Day 39 – To O Cebreiro

Trabadelo to O Cebreiro – 17 Kms, 27,146 steps

Wow! Today was hard. The flatish part of the morning walk went by quickly but the rest was really difficult. The distance is deceptive, climbing 900 meters added about 1-1/2 hours to my walk. I was all right aerobically but my legs are so very tired.

A gaggle of onlookers in La Portela

I got a pre-dawn start and walked pretty quickly through three small towns. After an hour, I had a snack in Ruitelan. The weather was great and I was walking mostly on paved roads or shoulders. The path wound around beneath some of Spain’s excellent “flyover” motorways.

The motorway in the sky

I walked a little bit with the German woman walking with her Dalmatian. She seems pretty responsible and has good command of the dog, Alma, who appears to be enjoying herself.

Alma loves to eat raw carrots

Finally, I got to the hard part of the path, which left the road to descend to cross a stream, then went up. And up. And up!

Rocky surface, lots of flying bugs

The path surface is a mix of rocks and dirt, but so steep that use of my hiking poles was mandatory.

Typical: I climbed up this part…
…only to find this part awaiting me

Horses are available for rent in one town so that pilgrims can ride up this trail to O Cebreiro. The horses apparently know the way and it’s all sort of automatic. The owner collects them at the top. Unfortunately, the horses crap all over the trail. So, in addition to the steep grade, the clouds of gnats and flies, and the uncertain footing, walking pilgrims have to dodge large, fresh deposits of horse shit. Delightful.

I came out of the woods and soon reached the little town of Laguna and, mistaking its outskirts for O Cebreiro, set myself up for bitter disappointment when I found I had another 30 minutes or so to walk.

Camino path users going the other way

Interestingly, a rancher on horseback came along behind these cows and admonished me not to take their picture because it would upset them. Of course, I already had and they didn’t seem to notice.

I did eventually make it O Cebreiro and, though I was sweaty and tired, I was in so much better condition than when I arrived in rain and fog in 2019. After checking into my lodging and showering, I went out for lunch: a bowl of the Galician specialty, Caldo Gallego, a tasty soup of beans, potatoes, and turnip greens. I have officially entered the region of Galicia.

My first bowl of Caldo Gallego this year

Don Elias Sampedro was the parish priest who, in the 1980s, revived a moribund Camino by traveling the country and painting the yellow directional arrows that guide pilgrims to this day and are now a symbol of the Camino. He’s buried here and his grave has become something of a shrine:

Tomorrow’s walk to Tricastela is a bit longer, 21 Kms, but it’s almost all downhill. Tomorrow will also mark one week until I reach Santiago.

2 thoughts on “Day 39 – To O Cebreiro

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