Up by 7:00am and downstairs for breakfast at 8:00am, van loaded and depart by 9:30am. This is the routine for the next 5 days.
Yesterday we decided that we will call our tour the “Cushy Camino”. This morning at breakfast we met a group of 12 Aussies who are doing a similar trip and call themselves the “Pampered Pilgrims” – love it!
We left Molinaseca and drove about 40 minutes through the beautiful green countryside leaving the main highway to a small little village for mid-morning coffee. The buildings are all made of slate and stone and steam rises from the dewy fields as the morning sun hits the valley. It is an absolutely stunning morning!
Coffee drank, water purchased, and stamps in our Credencials, we clamber back into the van and carry on to La Faba were we begin our journey. Today we start with a 5km hill ascending gradually another 600m in elevation. The trail begins through the woods and winds it’s way uphill. Before long spectacular vistas of the Leonese Mountains come into view and we realize just how far we have come!
Every corner revealed yet another incredible view, complete with mountains, pastures, cows and horses. Needless to say, progress was slow as photos needed to be taken. We made several water and snack breaks including a stop at Cafe de Escuela for fresh squeezed orange juice. What a treat!
Before long we arrived at the Galician border and took the required photo of the very colourful sign. This was a wee bit easier said than done. Poor Helen went to sit at the base of the sign and very gently slid off the ledge on to the ground, laughing uproariously. We all join in on the laughter and I snap a quick photo – always comedic relief with these lovely ladies.
We meandered our way up yet another hill, around another corner, and finally reached O’Cebreiro at the very peak. The views from here are incredible and the village right out of history! It consists of 20 stone buildings, cobbled streets and a 9th century church, Santa Maria a Real do Cebreiro, the oldest on the French Way of the Camino and the first to be restored in 1960. Nearby are typical Galician thatched buildings of Celtic Origen called pallozas.
Very hungry by this time we hopped into the van, with a quick stop at the Pilgrim Statue, very quick says Papa Paul. We scramble up to the foot of the statue and have our photo taken. As always there was lots of laughter and I commented to others waiting “we are a fun group”. Papa Paul declares “they are a very noisy group” and then grins!
We arrive at the village of Hospital at Meson O’Tear for a lunch of lentil soup (the best ever according to the Pauls and we all agree), chicken in an incredible sauce, small trout, french fries, wine and almond cake (tarta de Santiago). Delicious! Absolutely stuffed, we get into the vans once again, some back to the hotel and 7 of us get out further down the road to walk an additional 5km to Triacastela.
The walk was a very pleasant walk through tree lined streets of small hamlets and villages, past enormous chestnut and cypress trees. It was delightful! We joined Caryl, Jim and Paul Jr. at a cafe for a cold drink and then headed to the hotel in Sarria. Sarria is a larger centre and somewhat newer with little character. We are at the Hotel Alfonso IX, which is very nice.
I am still fighting a sore throat so decided to forgo the revelry tonight, had a hot bath and caught up on my blog writing. Buenos Noches!