O’Cebreiro to Oh No!

The view from O’Cebreiro is gorgeous. It reminded me of Switzerland with its lovely green hills, dotted with villages.


Today would be another climb, and let’s face it, after you have conquered O’Cebreiro, the rest should be easy. I feel good today and headed to the restaurant for a coffee and something for my empty stomach. I’m feeling hungry this morning, at least that is what my stomach is saying.

The dinner last night of pulpo (Galician grilled octopus) was awesome and the company even better. I’m still smiling thinking of the laughs I had with the Arkansas and Texan flight attendants.

Getting ready in the morning after 27 days of practice is getting faster and easier. Although the time of 5:45 is early, I’ve been bouncing out of bed. My hiking  poles readied, I start down the hill. We were told the hard part was over…well let me tell you, don’t listen to anyone. Each day has its challenge. For steep ascents you can almost certainly guarantee a steep descent and today was no different except there were descents and ascents.

Along the way, I met John Crawford Howell, a retired Vietnam marine from the State of Washington, U.S.A. We both had a similar view to the Camino and that was to go slow and enjoy it. That is exactly what we did. Weaving up and down along the hills we chatted about why we were doing the Camino, and topics in general. It was nice having company for a change but I’m not used to being asked questions about me so it was a little unnerving, but refreshing.

I seemed a little tired today and even short of breath. I mentioned it to John that I wasn’t myself today. At the second major climb, John mentioned he should get some breakfast even if he wasn’t hungry. I was still full from my banana that morning but thought it best to try and eat something. My stomach began making all sorts of sounds, rumblings and gurglings. 5 trips to the servicios proved I was not well. Ana from Denmark gave me a pill and I hoped for the best. I suggested John carry on without me. Well, the best didn’t happen for 3 hours and Antonio, my Camino angel today and owner of the albergue/café was kind enough to give me a room for no charge with a private washroom while I recovered.

The skies opened up and I was grateful not to be out in that mess. I hoped John was okay and thought of the others in between the shivering. Antonio put me in a cab with another couple who were struggling and sent me off to Triacastela.

The albergue in Triacastela was lovely and even better when I met up with some lovely student peregrinos from Dublin. One girl was so adorable and bubbly, and it was so sad to hear she had to go home due to an injury. I tossed and turned that evening due to my stomach and decided to go downstairs for while.  I found Father Seamus and another student comforting the girl who had to leave. When I entered the communal kitchen there were 4 students sitting there uncomfortably trying to figure out how to get by her without disturbing them. We chatted about their school and their majors. Liam Quinn was interested in education and corporate learning. I will give him my contact info for the future. He had promised to show me around Dublin. Very sweet. We eventually got up and tip-toed past the sobbing girl and tucked ourselves in.

Tomorrow is Sarria, and the start of the final 120 km of the Camino. It is already getting busy with students and locals, but I’m loving the energy. Students singing, drinking and bringing a youthful exuberance to our walk.

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