DAY 23


O CEBREIRO – TRIACASTELA

19 APRIL

21.3km

We’ve woken up early this morning and took our backpacks outside the dorm to pack. Once we’re awake, it’s almost impossible to go back to sleep and that’s normally the sign for us to start walking! I’ve noticed over the last couple of weeks how we did not need an alarm to wake up, but our bodies told us when we were ready to go ☺️.

There were just a few pilgrims in the lobby busy packing and we’ve wished each other “Buen Camino” as we’ve walked out of the albergue.

The Galician region is well known for their rainy weather together with cold and windy conditions. Although there were no clouds in the sky, there was a very strong wind and it was indeed ice-cold. We’ve got all our warm clothes out and we’re hoping that we will warm up during our walk.

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Early morning mist in the valley – accompanied by a very cold wind!

Today, compared to yesterday, should be an easy walk – not too far and also not a lot of up hills … although there is a steep downhill towards the end. I woke up with a sore throat and runny nose this morning … maybe the beginning of a cold?

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Ouch, I thought no up hills today … but just 3km into the walk, we’ve encountered this hill!

At Alto de San Roque, outside Linares (a small hamlet), we’ve seen this statue of a medieval pilgrim – almost look as if he too was struggling against the wind!

Although the sun was out, it was now very cold. It seems Galicia was living up to its reputation! Fortunately (and never thought I would say this), there were a few up hills to get our blood pumping and get some warmth into our bodies!

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Another uphill …

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You could almost crawl up this hill!

I was now, for the first time, wondering about Brierley’s guide book … he only mentioned the steep down hill towards the end of today’s session, but did not say much about these few up hills! Or maybe, we just had enough of walking up hill after yesterday … despite this, we were carried away with the stunning green rolling hills – what a sight!

Beautiful green hills in Galicia

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Turning right to walk through Hospital de la Condesa – the village once boasted a pilgrim hospital (hence its name)

After we’ve been through Hospital de la Condesa we’ve walked past a couple of chickens. Yesterday, we’ve encountered cows, today it was chickens 😁.

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Beware: Chickens crossing the road!

It was starting to change into a beautiful walk … far from traffic, field walking, quiet and the sun was now getting a little bit warmer.

Quiet field tracks with magnificent views around every corner

Now, it’s time for a funny story 😂:

We’ve walked through a couple of typical Galician villages and almost saw nobody … until we’ve got close to Fonfria … in front of us were an old lady busy getting her cows into their stables.

When she saw us, she was waving and speaking in Spanish to us. We’ve tried to tell her that we don’t understand Spanish, but she just showed that we must wait … she ran off to her house and within a minute she was back with freshly baked pancakes in the one hand and cinnamon sugar in the other. Now, it is true that I have a weakness for pancakes (even more so on a cold day). On the other hand, Berto is not that fond of pancakes and not always willing to eat anything “on the street” that was made by someone else. But this old lady was determined – she almost put the pancake herself in our mouths! I was slightly amused by this, but ate the pancake with a big smile.

It was when we’ve said thank you and turned around, that she got hold of us on our jackets and said “Donativo?” So, we had to pay for the pancakes … Berto scratched in our purse for some coins and gave it to her. As we’ve walked away, Berto just shook his head and said: “We’ve just paid R28 for two pancakes”. Back in South Africa, you can probably buy 5 pancakes for this price! I think I’ve laughed until we’ve got to Triacastela 😄

We’ve then reached the decent that winds down steeply. This continued for about 3km until we’ve got to a small café in the woodlands. It was still early, just after 11:00, and we thought a café con leche would be nice. We could also not resist the fresh piece of apple pie … I mean, we’ve had after all sweet pancakes earlier today 😊.

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Café con leche with a warm piece of apple pie – yummy!

When we’ve got to Triacastela, we’ve continued to the center of the town to Albergue Complexo Xacobeo– a beautiful modern albergue. And we’ve shared our room with non-other than the “Three wise men” from Korea/USA! It was really nice seeing them again.

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The beautiful reception area of Albergue Complexo Xacobeo

We’ve had lunch at the restaurant next to the albergue. For the first time I had a taste of the famous Empanada pie in Galicia (it is a savoury pastry or pie that can be filled with almost anything – mine was filled with tuna). It was really nice and in the next few days, we’ve had a couple of Empanada pies!

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Empanada pie – a well known dish in Galicia

It was still cold and for the rest of the afternoon, we’ve spent some time in the sitting area of the albergue in front of a warm fire place, burning for almost the entire day.

Later that evening most of the pilgrims were sitting in the reception area, chatting to each other. We’ve shared a bottle of red wine with our roommates, the “Three wise men”. While we were sitting there, we’ve heard the most beautiful sound coming from outside the albergue. We all went out and saw a young guy playing on his bagpipe. There was a crowd gathering listening to him and some of the pilgrims even joined him with a dance.

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Two of the “Three wise men” joined the bagpiper with some dancing moves

This was, again, a truly “Camino way” of ending our day’s walking.

Categories: Camino Frances (April 2017)

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