I stopped for my first cup of coffee at Trabadelo where I bumped into Craig. I think he may have been a little taken a back by how happy I was to see him but after my freezing, lonely night, I was so relieved to see a friendly face it was all I could do not to burst into tears. It struck me yet again that, although I started this journey completely alone, the people I met along the way ultimately made the journey. It was the shared laughter and experiences, bumping into each other in coffee shops and on remote mountain paths that made the Camino the remarkable experience that it was.
A friendly face and a serious caffeine top up was all I needed to get going and the rest of the walk into the O’Cebreiro remains one of my best days of walking. I had continually heard about how tough the climb would be but I loved it. The mountains were so very beautiful that I forgot all about my legs and the uphill. It was just such a joy to be out walking in such a magnificent place I had to keep myself from laughing out loud. And, to make the day absolutely perfect, Philipp was waiting in O’Cebreiro. He had decided to rest for an extra day and we would walk on from there together.
Just before reaching the town of O’Cebreiro you cross into Galicia. It was a big milestone and for the first time it felt like the time was going by to quickly, like the end of the journey was approaching to fast.
O’Cebreiro is an iconic part of the Camino Frances. Part of the church, the Inglesia de Santa Maria Real dates back to the 9th century and is the oldest extant church associated directly with the pilgrim way and the stone buildings in the town are originally formed part of a monastic development that dates back to the 11th Century (J. Brierly). Franciscan Monks conducted Mass in the Inglesia de Santa Maria Real that evening. As evening approached, mist rolled in and the temperature plummeted. Little did we know that we would wake up to a snow covered town the next morning.
O’Cebreiro can quite accurately be described as a "hobbit" town. In fact, there are so aspects of the Camino that remind one of Lord of the Rings that it became a bit of a theme for the journey. I know the structure below is a wine cellar but nobody can argue that it doesn't look like a part of the Shire....
On that note....
“Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – JRR Tolkien
I was privileged to spend a lot of time exploring wilderness areas in southern Africa from a very young age. I got my first camera when I was 6 years old and I have been passionate about wildlife and landscape photography ever since.