On my way … Day 28 … Las Herrerias to Triacastela

Saturday, June 9, 2018 … 29 km … 18 miles 

Today’s Path 

The first eight kilometers will all be uphill. This will be our steepest incline of the whole pilgrimage. As we climb, we will enter into the final region of the Camino, Galicia. Galicia is known in Spain as the “land of the 1000 rivers”.  

Galicia’s folklore clearly shows its Celtic and Gaelic origins, and the most characteristical musical instrument is the Gaita (bagpipe). Regional gastronomy is of great reputation for its excellent fish, Empanada Gallega (a typical pie of fish or meat), traditional sweets prepared in some monasteries, and the Ribeiro wine.


At the top of the climb is the village O’Cebreiro, a charming mountain village with Celtic roots. After O’Cebreiro we will have rolling hills and then our final 5 kilometers will be a decline into Triacastela our resting place. 

Early beginnings 

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”

Desiderata, Max Ehrmann

The alarm on my phone went off, “No”, I was thinking. The bed is warm and this blanket is soft and cozy. I had to push those thoughts out of my mind, I knew what I had to do. It was time to rise and get ready to leave. I had never been the first to leave in the hostel and there definitely was an art to it. The art was low lights from your headlamp and being quiet. In order to be quiet, I eventually made my way outside the room to finish my packing. As we stepped outside the cold mountain breeze hit my face, brrr. This is going to be fun, I thought. 

Once we were all ready, we hit the trail. It was dark and we made our way up the road. Walking on the pavement made the first part of the steep climb a little easier. It became a little trickier when the path turned into the woods.  

Walking with only the light of your headlamp was different. Due to yesterday’s rain, the rocks were slick and the mud was still present. We finally learned what a rock looked like compared to horse manure. Funny but gross! 

We slowly separated due to everyone tackling the mountain at a different pace. It was steep and it was tough. I liked it being dark because it kept you only looking at the step ahead of you and not at what was yet to come. 

Sunrise Spot 

We found a nice spot to watch the sunrise, so we all made ourselves comfortable. We were overlooking a little village called La Faba. It was the perfect time to eat my breakfast. As I was eating, Cale and Luca were getting all professional on us. Setting up their Go Pros and cameras. The rest of us just relaxed and waited. Now that we were sitting, I felt the cold air.  

We watched the sunrise and then we moved on. It was beautiful. I was so cold; I think I left a little earlier than the rest. They would catch me, they are young.  

The rest of the walk to O’Cebriero was amazing. Perfect views, perfect weather. The sun was up and it was getting warmer.  

Step by step we made it to the top. 

We entered Galicia 


Perched on a high ridge, the impossibly quaint hobbit hamlet of O Cebreiro welcomes visitors to Galicia — a hilly, damp, green region in northwest Spain that feels vaguely Irish. O Cebreiro is a time-warp to an uncomplicated, almost prehistoric past, when people lived very close to nature, in stone igloos with thatched roofs. With sweeping views across the verdant but harsh Galician landscape, O Cebreiro (pronounced oh theh-BRAY-roh) is constantly pummeled by some of the fiercest weather in Spain.


We slipped into the café to have breakfast. It was amazing to sit in a warm café with no wind. We were still waiting on Cale, he stayed at the sunrise spot a little longer than everyone else. 

It was only 8:15am. Leaving early is kind of nice. 

As we were enjoying our breakfast, Natalie and Luca met up with someone from Argentina. It was a nice morning for everyone. While they chatted, I went over to the church and had some prayer time. 

Iglesia de Santa Maria la Real 

In O Cebreiro, all roads lead to the village church. Founded in the year 836, Santa María la Real (Royal St. Mary’s) is supposedly the oldest church on the entire French Road of the Camino de Santiago. The interior of this pre-Romanesque building is surprisingly spacious, but very simple. The building is actually embedded into the ground, with sunken floors that added protection against winter storms. At a desk, a clerk stamps pilgrims’ credentials and sells votive candles.  As dictated by ancient tradition, the baptistery is separate from the main part of the church, with its giant and very rough font used for immersion baptisms. In the chapel to the right of the main altar is a much-revered 12th-century golden chalice and reliquary, which holds items relating to a local miracle: A peasant from a nearby village braved a fierce winter snowstorm to come to this church for the Eucharist. The priest scoffed at his devotion, only to find that the host and wine had physically turned into the body and blood of Christ, staining the linens beneath them — which are now in the silver box. 


