The walk the day before had been one of the best along the way. Day 18, July 26, we'd start out in darkness on our way from O Cebreiro to Tricastela.
The walk to Tricastela is about 20.7 k, at least according to the book. But the distance from the book to the road is rarely coincides. It is still dark as we step out, meeting for breakfast at 6:30 in an inn which feels like a scene from a meeting of dwarfs and hobbits in Middle Earth.
Over and over, the Camino helps us see we could be and really are a part of these rich stories and trails.
Orange juice and café con leche pulsing through us, we wander out. The sun is just starting to poke up through the mountains, revealing something wondrous, fog filling the sky. It is everywhere. We really are on top of the mountain. Life offers few truths, but the view down a mountain certainly comes close.
We start hiking.
One of the New Yorkers greets us as we wonder.
“There’s a boccadillo waiting for you in the next town,” he reminds us, and pedals forward. That’s the beauty of the trail. We never know if any of us will ever see each other again. But still we meander down the same road, toward the same cities, crossing the same paths which offer us countless meeting places to overlap or find respite.
All the food jokes seem a little petty. But some suggest that the varieties of food we all eat tell us a lot about ourselves. So they do mean something.
Its our final week on the way. We’ll meet the Stockholm Shepards in a few days after their journey through the Portuguese way. Everyone hikes at their own pace. We talk with some of our buddies from San Diego and Spain, chatting and taking a break. She has gone the whole trip without her family, smiling the whole time.
Number One and I wonder ahead, walking together. I greet the trees on either side of the path. She runs ahead. For a while the road takes us up, but the final 15 k are a steep wind down between forests and a mountain path. A Korean woman jogs by us with her backpack on. I talk with a few of her friends as we get orange juice. This group of five have hiked all the way from St Jean on the other side of the Pyrenees. A part of me wants to go traverse that first 68 k from St Jean to Pamploma on my own. The first day is a killer everyone says it. Yet, many have said it is one of the most beautiful parts of the trail. Everyone agrees.
“The trip gave me a time to think about my life,” one of the Korean crew confesses as we wait for orange juice.
Number One and I walk, sometimes jogging down the winding paths. She has been impressed with all the ways we can look at what was there, the ways Europe conserves energy, recycles, puts out compost bins everywhere, and harnesses power from the wind and sun. We both like the hikes through the country, in awe of the old trees. The lessons of the Camino are many. We can learn to share more, talk to the trees, be happy with what we have, use less, walk and cycle more, and slow down. Always slow down.
One man picks up trash as he walks.
Another man does not speaks but smiles, compliments me on my walking stick and picks up bugs from the path, so no one steps on them. I saw him the night before looking at the sky, not sure if he slept inside or out. But he looked quite peaceful.
The trees once again extends over the path, looking overhead, curving, their roots meandering through the ancient walls from side to side, taking us to the town.
More and more trees become part of the trail as we wonder down to Tricastela.
Walking through town, we find Casa Olga where we stay, meeting Caroline and number as well as a few other buddies in town for a pint of beer before dinner. She’s exhausted. But she’s made it another day.
The odd thing about the Camino is that every once in a while, work from our old lives pops up. I spent most of the night working on writing friends, getting soliciting blurbs for my Rebel Friendship book coming out this September. I wish there was room in the book for a chapter about the Camino. Most everyone writes back saying they’d be happy to send blurbs. So, my city of friends was extending from the path to parts around the world, connecting me with them, and vice versa. They are with me as I sleep, dream, and walk.
|Meeting friends after a majestic hike from El Cebreiro to Tricastela, There is only a week left on the trail.|