten, Anna-Maija, Eduardo and how much I love my family.
Off again, now competely on a new side of the mountain with views extending west over several foggy valleys. Suddenly eveything is stone. All of the steep pastures and fields very square and clearly delineated by very straight stone walls or hedges of bushes or trees.
Pass through tiny hamlets with minature stone churches with slate roofs. Most bare stone, but a few painted white. One open, so went in and sat. Repeatedly crossed paths with Daniel from Sweden who is always taking time to just sit at places with amazing views. At noon Peter rang the bell at another small white church.
Walked alone down a gentle incline past belled cows to another very steep (but short) ascent to another ridge with a perfectly placed cafe and I was warmly greeted by those I knew, which is again approaching a good proportion. Sat down with Zoe and Peter for a yummy vegetable soup – green beans, potatos and a new heartier bread – maybe with rye? Very good.
After lunch Peter walked with us a while, but when we hit the road he hopped on his bicycle and coasted away, the plastic bouquet of flowers from his wife tucked prominantly on his backpack. It was a mostly gentle down hill from here, dropping 700m in 15k, through more small towns. (Bought lovely fresh raspberries for a Euro). Much of path between stone walls, and again oak forests. Shaded and gorgeous. Perfect for walking.
Greeted as I approached the albergue in Triacastela by Nando and then Davide (met at Granon) and Antonio. Antonio (the French speaking Italian from San Nicolas) bought me a beer as a reward for making it over the mountains, which I enjoyed after my shower.
Ran into Veera and the Scot Jonathan who are staying at another albergue. Veera had just bought pasta, so invited me and Nando over for dinner after the pilgrims mass/blessing. Our first night as ‘guests’!
Lovely time. Nando and I strolled ‘home’ under brilliant stars in the crisp night air.
18 Oct 2009