On the other side of the chapel, opposite the miracle is a tomb of a priest named Don Elías Valiña Sampedro. He was the parish priest here in the 1970s. He rescued the Camino from its nineteenth and twentieth-century obscurity and popularized it for the modern age. How did he do this?  

He was the man who first painted the yellow arrows along the Camino route.  

Thank you, Padre Don Elias Valina Sampedro. 

On the mountain, the weather can change quickly. We had beautiful views upon arriving, the fog then rolled in and rolled out.

Beautiful at the top.

Ten minutes later …

The Day 

Most of the day was up and down. It’s funny how the guidebook makes it look flat, yet the hills are intense. As we were leaving O’Cebreiro, Minh and Cale were walking in front of me. Cale was singing, “You are my Sunshine” and started to teach Minh. It was so cute, I had to take a video.  

Take a look! The lady walking in front of them started singing along with them.

We saw the original four, Tim, Rodney, Tomce and Daniel and we started walking with them. It was nice.  

Today we passed another big landmark of the Camino.  

Alto do Poio with the windy pilgrim statue. It is a huge bronze statue of a pilgrim facing Santiago, holding onto his hat against the wind. This spot is a famous spot for tour busses and as we were there, we had to wait to take pictures. The tourist even took our pictures! 

Take a look at the one picture of Natalie and Luca, they were posing for their picture and the lady just walked up the ramp and started taking pictures. It was so funny; all we could do was laugh. 

We continued along the road, through more farms, and dodging not only mud puddles from yesterday’s rain but cow patties as well. But today was so beautiful. Blue skies and perfect weather.  

Today was perfect but long. Full of laughter, quiet time, enjoying a beer at a café and slowly making our way to Triacastela.  Always lots of entertainment at our cafe stops. Like Minh playing soccer with a rock!


The decline to Triacastela took us through farms and little villages. Winding our way through the woods as well. It was beautiful. It was getting cloudy again. As we entered Triacastela it looked like rain.

Tonights Hostel: Albergue del Refugio del Oribio, 27 beds, 9 euros 

Since most of our day we were walking along with the original four, we all ended up staying at the same place. So just between us, we had nine beds. And to our surprise we had a little visitor in our bunk room, the baby family was staying there as well. So as a big group, we had Eighteen beds, I think. If I remember correctly. It was an evening of fun.  

After getting settled in and showers, some of us went to get dinner. It had started raining again, so we found a restaurant around the corner and slipped in for a meal.  

Starting tomorrow, the Camino is going to start getting more crowded. We will enter Sarria where many pilgrims start their walk. Due to the increase of pilgrims, we have decided to only stay in private hostels now. The public municipal Albergues sometimes have an issue with bed bugs on this part of the Camino. You might be safe to stay there but we don’t want to take the risk, so we have made this decision. So for the remaining days into Santiago, we will make reservations each day. Again, due to the many pilgrims, it is the smart thing to do. 

My Journal: 

 Saturday, June 9, 2018 … 29 km … 18 miles , rain held off, yay!! 

We woke at 5 AM, we headed out around 5:40. Headlamps on and we headed up the mountain. It was chilly. We found a spot past LaFaba to sit and watch the sunrise. Wow, once we stopped walking, we realized just how cold it really was. Brrr.  

I ate my makeshift breakfast as we sat. Beautiful sunrise. 

We were blessed with a great morning. No rain and beautiful views. Actually, great views!! 

So great enjoying the Camino. Reminder for home, slow down, enjoy your moments, enjoy the beauty all around you, enjoy your time with others, see the beauty in everything. 

We met up with Rodney, Tim, Tomce and Daniel and walked most the day with them. It has been fun. Lots of laughter.  

Thank you, Jesus, for such a beautiful and amazing pilgrimage. Thank you for the lessons and thank you for your love. May I walk daily in Your Presence and may your love shine through my actions.  

Writing this made me think of the prayer by St. Therese 

“Oh my God!  I offer You all my actions of this day for the intentions and for the glory of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  I desire to sanctify every beat of my heart, my every thought, my simplest works, by uniting them to His infinite merits; and I wish to make reparation for my sins by casting them in the furnace of His merciful love.” ~ St. Therese of Lisieux’s 

My gift of the tears of joy are open once again, Thank you! 

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