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Camino de Santiago 2018

Day 27 Villafranca to O Cebreiro - Monster Hill!

SPAIN | Saturday, 30 June 2018 | Views [212]

We leave Villafranca early today as we have a monster hill to climb and the temperatures are still a bit hot--high 80s. You can see from the sign below we have only 187 km to Santiago de Compolstela. We are ready--our very nice hotel packed us a "picnic" since we had to leave before breakfast. Most won't, but this is a great hotel--we stayed here on our 2016 pilgrimage.


We look back at Villafranca, still a bit before sunrise, as we begin to climb toward Pereje on our first leg of today's journey.

It's light by the time we arrive in Pereje, but we are the only ones on the streets. We've noticed that many small Spanish towns don't really come alive until about 10 a.m. We did find a cafe open so we stopped for our first Cafe con Leche. They were selling some Camino trinkets and these cool hiking sticks.


 Flowers flow from every window box and ledge in Vega de Valcarce, the largest small town (population about 700) on our way to O Cebreiro (Dintaman & Landes, 2017).


Above Vega de Valcarce sits the remains of Castillo de Sarracin, built in the 9th century, invaded and destroyed, of course, and rebuilt in the 14th and 15th centuries (Dintaman & Landes, 2017).


This interesting building is at the base of the hill and a perfect ice cream stop for pilgrims who are about to burn up at least 1,500 calories going up this mountain! Those who chose to hire a horse for the ride up, don't stop for ice cream. These horses are headed back down to the barn having earned their owner 20-25 Euros apeice for toting pilgrims from Herrerias to O Cebreiro, about 8 km. They make two trips a day.


The view from the top is worth the climb.

O Cebreiro is the first Galacian town on the Camino. The church, Iglesia de Santa Maria la Real, sits at the entrance to the community, which is known as the birthplace of Father Elias Valina Sampedro, a local priest said to have initiated the yellow arrow symbol that marks the entire Camino de Santiago route (Dintaman & Landes, 2017).

After a delicious dinner of grilled pork chops we're off to bed. Dinners in the small hotels are either wonderful, like they are at the Casa Carolo where we stayed again this year, or they are interesting-- only a few have been inedible. We have learned that ordering fish can result in nearly anything arriving on a plate--could be delicious, could be something you wouldn't feed your dog. Another early 6 a.m. start tomorrow heading to Triacastela.

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