Monday, January 20, 2014

Camino 2013 - Day 33: La Faba To Fonfría

Our original goal for the day was the monastery in Samos.  That would have made for a 22 mile (35.5 km) day.  This plan was scratched before we even left the North American continent.  Another one of our extra days would be expended and the stage would be divided in two.

Cn and friend had left before us without even waking us.  I was surprised how quiet they'd been or how deep I'd slept.  We collected our stuff and headed out.  Gv was in an extra rush today as she understandably refused to use the squat toilet.
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The Sun rises as we climb up to O Cebreiro.
The Camino continues up for a while and the sunrise behind us was gorgeous as it came over the mountains and lit the pastures.  Two kilometers up we reached the next town.  There was an open bar/cafe and we went in.  Gv rushed past me and headed to the bathroom.  The bartender started to object (no using the facilities without buying) so I told him not to worry and ordered breakfast for both of us.
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The church in O Cebreiro.
Feeling much better we continued to climb up the hill, officially entering Galicia, and continuing until O Cebreiro.  We stopped here a bit and we visited the church where I lit a candle for the Wife like I did last time.  We enjoyed the sights and went into the shops in this tiny town on the top of a mountain.  I bought a rosary for the Wife, several magnets, and new rubber tips for my trekking poles.  I would end up wearing out three pairs of rubber trekking pole tips this Camino.   It took the shopkeep so long to take my money that I almost gave up and left but I wasn't going to let what happened in Santa Cruz de la Serós happen again.  As we looked around and waited for tardy shopkeepers a lot of pilgrims who we'd passed the day before caught up with us.
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View as we left O Cebreiro.  The valleys filled with fog.
We left O Cebreiro and continued to climb.  We passed through a few small towns that I vaguely remembered from last time.  It had been drizzly and overcast the last time I went through here.  This time the sun was out and it was windy.  In one of the towns we stopped for something to drink.  It was much nicer than last time and I was enjoying the day.

After visiting another church in the town, we left and hit the last part of the climb for the day.  The last little portion turns up steeply and was tough.  I controlled my breathing and powered up to the top passing a few people ahead of me.  I obviously was feeling much better on this part of the Camino.  The hill ends at Alto do Poio.  I staggered to a table outside a bar/restaurant/albergue and plopped down.  Gv arrived shortly after and we went in and ordered sandwiches and drinks.  We ate outside in the sun and recovered from the climb.  We talked with a lot of pilgrims that were doing the same.

The rest of the day was downhill.  We ended in another tiny town, Fonfría.  I was expecting a little hole in the wall albergue but I was pleasantly surprised.  The albergue was gorgeous.  It almost felt like a hotel.  It was attached to a bar and had both a dorm and private rooms.  I splurged for a private room with it's own bathroom.  It was like heaven.  People we knew showed up and checked in - a few of them splurging for private rooms as well..

We did our chores and relaxed most of the afternoon.  It had been a short walking day but the climb at the beginning had worn me out and I took a long three hour nap in the afternoon.

That evening we had a communal meal.  Across the road from the albergue in a round building was an awesome restaurant.  All the albergue guests were sat at a  long table.  Once people starting showing up we started seeing people we hadn't seen in a long time.  Vn was here and, to my surprise, the Korean couple we hadn't seen since Torres del Rio.  You could see the change in the couple.  She was no longer wanting to kill her husband.  They were walking longer stages.  She didn't seem to be fussing over her appearance anymore and she told us her adult children back home had told her they were proud of her - she beamed when she said this.
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Inside the restaurant where we had our communal pilgrim's meal.
There was gossip all up and down the Camino.  We'd heard of an older man walking the Camino.  We had the pleasure of sitting across from him.  His name was Mk and he was 91 years old.  He'd walked the Appalachian Trail (AT) six times (once was a through hike) and he was hoping to do it again to take the record for oldest through hiker on the AT.   He was a character.  He'd injured himself and had needed stitches earlier on the Camino.  I heard later on that, after reaching Santiago, he took a bus back and walked a part that he had missed when he was injured.  He was carrying his own pack.  I hope I have his stamina when I'm his age.

The food was very good and was centered around Galician specialties like caldo gallego.  The food and conversation were a highlight of the Camino.  The stars were out as we walked back to the albergue.  This would be the last time I really saw the stars the rest of the Camino.

The long nap I'd had in the afternoon made it hard for me to fall asleep that night.  I rolled and tossed a while before I finally managed to drift off.

Pictures can be found in my Camino de Santiago 2013 Flickr set.

Total Distance on Day 33: 18 km ( 11.18 Miles)
Total Distance Walked: 753 km (467.89 Miles)

2013-10-09 Track Image
Approximate Track of the day's hike.
[Click on map for a larger version]

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