For dinner tonight, I just ate a pound of ground veal, a jar of tomato sauce, a can of olives, a can of mushrooms and 2 cups cooked rice.
The days are starting to blur together. I can’t remember the name of the town I slept in or where I’m headed each day. I just walk and stop in the afternoon in some town, unpack, shower, rest and look for dinner. The next day… Repeat. I can feel the energy in all the pilgrims changing too. Excitement is building in all of us as we near Santiago. What once seemed so far off, is now just around the corner. People are talking about being in Santiago in the next ten days!
I’m still walking and taking in the sites and sounds. Today I walked up to the highest point in the Camino, Cruz de Ferro. A cross atop a mound of piled stones stands as a marker for pilgrims. Travelers can leave notes or pile more stones as they pass. I must admit, while climbing the mound of stones I felt a bit like Simba climbing Pride Rock at the end of ‘The Lion King’. I thought about letting out a huge roar, but then it would have been weird.
Up in the mountains this morning, dawn broke from behind a wall of clouds to let the sun shine on all the land. Green rolling hills covered in thick blankets of cloud cover were all around me. My path was crumbling rocks and mud with various shades of foliage on either side. Having the sun to my back and a cool mist, eerily envelop the hills before me made for a beautiful morning. I walked 30km in the mountains today.
I reached a town called Ponferrada this afternoon. I have 200km to go. My feet are strong, my knees are sturdy and my resolve is sound. I am headed for Santiago.
I keep searching for something life changing. But why change a good thing? I gotta good thing going. That’s what the Camino has done for me. It’s made me realize how fortunate I’ve been in my life already. Why change a thing.
Left an amazing albergue this morning where I purchased a private room. It was nice to get a break from all the snorers and have some peace and quiet.
Today was an uphill climb of 12km through the mountains. As I put on nearly every article of clothing I owned, I stopped to notice my breath in the cold Fall air. All was still, quiet and calm. Autumn is really taking hold as all the leaves are browned and yellowed- collected in wet clumps on the pavement. The ground was frozen and covered in thick frost. You could feel the vegetation holding it’s breath- waiting for the sun to melt the ice and warm the earth… But the sun would not come out today. Grey skies and wet mud were the theme for this thanksgiving hike. It was a good day.
Nearing the top, either side of the path was gently sloped cow pastures, separated by rock walls, barb wire fence and trees. Early this afternoon, I was stuck behind a farmer moving a herd of cows down the Camino. Their hooves and cow pie turned the Camino into a sloppy mess! All part of the journey I guess.As I followed the traffic, one of the dogs spooked a cow. The herd jumped in shock and the one cow turned to run directly at me! I had no where to go and only seconds to think. Thankfully, luck was on my side. The cow peeled off to the right and sprinted through a field as the dog nipped at her heels. The farmer started screaming bloody murder and ran towards this mid-afternoon drama. Things soon calmed down though, once the cow rejoined the herd and the farmer finished cursing his dog (ok, that part was kinda funny).
Thanksgiving 2014 was spent hiking the mountains of Spain, and dining at a restaurant with a couple from Minnesota. I ate Galician soup, pork chops and fries. And of course…bread and wine. It was a very nice holiday.
I’ve made it to the town of Sarria. This is the final leg of my journey. Many people start their Camino from here to earn their Compostela in Santiago. The Compostela is a certificate of completion for pilgrims who have walked at least 100km to Santiago. Sarria is about 112km away and a convenient starting point for those who officially want to be labeled as a pilgrim of the Camino. I’m starting this last section tomorrow!
Beautiful couple of days. Yesterday it rained…all…day. It never stopped. I arrived at my destination drenched, cold and hungry but in good spirits.
Today was one of the most beautiful mornings I can remember on the Camino. I took a picture of the sun beaming through the forest canopy and making visible the mist that still hung in the air. Gorgeous!! (I’ve been using my main camera for the trip and will upload them when I finish the Camino.)
Also, I found myself in a small town known for it’s monastery. After a chorizo sandwich and a hot chocolate so thick I could chew on on it, I spent the afternoon on a small tour of the building. The Benedictine monastery in Samos, Spain was dedicated to Saint Benedict and was first built in the 6th century. Since then, the monastery has accrued a very rich and vibrant history. I took pictures of baroque style architecture, courtyards full of persimmon trees the inside of the church- where statues and altars made of gold and marble filled the room. And the murals on the wall told stories of the kings and saints from long ago.
Actually, I happened upon this town by complete accident. Their were two options for the Camino today, the 18km path which did not pass through Samos, or the 23km route which did. I chose the former but somehow went to Samos anyway. I’m glad I did. What a happy accident.
My journey continues tomorrow where at some point in the day, I will officially have less than 100km left till Santiago. Yeahya!!
77.5km to go.
I´m tired and always hungry but keep pressing on. I can feel Santiago right around the corner!