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Posts from the ‘Camino’ category

Camino – O’Cebreiro (Day 25)

A massive day was had as we both had to dig deep on all our physical and inner reserves to get us to the top of the world – O’Cebreiro (1350m). We were rewarded with a bath and spectacular views out our balcony windows. No Wi-Fi and a very tired blogger means you will all need to wait for a proper update and Photo’s within the next few days! We’re off to bed to give our weary bodies a chance to rejuvenate! (Mark, our chests are very hairy!)

UPDATED! (1/6/13)
Date: Fri 31st May
Distance: 30 km
Temperature: Warm
Mood: Fantastic (not so for last 5km)
Left: Villafranca 7:45am
Arrived: O’Cebreiro 5:45pm
Santiago de Composela: 155 km
Highlight: Room with view!

First up was a steep climb up and out of Villafranca with fantastic views back across the town. Morning tea was had under a canopy of chestnut trees before tracking down to the valley floor, a steep, rather rocky descent. We walked beside a river which wound its way through lovely little villages and a picnic lunch stop on an abandoned bridge with pleasant views of the river and shade from the heat of the Spanish sun.

After finally reaching Herrerias, one of many picturesque small villages with a beautiful new hostel/bar that looked very tempting to stop at for a week, we began our ascent, however we did not take the Camino path (by accident) but rather stuck to the road which was not as steep, but still a mighty climb. The road was slightly longer but a more gentle incline until we found the Camino path again some km’s later at another small village (Saba). With only 5km to go the incline kicked in severely. Nothing like having to dig deep. It was relentless and seemed to take an eternity particularly as we had already walked 25km. The reward at the top was amazing. We were on top of the world with 360 views.

Now we just had to secure our pre-booked accommodation as we were supposed to have arrived by 4 and it was now heading on for 6pm – the latest and most tired we had arrived for the whole Camino! Gratefully, we were escorted to our room, a delightful rustic Galician style room with French doors to a small balcony with million dollar views, had a quick bath, managed to get to Mass (unintentionally) and enjoyed a lovely dinner before retiring for the night.







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Camino – Villafranca (Day 24)

Date: Thu 30th May
Distance: 31 km
Temperature: Mild/Warm
Mood: Great
Left: Molina Seca 7:45am
Arrived: Villafranca 4:45pm
Santiago de Composela: 185 km
Highlight: Castillo De Los Templarios

Up and out, no breakfast as we had over 30 clicks to cover so an early start was required. Well early for us anyway! First up was the magnificent 12th century Templar Castle. Is this for real? Very much like our sand castles we still make on our beach holidays! Too early to visit, but we needed a stamp for our pilgrims “credentials” so decided on breakfast at a local cafeteria until the Turismo off ice opened. Got our stamp and off we headed for some more spectacular scenery. (As you will see from the other photo’s, spring has certainly sprung in this part of Spain as all the roses have blossomed).

As you do on the Camino, you come across interesting people, today a lady was selling slices of home made cake to pilgrims. How could one resist!

It was a long day and our feet were definitely getting very tired! We finally marched into Villafranca just as it was getting warm! As it turned out, our accommodation was at the other end of town, so another km later we checked in, showered and forced ourselves out for an early diner in the main Plaza under a perfect blue and sunny sky! Great way to finish off the day with diner and a Vino Tinto in a one of the most quaint picturesque towns you can come across! We love it!

If we thought today was big! Early night tonight!






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Camino – Molina Seca (Day 23)

Date: Wed 29th May
Distance: 27 km
Temperature: Freezing cold
Mood: Feeling the adventure!
Left: Rabanal 8:45am
Arrived: Molina Seca 4:15pm
Santiago de Composela: 216 km
Highlight: Cruz de Ferro

We awoke to the sun shinning, but could also hear the wind whipping over our Hostel. A big day awaited us in many ways than one. Today we would reach the highest altitude on the Camino, over 1500m and is marked by a simple iron cross mounted on a weathered pole called Cruz de Ferro. This has become an important symbolic place where pilgrims place a stone or other token at the foot of the cross representing something of significance for them.

No sooner had we stepped out the door of our hostel, we went scurrying back to the warmth and safety to reassess our attire. Time for more layers and full wet weather gear! Take 2 and we were on our way.

