Camino 2010 – O’Cebreiro (Day 23)

The sum of the whole is this: walk to be happy; walk and be healthy. The best way to lengthen out our days is to walk steadily and with purpose.  Dickens

Well today would be more than a walk – it was a 30 km long climb up 700 m elevation with and an up and down in the middle as you can see below. So we opted for the bus at least part way.

Camino de Santiago J. Brierley c. 2009
Waiting for the bus in Villafranca

We knew that today would be difficult. In the refugio last night we started seeing a different group of people. They were extremely athletic looking. Men and women from the Tyrol in Austria, others from Norway. When we asked why they were here they said that they liked hiking in mountains and had skipped the flat parts of the Camino. Interesting we thought!

We took the bus about 30 km on the highway to where the green road connects into O’Cebriero, top right in the adjacent map. We still had about a 4 km hike up a winding highway several hundred vertical feet. It took an hour and we were getting hot again. We made it in good spirits although Dave’s sore throat was making it difficult for him again today. We had met 2 nurses from Ireland at the bus stop and they tagged along too. We could not believe how most others hiked the 30 km and survived to tell about it!  We were now in Galicia – the province that Santiago de Compostella is in.

It was quite windy and fog or clouds would roll in and obscure the view quickly – just like Newfoundland remarked Marie. We had breakfast, looked around a gift shop and relaxed a bit before pushing on again.

Dave’s friend Pekka sent him this pose

We continued hiking on a flat plain for about 10 km stopping often to enjoy some gorgeous views. There were lots of small farmyards that we walked right through. As in England, public hiking trails have existed since antiquity. Farmers cannot bar the public from hiking through their land – even when the path goes right by their barn it seems.

Then it was steeply downhill again. After about 15 km we took a cab for the last few km and checked into the private 27 bed Refugio El Oribio in Triacastela. The first person we run into there is Pastor Dick from Arkansas. We spent a pleasant evening catching up while recouperating from the strenuous day. We also met a nice lady from New Zealand. Plans were made to meet up with Dick in the morning. Dave did not sleep that well and he was still coughing a bit.

Pastor Dick

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