Friday, November 13, 2009
On to O Cebreiro and Galicia!
The first part of the path was just along the road, and I stopped at a couple of the little villages I went through - and in Laguna de Castilla I stopped for another rest and a bite to eat. Here I met the guy from Alaska, I had heard about. - We had a nice, long chat about art and life, before I moved on after lacing up my boots again.
Even though I was tired today, after yesterday's long walk I did enjoy the scenery, which was beautiful, especially as the path went off the road and into the mountains. Lots of birds here too!
- I was so happy when I saw the marker announcing I had finally entered Galicia! Soon the lovely village of O Cebreiro appeared, and I found the Municipal Albergue at the other end of the little village and checked into the modern and pleasant albergue!
I really liked it here, on top of the mountains. It was so green everywhere you looked, and O Cebreiro had retained the Galician charm. It was a popular tourist destination I had heard, and I could certainly understand why! I felt like I needed a rest day, and thought this would be a perfect spot to spend an extra day - something to ponder.
I had the pilgrim's dinner at the little restaurant/bar/souvenir shop, and I shared a table with a young Japanese pilgrim. We had a really nice meal together exchanging Camino stories, and he told me a bit about himself. He had studied in Pennsylvania, and his English was excellent. He was in-between jobs, as he was in the investment trade, and had lost his job, but luckily he had a new position waiting for him in Japan, when he returned.
- At another table I could hear a Danish accent, so after we had finished our meal I went over to say hello to Danish Per from Tønder, and we had a nice little chat in Danish before I went back to the albergue for the night. Top bunk, which was not a problem, I could get up and down without too much trouble other than the usual aches and pains! In the middle of the night the young Spanish girl in the next bunk started to text message on her cell phone, and it rang several times, until I told her to stop it, and turn off her phone!! Somebody had to tell her! Of course, after that I had a heck of a time falling back asleep, and all my aches and pains were acting up, so I tossed and turned for hours, and awoke tired and unmotivated.
I had heard the wind howling during the night, and it was still very windy, but otherwise a beautiful, sunny morning. I made up my mind - I would indeed spend another day here - rest and just enjoy this lovely little village with the great views!
I walked back into the village and found an open café, and joined the crowd of pilgrims getting coffee and toast in the cozy cafe. I asked the hostess about a room for the night, and she told me she was closed for the season, but I could rent a room across the way. I was enjoying my coffee and toast, and when I went up for a 2nd café con leche, she indicated that she might have a room for me after all - great!
When I had finished my 2nd cup of coffee, she came over and asked me to follow her, so I could see the room. It was right around the back, up a set of stairs, and absolutely lovely, with own bathroom, and even a small bathtub! She told me I could have it for 40 euros, if I could close it myself the following day. - The deal was on, and I got the keys and could settle in right away!
I loved having the lovely room all to myself, with views over the little cobble-stoned street, nice and sunny - my own bathroom - heaven! I realized that it was high time for me to take a little break from walking and staying at a new albergue every night, so I was pleased with myself for taking this day of rest in such a lovely place.
That day the miracles of the Camino continued, had I walked on, I would have missed these wonderful reunions! First I saw Vihar come walking in to the village - it was a happy reunion, but she was a bit worried about her backpack, which she had sent ahead, so she didn't have to carry it up the steep path to O Cebreiro. It was not here yet, even though it was mid-day. As we sat and talked about it, a German lady joins us, and when she heard of Vihar's worried, she sprang into action, putting several people on the search, found the phone number for the albergue from where the backpack was sent, rounded up a pilgrim who spoke Spanish, etc. Vihar was just so touched at how everyone wanted to help her!
In the meantime the Spanish lady who had fainted from pain several weeks ago, but whom I had not seen for a while, Pilar, arrived at O Cebreiro also, so another joyful reunion. She had also sent her backpack with a taxi, and just as we were talking, the taxi appeared, and there was Vihar's backpack as well, so everyone were elated and relieved, not least Vihar! Later on I met the German lady again, and we took a walk together to see where the trail continued, and had a wonderful conversation as we were walking along. I learned that her name was Ilona, and she was an artist from Berlin! She had been an artist, and had lived from her art for the past 10 years, Japanese Ink drawings. Now she was entering a new phase of life, she had given up her studio, and wanted to move on to other things. She had a lot of good insights, and I truly enjoyed our conversation.
I really enjoyed my day of rest, and meeting up with old and new friends. In the evening I had a nice relaxed dinner with Vihar, then a nice soak in my little bathtub, before I went to bed, and slept in the comfy bed, with comforter and no sleeping bag - pure luxury!