Days 15 & 16.

Monday was a short 8km from Herrerias to O’Cebrerio. We had been warned that it was the hardest part of the camino. ….very steep and hard terrain. Obviously the training walks around Gedling country park have paid off. Apart from a very steep km at the start, we didn’t find it tough at all. It was a noticeable change in terrain and climate as we crossed from Castille & Leon into Galicia. Cold and damp, by the time we climbed into o Cebrerio it was decidedly chilly. This tiny village has the oldest extant church on the camino. The little 9th century santa Maria real is beautiful and very prayerful. .. were it not for the coach loads of tourists arriving, queuing to get their credencial stamped and then walking straight out to terrorise the two village gift shops. Thankfully the coaches stopped coming by the evening and peace descended. The franciscan priest celebrated mass for all pilgrims in the evening and he gave each of us a little stone with a yellow pilgrim arrow symbol on it. The rest of the evening was spent in the company of some fellow pilgrims and a few glasses of vino tinto. Bed was one of 70 crammed into the municipal albergue. ….which was at the rough end of the spectrum. DAY 16….. only 21km to Tricastela but this was mostly in the driving rain and howling wind. The first hour was flat but in the pitch black. The rest was in the mountain mist with some brutal climbs. After 10 minutes we were soaked to the skin and remained so until we got to albergue Oribio in Tricastela. The village is nestled in a valley. The alberque is simple but has showers verging on greatness; hot, powerful and sort of clean. We are now only 85 miles from Santiago. The walk today was proper hard going and makes one realise the true nature of life and pilgrimage. … take the rough with the smooth and sometimes what is needed is head down and keep going. Eventually we emerged out of the mist and rain into brilliant sunshine and within a couple of hours the struggle of the day was put into perspective.

Climbing the mountains of Galicia
The grave of Don Elias Sampadero in the church at o Cebrerio. He was responsible for the restoration of the camino as a pilgrimage.
Santa Maria real at o Cebrerio
A candle lit in prayer for all parishioners.

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