Distance: 13.1kms, Steps: 18,687, Time total: 4 hrs.
Mr D was pretty exhausted last night as he snored so loudly for an hour, our hosts must of been kept awake! Last night was such fun. As it was only the two of us, Rodrigo kept calling the dinner ‘Romantic dinner for two!’ Then he even lit up a couple of tea light candles to create a romantic atmosphere. Mr D had joked & asked him, ‘So how long will it take to get up to O’ Cebreiro? 1 hour right?!’ Rodrigo laughed. He didn’t have to say anything. Mr D always has a way of leaving a lasting impression on people! I thought it funny when Rodrigo was saying where he was going at Christman ‘What?’ We couldn’t understand, he goes ‘ho ho ho!’ Right Christmas he meant but he pronounced it wrong with an ‘n’ on the end.
Well this morning Rodrigo slept in. The lovely Giovanna served us breakfast. There was an amazeball sunrise coming up as I went onto the balcony to take pictures & then quickly went back in as it was freezing cold! Giovanna makes earrings out of paper as a hobby & sells them. I quite liked the unusual jewerally & thought it nice to buy a pair that will remind me of this lovely stay. Giovanna was delighted that I brought a pair, ‘Now one of my creations will be in Australia!’ After our hearty pieces of toast & hot drink, we were on our way, Giovanna gave us a hug goodbye. What a memorable visit!
The temperature had dropped low overnight, there was frost on the cars & grasses. It was still pretty damn chilly, but rugged up & with my windproof gloves, I felt warm enough. We made our way through a couple of villages, also pretty, nestled in valleys, still following the river which branched into side streams. Cows bells kept dinging loudly in the fields as they constantly moved & grazed, sticking their heads up & staring as we passed. In one field of sheep I noticed a dog whom thought he too was a sheep, his coat colour was similar to the sheeps as he grazed away with them. We passed Al Paso stables where you can pay to ride on horseback up to O’ Cebreiro.
We had been walking gradually upwards as we continued on road a bit longer until the turn off for hikers to continue up the mountain. Here we entered dense woodland up a rocky steep path with more chestnut trees & more people gathering chestnuts off the ground. The whole way up we had to dodge mounds of horse poop I assumed from the horses that carry people up. The first part was sweaty work but we went nice & slowly until we reached the hillside village of La Faba. We met one American couple there & the bloke was having a laugh & saying, ‘So all that has been said about this climb – where’s the hard part?!’ We stopped in one of the bars for a quick morning tea & rest before continuing.
Onwards we climbed again, the path being less steep & not too bad to walk up. Plus we were now out of the woodlands & had fantastic views all along the valleys & other mountains. I stopped to take pently of pictures. By this stage, we were pretty warmed up & jackets & gloves were off. It was cloudy & cool – a perfect day for climbing a mountain! One bloke from America asked me to take a picture of him. He asked where I started from & then said, ‘Wow! I admire you to be able to walk that far! I’m only doing small sections. Tomorrow I bus further down & walk the last part to Santiago.’ We arrived at the tiny hamlet of Laguna de Castillo where many Pilgrims had stopped for a break. There was only 2 kms to go to the top so we continued. The climb wasn’t that bad at all! Irish Brian had told fibs about how terrible it was going to be, how steep & dangerous the track was & had Mr D worried about the climb all for nothing!
All up, we had climbed an ascent of 620m to O’ Cebreiro which sits at 1,300m high. We passed the sign before the village that says we have left the region of Castilla y Leon & entered the region of Galicia. Another milestone achievement! And we now stay in this region all the way to Santiago about 160kms away now! Once you enter Galicia, there is an immediate change in weather. It suddenly became freezing cold as the temperature must of dropped 10 degrees, with strong winds. Galicia is known for frequent rain showers, thunderstorms & up here, thick mountain fog. There is no escaping the rain now!
We found our accommodation we had booked. Our first stay at a Casa Rural which is like a Bed & Breakfast. The non English speaking lady showed us to our room as soon as she was paid. Very nice place with the restaurant downstairs, you go outside & up a flight of stairs to access the bedrooms. As it was lunchtime, we dropped our stuff & went looking for an eatery. The village is tiny but a popular tourist halt so there were tourists everywhere! They must of just got off a bus. They crowded the walkways & bars which quickly got on Mr D’s nerves. He spotted a restaurant that had no one in it. Yes they serve lunch so we gladly sat in the restaurant all to ourselves away from the crowds of people.
We had a 3 course Pilgrims menu for 10€ each – what great value! We both had Galician soup as we had to try it now we were here! I had fried trout which was a plate of tiny baby trouts fried up whole. There I was expecting one big fried trout on my plate! Mr D had pork chop & then we had cream caramel all with wine & a basket of bread rolls. More people spotted the restaurant & were coming in so it was time to leave. There was a couple of souvenir shops & I had a look, found 2 pairs of nice earrings so was happy with that. The area is reminiscent of Celtic lands & the souvenir shops were very Celtic with their Celtic music playing. Very nice atmosphere here. Mr D went for his afternoon siesta while I walked & took pictures. Damn! This village is so photogenic I could spend all day taking pictures. I quietly laughed as this Italian lady kept bossing her husband around all afternoon, taking photos of him in every spot of the village. The poor man. If I could translate what she said, it sounded like, “Stand there. No! Move over to your left. No! Stand further back there!” And that sums up me when I’m ordering Mr D around for a photo haha! So pretty with the stone buildings some with these roofs made of wood / straw type material & the cobblestone pavements. Yes, I’m so happy to have arrived here. What an achievement so far! The supermercado is so cute hidden beneath the road down some stairs. Everything is so cute here! I couldn’t even say which town is my favourite as there are too many!
And it is so cold, so many more Pilgrims arriving late in the afternoon. In fact, some were continuing onwards to the next village – why would they do that?! Mr D was bored. There was no guitar to play. He came out looking for me just as I spotted the two Alaskian ladies. They had stayed in Vega too & just got here – they went very slow! In fact, we didn’t realise they get their backpacks transported! The one with short hair was saying that she forgot to leave money with her backpack & that it hadn’t arrived. So it might still be in Vega! Well we only see them at towns eating or sightseeing. Never passed them on the track. So they were looking for a hostal place too as the ladies sleeping bag was in her missing backpack so she couldn’t sleep in the cold Albergue without a sleeping bag! We left them to it as we rested in our room which was warmer than outside! We had another 3 course peregrino meal for dinner! We cut out the starters & just had main & dessert. Too much food today. I feel sick from over eating! The two Alaskian ladies also ate in the same restaurant with people they knew – David & Sioux whom I had briefly met earlier outside the souvenir shop. The short haired lady had her backpack delivered so all is well. It is a bit sad not having anyone we know to chat with over dinner now. There is I think, only 5 of us from the 26th of September group left on the Camino. Hard day tomorrow – beat the rain & go down the mountain!