Did we say it was cold yesterday? Well today was way colder due to the wind chill. Alison will be happy to know that the walking poles are back in use and are good at keeping the hands warm as long as you keep up a good pace.

A quick pitstop for a hot chocolate and chocolate croissants at a small village before we soon reached the Cruz de Ferro with a light snow falling. (Yes, it was snowing!) The weather was appropriate for the humbling experience shared by us and other pilgrims. The think blanket of fog kept any scenic distractions at bay whilst we placed our stones and tokens at the cross and said our personal prayers. A special pink ribbon was tied to the cross to symbolise a healing prayer for our family in Brisbane. After a few tears (or was that simply the rain or snow flakes caressing the face?) We started the long descent down the mountain.

We passed through a couple of small villages on the way down, but were unsuccessful in purchasing lunch, so we pushed on all the way to Molina Seca. Another lovely village in its own right with it’s own special history. The accommodation gets the thumbs up, but when we were ready for dinner, they had closed up the restaurant (7:00pm). After looking high and low for somewhere to eat we came upon a little general store advertising meals. With our tummies rumbling due to no lunch that day, we took the chance and ended up scoring microwaved frozen meals! As it turned out, they weren’t too bad and our Spanish host was so humble and lovely, that we wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

Early night with another big day ahead!









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Camino – Rabanal (Day 22)

Date: Tue 28th May
Distance: 21 km
Temperature: Icy cold
Mood: Cheerful
Left: Astorga 10:30am
Arrived: Rabanal 4:15pm
Santiago de Composela: 243 km
Highlight: Pilgrims Blessing by Benedictine Monks

We checked out of our wonderful hotel after a very satisfying breakfast and made our way to the cathedral. Unfortunately no photos allowed and no stamp was to be had! The sun was shining but a very icy wind blew. A stamp was secured at the Gaudi Museum and we were on our way.

The path gently rose as we passed through fairly open and at times scrubby scenery. We quickly found our land legs and walked without impediment. The skies were very stormy, however we managed to walk most of our journey without rain, despite being in our full wet weather/cold weather gear. Today has been by far the coldest day yet. We seemed to inch closer to the snow capped mountains and it felt like the wind was blowing directly off them. 4 layers of clothing and 3 types of head gear kept us relatively cosy.

It was a welcome change back to the picturesque (medieval ) villages that we’d missed when riding across the Meseta and we passed through a number of these before reaching our final destination. Due to the late start we ended up with a late lunch that was had on the side of the trail. Rabanal, our stop for the day was only a further 2 km down the road.

After checking in to the Hostel and ordering a nice hot chocolate to warm us up, it was off to the evening Vespers conducted by the Benedictine Monks followed by a nice hearty meal back at the Restuarant attached to our Hostal. We finishing off the evening by returning to the Church for a Pilgrims blessing again conducted by the monks. (One of us now feels the calling!)

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Camino – Astorga (Day 21)

Date: Mon 27th May
Distance: 0 km (Rest Day)
Temperature: Warm
Mood: Relaxed
Santiago de Composela: 264km
Highlight: Sleep in

Just a quick post as it is a rest day! Literally! We are being very spoilt and have a great room with a view over the Plaza! With the bed so comfy, we had a relaxed sleep in before thinking of heading off to see the Cathedral as everything else was closed on Monday! Well we missed the Cathedral. Turns out it is only open between 9-10:30. Looks like a late start tomorrow so we can visit on our way out!

Astorga looks to be a town with lots of hidden treasures and we feel that we will probably miss most of them. We really like the feel to this town and without knowing much about it, it seems to be known for its Chocolates, as every second shop sells Astorga Chocolates. Unfortunately they would weigh too much for us to consider purchasing a supply.

We did a circuit of most of the original township before turning to logistics for the following week. We even managed to book the following 2 nights accommodation over the phone speaking only in Spanish. Not sure how we did it cos we sure cannot speak it! So we will find out in due course if we succeeded or not!

The donkeys have been faithful and served their purpose, but with the mountains ahead of us over the next few days they would have been a major hindrance, especially the one that didn’t like hills!

Now these mountains are at a much higher altitude that what we climbed in the Pyrenees and temperatures in the early morning are sub-zero! So we are bracing ourselves for the next challenge.

Stay tuned.





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