Day 19, Oct 17: La Faba to Calvor, 23mi

I left La Faba in some light rain, and it became harder and windier as we climbed up through the hills to the next tiny, quaint town called O’Cebreiro (prounounced:  Oh-thay-bray-AIR-oh).  The Iglesia (church) de Santa Maria Real is one of the earliest surviving buildings on the Camino de Santiago, dating from the 9th century.

 

Rainy and chilly this morning.  About 5k to a precious very old town O'Cebreiro that is the first town within the region of Galacia.  Weather and topography will be different that the flatter, drier settings I've been in.

Rainy and chilly this morning. About 5k to a precious very old town O’Cebreiro that is the first town within the region of Galacia. Weather and topography will be different that the flatter, drier settings I’ve been in.

 

I needed to consult my route for today, and regroup in a cafe to get warm.  Christy Graham, my friend who walked the Camino with her husband Cary a couple years ago, had told me of a cafe they sat in here – feeling like it was way back in time.  I hunted around a little, and ducked into one I found that was cozy and unique.  I didn’t know if it was the one she spoke of (it turned out to be!), but I loved the charm and plunked down by the fireplace — ahhhh, so cozy! — and ordered cafe con leche and toast.  Amazing how the most basic foods can taste so good and be so appreciated.

 

 

Cozy tavern/cafe in O'Cebreiro where I camped out during rain for a while.

Cozy tavern/cafe in O’Cebreiro where I camped out during rain for a while.

 

After a while I admitted I just had to get out in the windy rain and walk.  Something I’ve been pondering about myself is my desire to control my circumstances and my comfort.  I think it’s something that has been cultivated in me more due to triathlon training and racing.  I am much more comfortable in heat than I am in cold or damp weather, others are opposite.  When rain or chilly weather comes around and I know I have to be out in it – especially doing something physical or time-consuming, I get anxious and try to avoid it or brace against it.  I disliked training for my previous very-competitive sport (triathlon) in any kind of wet or chilly weather, and I would absolutely dread and get anxiety about racing in those weather conditions.

 

So here, I have felt like I want to avoid it as well.  I planned my gear but I also tried to plan avoiding walking much or being able to get a hotel if rain was in the forecast (like in Leon).  Now, in the Galacia region, its going to be inevitable that I walk in the rain for stretches of time and I just have to get ok with it.  Everyone else moves along, I can too.

 

This thought popped into my head as I was walking along in the wind with my poncho whipping around me:  ”Come what may, I will be.”  That is the entire sentence.  I will be.  Finish it however is appropriate, with the circumstances at hand – I will be sad.  I will be cold.  I will be confused.  I will be joyful.  I will be lonely.  I will be expectant.  I will be faithful.  ..But I will ME!  I have salvation and a soul that is at peace (through my personal faith).  I will have the peace of mind that it’s ok to be me and it’s ok just to be and not have to always DO or SOLVE or PLAN.  This is a personal milestone for me.  I hope and pray I can integrate it into my “real life” back at home.

 

I lifted my face to the sky which was dripping out less rain now, and smiled.

 

I mentioned I am now in the region of Galacia, and there are some interesting things I read in my guidebbook:  The  mountains of Galacia are the first object in 5,000km that the westerly winds coming accross the Atlantic hit, so there is a huge change in weather from the flatter and drier terrain I’ve been in.  There are frequent thundershowers and thick mountain fog, all feeding a maze of mountain streams and deep river valleys.

 

It is BEAUTIFUL here.  I simply can’t adequately describe it in words, and my  iPhone photos will not do it justice.  It is a wonderous and freeing to feel like I could literally walk all over the topography here, as it feels to look out from a ridge and see the route winding along seemingly forever.  This landscape is an artisitic masterpiece literally made and given to us by the Creator.

 

 

A view while I was thinking about BEING, and not letting circumstances define me.

A view while I was thinking about BEING, and not letting circumstances define me.

 

I wanna walk everywhere!  A delight to the senses; gratitude fills me up as I look out among the Galacian hills.

I wanna walk everywhere! A delight to the senses; gratitude fills me up as I look out among the Galacian hills.

 

 

This countryside is reminiscent of other Celtic lands with its small, intimate fields and lush pastures grazed by cattle, sheep, chickens, and more.  Stone granaries (“horreos”) are found everywhere, storing the local harvest (mainly corn).

 

In my book, I found this very interesting (John Brierly):  ”Galatia’s material poverty has left her with an abundance of spiritual wealth and the region is generally at peace with itself and its traditions largely intact.  While a strong Catholic faith overlays its earthly spirituality, its pagan past has never totally faded.  Long before the tomb of St James was discovered and before Christianity spread to these shores, pilgrims from all over the world came to Finnisterre (past Santiago) to witness the sun sink into the western coastal waters, and to open to some transcendental reality that emphasized the temporal aspects of this earthly life”.

 

No wonder this Camino and its villages and details (can) bring about such a sense of peace and settled-ness.  The history here is rich with similar experiences to what I am having now.  Mine is mine, but millions of other footsteps have patted down the earthen paths before mine.  It’s a really global AND intimate feeling all at the same time!

 

A cattle-driver (along with dog, not in photo) moving a small herd along, up over the highway and into another field.  Manure, and its pungent scent, is prominent almost everywhere here, so I watch my step but have to get used to the "olor" (smell)!

A cattle-driver (along with dog, not in photo) moving a small herd along, up over the highway and into another field. Manure, and its pungent scent, is prominent almost everywhere here, so I watch my step but have to get used to the “olor” (smell)!

 

The sun came out this afternoon, smiling down on the wet earth and practially making it glow.  Here, I was coming into the lovely village of Triacastela.

The sun came out this afternoon, smiling down on the wet earth and practially making it glow. Here, I was coming into the lovely village of Triacastela.

Me in front of a Castana (roll the n to correctly pronounce) tree that is likelly 400-500 yrs old.  The castana (chestnuts, to us) are all over the road, and the ancient trees are beautifully gnarled.

Me in front of a Castana (roll the n to correctly pronounce) tree that is likelly 400-500 yrs old. The castana (chestnuts, to us) are all over the road, and the ancient trees are beautifully gnarled.

 

There was a printed sign by this Castana tree saying that it is 800 years old!

There was a printed sign by this Castana tree saying that it is 800 years old!

 

My stopped point today was a very small albergue in Calvor, which was kind of a nothing-place just 5k outside of a bigger city Sarria, which I want to walk into and spend some time in tomorrow morning.  I could have stopped about 14k earlier in that cute village of Triacastela, but the sun was out and I was loving the views and wanted to keep going.  There are many reasons I chose to walk more each time I do.  The weather is a big factor.  Knowing that I enjoy walking in the sunshine gives me flexibility to sit in cafes (and update these blogs!) during parts of the rainy days.  Sometimes I forgo stopping in a cute town or bigger city, and it’s ok with me.  Sometimes having only a couple options – or ONE option – of albergue and restaurant is ok with me, and even preferred.

 

One of the freedoms of this Camino, to me, is having less options at times.  In my regular life, I have SO many options.  I am not a very decisive person, so sometimes all those options are actually a stumbling block to me.  I have felt a great sense of peace and freedom from some of the nights I’ve spent here in very simple albergues and towns that don’t even supply wifi or restaurant options.  Calvor was probably so far the most basic, but I was satisfied today, get the flexibility to visit Sarria tomorrow, and take breaks from the rain when it comes.  And it will come.

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