We’re walking the Camino de Santiago in June 2022. Come along with us!

Day 7: Swimmingly

Today, it rained. We left O Cebreiro at 7:30, ponchos and windbreakers on, and descended (and descended) into rain. Sometimes it was quite heavy, sometimes a light sideways rain, sometimes a mist that seemed to rise out of the fog in the valley below. Our ponchos and windbreakers failed, our hats were soaked, our shoes wet through. It was best to walk on rocky ground, since the earth was slick with mud and cow droppings.

And reader, you may not have seen this coming, but I. LOVED. EVERY. MINUTE. OF. IT. 🙌

The view from O Cebreiro. The valley is down there somewhere, pretty sure.
A pilgrim statue, marking one of the peaks of elevation. At this point it was raining so hard, we just kept moving.

It was bound to happen sometime— but I finally got my Camino legs. Up until this point I’ve had some good moments and good stretches, and then there are long passages where I literally look at my Fitbit every five minutes, or wonder when the heck the next village is going to appear over the next hill. Today, rain and all, I cruised. (If my cruising speed is still less than my dear husband’s regular speed, so be it.) At one point, I estimated that my steps were around 15,000, but when I looked at my wrist I was at 26,000. It happened, the magic of the Camino. You let your body go and your worries go and you get to a pure place in your mind when previously foggy things become startlingly clear.

This duo watched us from under the overhang, as they were clearly the more intelligent species.
These guys followed us out onto the path. Vacas!

Galicia is farm country—cows, roosters, chickens, random dogs, and “evidence of cows” as the Janets say. We passed through tiny agricultural villages with artisanal cheese and tractors on hillsides. (Have I told you how much I love cheese? Two days in, I’ve devoured two cheese plates.) A woman came out of what appeared to be a barn and offered Will a pastry. I watch too much true crime to accept pastries from strangers, but I’m happy to say that Will survived.

We stopped every so often for coffee, orange juice, torta de Santiago (which I absolutely must learn to make) and a place to not be in the rain, and I’ll tell you—I was worried about the descent. The Camino Ninjas app (which is excellent) told us this was a serious descent to Triacastela, and I thought I would bug out—take a taxi, not stress my knee. Instead, the towns we passed through had no services and nowhere to wait for a taxi, and so I did it. I was feeling good, and I carefully picked my way down the trail, and it was fine.

Wooded paths—reminded me a bit of hiking on the CA coast.
We saw this tree on the way (it was all a blur in the rain).
Quite a few dark tunnels like this. Good thing I’m not afraid of the dark 🙃
When the fog burned off, we could see more of the valley. This is what we were descending toward for most of the day.

Triacastela feels a bit like a truck stop. A few restaurants, a tienda, sporting goods store, and a farmacia. We are staying at Albergue Lemos, which is essentially a hotel with laundry service. The room is sterile and the beds are comfortable, and there are extra pillows — it’s been truly puzzling to understand Spain’s commitment to the skinny long pillow. We wandered the town—it didn’t take long—and saw Daisy from Grass Valley, who we met in León, then the Korean actress and her friend, and the Italian (I think) guy Will and I refer to as the Scammer, as he seems very interested in all the young women of the group. The Janets walked by as we were having a beer, and we ended up joining them at a restaurant near our hotel. They were with Mark, who I immediately recognized as the guy running the Camino—or at least, when he’s headed downhill. (“Oh, you were in the green poncho? I think I passed you twice today!” Yes, Mark, you did.) And then Henry and Yvette came in, and we had our last family meal together —the Janets are skipping a stage to get to Santiago one day earlier, to accommodate work schedules. Mark is ending in Sarria, so tomorrow will be his last day.

It’s bizarre to realize that Day 7 means we’re halfway through our trip, and more than halfway on our walk to Santiago. We have covered a lot of miles (and more kms), and while there are some long days left to go, it doesn’t seem insurmountable. Today it began to seem like something I could actually do. ❤️ -Paula

The view from our hotel in Triacastela.
Digestifs all around, followed by stumbling up the hillside to our hotel. We tend to drink more with the Janets.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: