Doug and Dave walk the Camino de Santiago
Day 6, Tuesday, April 17, 2007
La Portela de Valcarce -to- O'Cebreiro
Distance travelled today: 14.3 km, 8.9 mi Total distance walked: 107.1 km, 66.5 mi Distance to Santiago: 163.9 km, 101.8 mi
Today we make our steepest climb, 700 meters vertical in 5 km horizontal.
The Camino is really beautiful along this section.
Here cows graze along a stream, with cow bells clanging!
The road takes us first to the town of Ruitelán. From here, we leave the road
to walk along a beautiful path by the river, río Valcarce.
We arrive shortly in the town of Herrerías.
Here a farmer and his wife use a team of oxen with a wooden yoke to haul manure.
On the right, a grill and tables were set up for pilgrim stops.
Cows graze by blooming fruit trees. Later the path starts getting steeper; Doug
climbs higher - it is hard to capture the steep path with a photo!
We ate lunch here by the albergue in La Faba and clowned around with the pilgrim
statue. This albergue was newly renovated by a German Camino Confraternity.
Above La Faba, the views down into the Valcarce valley are good. We can also see
the mountains in front of us that we still have to climb!
We enter the town of Laguna de Castilla at 1,150 meters altitude.
Shortly after passing Laguna, we come to the first concrete marker post,
"K.152.5 Os Santos" - 152.5 km from Santiago. They will appear every 1/2 km from
here to Santiago, giving us a relative feel for how far we have walked.
We arrive shortly at the marker which tells us that we are leaving the
region of León and entering the region of Galicia. From here on, the language
and culture changes to Galegan, a cross between Celtic and Spanish cultures.
Further up, we pass few, but interesting, mountain homes.
Out of nowhere, just when we thought we were dreaming, a coke machine appeared!
Interesting flower pot!
[Photo courtesy of Krisztina Galambosi, pilgrim and friend]
On the last steep walk up to the fantastic mountain top town of O'Cebreiro, we
ran into a donkey loaded with pilgrim bags! Further up, we found the owner, an
interesting American lady who had rented the donkey in Burgos. She was on her
way BACK to Burgos from Santiago, a trip of some 493 km (306 miles)! By the way,
how DO you find Rent-a-Donkey? What do you feed it? Where does it stay?
Do you have to have spare donkey shoes?
Up in O'Cebrerio at last! We stayed in a hotel this night since the albergue was
closed for repairs. Dave stands outside the hotel in left photo;
on the right, is a gift shop across the stone plaza.
Another view outside the hotel on left. On the right, the ground floor had a small
bar/cafe. The beautiful rooms were upstairs; Doug and I had a wooden beamed room
with our own bathroom - a luxury indeed!
Views of the Iglesia de Santa Maria Real dating from the 9th century! This church has
attended to the needs of pilgrims since the twilight of the first millenium!
A miracle occured here in the 12th century, documented in a Papal Bull. An arrogant
celebrant of the Mass saw the bread and wine turn into the Body and Blood of Christ
as he offered them to a humble peasant who had risked his life to attend daily Mass
in a terrible snowstorm. Blood ran down the arms of the celebrant, changing both
their lives. The chalice and paten of the miracle of O'Cebrerio are displayed in
the church along with other items from the 12th century. See:
Miracle of O'Cebreiro
We had our last dinner with our friends from Worth Abbey this evening in their hotel
restaurant. The Worth Abbey crowd was being picked up the next day by Jenny's
husband and dispersing all over Europe before returning home. A fond farwell to
very nice people and great company on the Camino. God bless!
(L-R: John, Dave, Rosemary, Doug, Fr. James, Jenny, Fr. Alex, and Sue)