Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro

Apr 26. Day 30. 28km. Departed 0750 hours. Arrived 1611 hours.

Today had one of the most grueling stretches. Or today had one of the most fun and enjoyable stretches. It all depends on your point of view. Like Life.

The first 18.6 km was mainly along paved roads even when we diverted into small villages. But this was the old road and thus, the vast majority of traffic was zooming on the new freeways. Secondly, there was a concrete barrier safeguarding the walkers. Finally, the river ran nearby for most of the way. So, it wasn’t as bad as it may initially appear.

We met Nicky, originally from South Africa but now living in Germany as we were leaving Trabadelo. We chatted for a bit, with the common question on the purpose/motivation of one’s Camino.

Before getting to Nicky’s response, one phrase that I came across in my reading is the ‘Best Version’ of oneself, from Matthew Kelly, a prolific author. When one thinks about this phrase, it may resonate with many, especially on a journey and experience such as the Camino.

Nicky’s response was a ‘Purer Version’ of herself. She had done several Camino sections, and found after each Camino, that she achieved and re-gained a deeper centeredness and inner peace. One benefit was her improved relationships.

A Purer Version of Self struck a chord within me.There are impurities that I am challenged to expunge. But this is only the first step.

A Pure Ben gets to the essence and heart of who I am.

A modern pilgrim statue as we exit VillafrancaThe longest balcony on the Camino Frances. Abandoned house.One can ride horses from Las Herrerias to O Cebreiro, a distance of 7.1 km. My GPS App indicated it would take 3.5 hours. I put it down to a glitch in the App. I was sadly wrong.This tree’s circumference was one and a half to two times that of the surrounding trees. It’s much older.At the entrance into Las Herrerias. The man made leaves are rolled up pieces of paper, presumably with written down dreams.Have you observed a truly contented cow?A good sign can be understood by many cultures. Life signs are also around us.The horses were coming down as we were making our way up. I would recommend if there’s heavy rain the past few days!This is how muddy the trails were. Not to mention the occasional piles of horse dung. And rivulets flowing down. And rocks and stones. Our pace was reduced to 2 plus km per hour. My guestimate is the muddy rocky stretch would be about 4.5 km or so!Was it a co-incidence that we had the Purer Version chat with Nicky before this 3+ hours experience of a muddy uphill slog?

We met the same Nicky way after this, and she truly enjoyed this same stretch. Said she had fun. Perhaps this could be your cup of tea?

We started at the valley floor where the river flows, climbed up to O Ceberiro at 1,300 meters. The views were phenomenal.The marker indicating we had entered Galicia.

Our lodging had a very reasonable set up. Their kitchen opens till 9pm. And we can order from their menu anytime. We can eat dinner meals before 8pm! And we ‘had’ to eat their pulpo, even though the sea must be very far away! It was s great dinner.

Author: Ben & Joon

Residents in the great Pacific North West. Living life as it happens, learning our purpose and trail blazing our own paths. Namaste.

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