Sorry I have not updated you since Ponferrada. Once I left the city for the mountains again, both Wi-Fi and cell coverage became very dodgy. WordPress will let me post text-only entries and let me grab photos already uploaded on cell data, but not upload new media. The room I am in now happens to be right next to the Wi-Fi router for the building, so I can finally catch you up on the last 2+ days.
And I had to climb another friggin’ mountain. I promised no more complaining about the ascents, so here are some photos from O’Cebreiro (the village at the top was more touristy than I was expecting — even a large parking lot for visitors who drove up):
The last picture is of the welcome wagon to the town I stayed in after mountain climbing. My Australian friend Chantal was also staying in the inn in this tiny village. We had a lovely, lovely time chatting for hours and drinking 1€ wine (no real food options, but the wine was cheap!). There is a draft of another post about a cow parade we witnessed; I will try to get WordPress to post it next. WP does not like the video I took.
Most of the difficult mountain climbing is now behind me and I had a lovely day continuing to get off the mountain. It was stunningly gorgeous (also pretty hot but at least most of the walk was in shade).
Another cow parade in the next village — I’m sorry Chantal missed it (she is a machine and starts walking around 6 AM).
These irises reminded me of my dad’s obsession with growing them at their old West Seattle house when E was a baby. I hope they’re enjoying retirement life on the peninsula. And he’s right, they smelled just like cotton candy.
No, this wasn’t over the top at all 🙄. Pilgrims monument in Triacastella:
It was a really lovely day to Triacastella. At that point I turned left to head to Samos instead of right in the direction of Sarria. Samos is a marked path but it is also an alternative route. I decided I wanted to be in Samos for my birthday since it is one of the longest running monasteries in Europe. I had a reservation for a room the night of my birthday (May 8 – today), so I decided to stop anywhere that looked good outside of Samos yesterday.
It was a beautiful walk despite the first part being on the highway. The mountains were purple with blooming heather:
Now, nobody freak out about this. I am OK.
About a half mile after taking that last photo, I finally fell down.
I have walked 400 miles — through mud and flood waters, up massive mountains, down massive mountains, over boulders, fields of rock, loose gravel, slippery tile and brick, dusty dirt paths, and uneven sidewalks.
I finally went down hard on a relatively flat and benign dirt path on the outside of a highway jersey barrier. How embarrassing.
It’s because I took my eyes off the path for a few seconds to observe another pilgrim about 100′ in front of me walking on the highway-side of the barrier.
“That’s odd; I wonder why she’s walking on that siiii…” and down I went. I happened to trip on one of the few rocks sticking out of the dirt.
I tried to recover before landing, but my poles were no match for the weight of my backpack.
I landed on my right elbow hard and ripped up my shirt. Knees are sore, but not as sore as my elbow and right shoulder now. Darn it!
So now that I got “falling” out of the way, I can begin my Camino.
Lesson of the Camino: DO NOT TAKE YOUR EYES OFF THE TRAIL, EVEN FOR A SECOND!
Now I’m limping slightly and ready to stop at the first inn/albergue I come across.
There were none.
There also were no stores, bars, cafes, water fountains, or people. Every village I walked through was a ghost town.
When I reached the last village on the map that also intersected with the highway, I decided to walk the highway the rest of the way into Samos (because now I’m going all the way into Samos despite being a day early). Following the direct route cut the distance by almost a kilometer, and my thought was there might be some sort of service on the highway (a gas station like I found outside Astorga?). For safety’s sake, I turned off my music and took my earbuds out, leaving them around my neck.
They fell off somewhere on the highway, of course.
It’s all ok! Samos is gorgeous and completely worth it!
Here is an interesting thing about the Camino: you meet so many people along the way who all create different circles — so you are never really alone. I ran into and had dinner with Ian from Canada (who I met in Zubiri), Corrine from Toulouse (who I met in Leon), and three new people from Norway, Germany, and Russia tonight.
I’m staying in a building across the street from the monastery, which I learned is actually the apartments for visiting religious to stay in. The first room they put me in was street level and all of the pilgrims walking by were saying hello through my window. I asked them to move me when a pilgrim I had met before stopped at the window to chat. I’m a very social person, but I couldn’t handle that anymore — I was going to have to keep the windows shut tight and the shades down for privacy. They moved me to the attic room, which I think is perfect (despite the four flights of stairs). I slept with the windows open like this all night, and the monetary bell is right outside my window. Yes, it woke me up bright and early this morning, but it was lovely!
Today I plan to tour the monastery. Happy Tuesday!