Arrived in O’Cebreiro around 6 p.m.; the pilgrim mass was at 6:30 at Iglesia Santa Maria Real, so we got the pilgrim blessing. Edita, the hospitalera–she was named after her swedish madrina–works for the Xunta at the albergue that costs 5 Euros as do all the state run albergues in Galicia.
Our walk although rough with very steep climb to over 1000 meters, walking through beautiful little hamlets along the winding river de Valcarce. We saw cows, chickens, many birds. We took the route that went through the “monte” the wild, and again we were glad we did. Along the way we stopped at a vegetarian restaurant, El Capricho de Josana, and had juice. they had a little yorkie that reminded me of Chacho; his name is Tomas. At another stop, in Faba, we ate fruit, nuts. Martha, Sandra and the baby Alba. NO FOTOS, read the sign. Ganesh, Shiva and others greeted pilgrims. We met several older folks; all warned us and urged us to walk along the highway. We didn’t. As we approached O’Cebreiro, tired and walking very slowly, we met a woman who was sprinting along with a huge load of firewood on her back–Que despacio, she exclaimed! A sign in Faba urged to go by burro or horse to O’Cebreiro.
Once in O’Cebreiro, we talk to the monk at the church; we read about the legend that tells of the miracle. We marvel at the 12th century statue of Santa Maria Real and the chalice and paten of the miracle. Here’s the story. A poor peasant braves a not unusual snowstorm, to attend mass at the church. As he is about to take communion, the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ; the priest who witnesses it all also claims that the statue inclines her head to witness the miracle. In addition, I take photos of the burial place of Don Elias Valiña Sampedro who is credited with having thought of the yellow cross as a sign for pilgrims leading them to Santiago. Allegedly, he is also responsible for restoring many of the sections of the Camino and the chapels along the way, including the buildings in O’Cebreiro. Only four of us attended mass, and we kept our hats and parkas on because it was as cold inside the church as it was outdoors. Another story claims that Queen Isabella stopped her on her way to Santiago. There are claims that this is the oldest church along the Camino.
We shared our dinner with Quentin and the Korean women who are here. There are 12 altogether, including a Brazilian and some Saniards who just began the Camino in Ponferrada. Like life, the Camino begins at different places. Becky and I want privacy but with twelve of us, some of us quite noisy, too, it is not to be. Cell phones. Laughter. Talk. For dinner, Becky and I went looking to buy some veggies, but the only store in town is closed. The owner opened and sold us some potato chips. She gave us an onion and a potato from her own pantry!
I try to forget and be in the present, but mis muertos are with me–tia Licha, Dad, Tino, so many others…I saw my aunt in the old woman who was buying fish off a furgoneta, a small van that goes from town to town selling goods. “Valgame Dios!” she exclaimed when she was told the cost of the fish. Then she rationalized, well, after all, they have to make a living. They have to make money or else they wouldn’t come around. I am amazed by the informal economy we find everywhere.
I dream. I am. I write. The light in me is. Each poem reflects a truth revealed along the Camino. Today’s lesson: The higher you climb, the closer to heaven! The harder the path, the more you appreciate getting there. Martha told us that she walked the camino –it took 46 days because she took it slowly and meditated along the way. Then she didn’t want to leave Santiago! She felt called. Felt that she needed to serve as others had.
As I fall asleep, I listen to the couple giggling. Becky doing laundry. Someone is talking on the cell phone. Quentin is asleep. Naki is coughing. Tomorrow we will walk 13 miles!
Again, no photos tonight….I will update tomorrow and add them.