Day 32 Vega de Valcarce to O’Cebreiro 12km 5.4 hours – Up into the clouds

What a wonderful way to start the day! Serenaded by the singing Germans as we wandered off into the dark again.

The first few km’s were flat and easy but I had a reasonably good recollection of the walk (or should I say climb) for the next 8 kilometres or so. As soon as I spotted an open cafe I went in and ordered a cafe con leche to help build up my courage.

Everyone else just sat around and waited for me. I felt bad. No I didnt. It was good coffee. The cafe was modern and the toilets were clean. It was a nice break. Even the singing Germans thought the toilets were nice. The little things in life are often the things that make the day special!

Anyway off we went again and started going up up up. I had niggling pain but I could cope with it while we were going up. It was cold but we warmed up quickly. At the first town I took my jacket off but after a little while my fingers were frozen even though I was sweating. It’s hard to get it right all the time when doing these distances! Parts of this road were extremely steep.

It was interesting seeing the locals go about their business too.

The views got better the further we went up. I could walk okay because it was up but I was a bit slow at times. Of course we stopped for first and second breakfast even though I had an early coffee break first. The dogs and cats always seemed to visit when we were eating. There were also a few dodgy turns. Which way which way? Well the easiest of course.

We managed a joint selfy at the Galician Border and bid farewell to the Fräulein and the Swedish Cousin. The Rose amongst thorns intended to stay in O’Cebreiro and we had decided to stop at O’Cebreiro too so it wasn’t a long day. In fact we arrived up the hill in time to grab a photo with the singing Germans too. (Some have suggested they were mythical creatures or camino Angels – either way here’s proof they exist!)

We landed at the public Albergue at 11.30am and sat in a queue until it opened at 1pm. We both managed a bottom bunk by enduring this wait. I was allocated bed 1A – unheard of for me in the past I’m sure!

After setting up bunks and showering we headed off to see if I could locate a Physio or masseur or someone to help me continue on and I also needed to have something to eat. The only masseur available came on call from another town to your room. Bottom bunk in a crowded albergue didnt fit that description! Hello Ibuprofen again! I admit I was finding it difficult to walk without pain by this time. I sat in a bar and ate some calamari.

I asked the lady in the first bar if she knew anyone who could help with the pain. She pointed to the church and told me to pray! Well I knew a bit about this church from last time. It had the Holy Grail (well a Holy Grail). I thought I’d give it a go so I popped in and said a prayer. I was still in pain although another pleasant surprise saw the arrival of the Choirmaster at our albergue. The path moves in mysterious ways!

On the way back to the dormitory I dropped in to admire the kitchen. I had heard rumour that it was the best on the camino and I saw it was pristine. There was an Irishman there crying into his beer. “It was the Italians fault! they cooked another one of those big feasts and they never cleaned up.” He kept sobbing, “The Hospitalarios took all the utensils away and now I cant cook anything.” We’d seen the Italians feast at the nunnery. We were envious. One day we would be invited to an Italian feast! The Irishman kept sobbing.

The view from our dormitory was spectacular but it was the shoe rack that had the best view. The tourists came from up the hill just to admire our pilgrim boots. The pilgrims went outside to admire the view.

Pilgrim Boots admiring the view

Tourists admiring pilgrim boots
My beloved, the Choirmaster and the other Pilgrim admiring the view

It was an early night for me. My back and hip were still sore (but my boots looked magnificent). I needed sleep – tomorrow would be another big downhill day and I wanted to be prepared.

Hasta manana

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