Jerusalem, my Destiny!
Though I cannot see the end for me,
I cannot turn away.
We have set our hearts for the way;
this journey is our destiny.
Let no one walk alone.
The journey makes us one.
The 14 mile walk today from Ribadiso to O Pedrouzo seemed longer than usual. Maybe it was the heat of the sun or our tired feet. Or, maybe it was because it was our last day before getting to Santiago. There seems to be a mixture of sadness and excitement that this journey is coming to a close. We went out for dinner in the town and were reunited with pilgrims we had met early in our journey. We said goodbye but only until tomorrow when we will all make our final 20 km to the Cathedral, get our Compostella, and attend the pilgrims mass.
On our way from Palas de Rei, there is an opportunity to take a detour off the Camino to see Castillo Pambre- a 14th century castle. Now, Rick did warn us that there was a chance we could get there but maybe not our way back to the Camino. It started off with a beautiful hike
Remember when you used to play it in the car? Well, I find myself playing it on the Camino except with the people I meet from all the different countries.
There was a couple from Portugal who come the same week to walk, a group of family and friends from Ireland walking together to celebrate a wedding on Saturday at the cathedral, a father and son from the UK, and a man from South Africa walking by himself for six weeks.
To get an official compostella you need to have walked the last 100km of the Camino. You can do it in 6 days start today, June 8, and reach the cathedral in time for the pilgrims mass on Friday.
I also came around the corner and found Elizabeth and Mary trying to skip out on the last 5 miles!
Portomarin is on a man made lake. In the 1960s the Miño River was dammed to create the Belesar reservoir, putting the old village of Portomarín under water. The most historic buildings of the town were moved brick by brick and reconstructed in the new town, including its castle-style main church: Church of San Juan of Portomarín.
In the seasons when the dam is at low level, the remains of ancient buildings, the waterfront and the old bridge are still visible.
Laguna de Castilla is really the last town in Castilla. We quickly came upon another type of marker telling us that we are in Galicia. We will follow these markers all the way to Santiago.
It was a beautiful hike up high in the mountains and stopped for breakfast in O’Cebreiro, another significant gateway on the Camino because it has administered to the needs of pilgrims since the 12th century.
We stopped in Fonfria, a typical Galician village. When I tell you these are farming villages, take a look at what goes by behind us sitting outside having lunch at a restaurant.
Shortly after this it started to rain and continued until we got to Triacastela. Nearby are the quarries that provided the limestone used I the building of Santiago. Medieval pilgrims would carry as much as they were able to the kilns to help. We are hoping the packs we are carrying will remind us of their sacrifice.
Meaning, it’s up to you to moooove. Sorry, if you were here after a long day of climbing you would think that was hilarious. Today (June 5) took us through small farming villages and up into the mountains. So different from the plains when we started. From long trails through wheat to quiet paths through the woods, it’s as if we started a whole new Camino.
Right now it is 9pm and we are tucked in our bunks and i can hear the bells clanging as the farmer brings his cows under our window and back to the barn. Most of the day was like this-quiet and serene – starting from Trabadelo and heading towards Laguna de Castilla. Our first village – surprise – had a statue of St. James that told us we are only 190km from Santiago!
It truly is amazing how each of these tiny villages, most with a few houses and inhabitants, have these beautifully maintained churches. In Herrerrias, we came across another open church that we stayed for a few moments to admire.
But worth the wait.
Don’t worry, Elizabeth is ok. It is just this picture describes our day! We left Cacabelos around 715 and stopped in Valtuille de Arriba at a pilgrims fountain and had a breakfast of bread, yogurt, cheese and jam. We then went up and down and up and down through the vineyards. . And came down to Villafranca for our cafe com leche.
tonight’s dinner is dedicated to my brother – yummy trout!!
We stayed to tour the castle that opened up at 10am. It extended our rest day giving us the time to reorganize our packs and have cafe con leche before starting our day. Here is a picture from the castle looking down on our hotel.
Carol, this is where your first night wlll be! Here are a few more from inside the castle.
We stopped in Camponaraya for lunch and we can not seem to pass a Pasteleria-so don’t think of losing weight on this trip.
To be honest, today was hard. Even though it was only a 15 km walk it was on sidewalk and roadways which exasperated our aches and pains. To get us motivated, rick said there was a treat a mile ahead. There was two. Yup a vineyard to fast wine and to walk through.
We made it to Cacabelos. It was here that I took extra time to think and to thank for my friends and family back home. My love and respect continues to grow with each step.
Today is a rest day. We took a leisurely 6.5km walk into Ponferrada and treated ourselves to a hotel. It is a beautiful hotel right across from Castillo de Los Templarios, a 12th century Templar castle. It is closed on Monday so we are going to take the time to tour it in the morning.
We first had coffee out side the hotel at the tables you can see in front. The next two pictures are looking out from those tables.
Oh yea……..today (June 1) was a 7 hour, 20 km decent and we r still not completely down. For all my JOI family, take a little bit of Kili from base camp to millennium, add the 5 miles of Marcy and a pinch of the Canyon – without the hat and you got our day. For those of us with blisters it was a new experience and not a pleasant one, but the sights along the way helped a great deal.
We left Fancebadon around 730am to have breakfast at Cruz de Ferro- one of the symbols of the Camino
Every pilgrim stopped to place a stone, say a prayer, and take a picture. The pile I am standing one is filed with messages written on stones. It was awe inspiring and little did I know how much I would need that for the rest of the day.
Our first stop was in Manjarin- ok wait for it – population 1.
Yes, in the picture you can see our path below and the city of Ponferrada In the horizon. We decided to use a rest day and break up the next two days into shorter hikes and stay in the town before Ponferrada, Molinaseca