A Whole New Journey

O’Cebreiro to Triacastela – 20.7kms

Waking up, Riley’s first words were, “so, we ready to die?” Getting up and walking has become so routine now, I forget what it was like in those first couple of days, the fear of the unknown, the nerves and anxiety.

I didn’t give him too much time to think about it as we dressed, packed up the last of our things and headed out. When we opened the front door, the ice in the air was instantly chilling, removing any other thoughts anyway.

There was  a bit of mis-direction as the book talked about people often missing the forest route, so we all followed the arrows to the slight left (that also matched the app), only to be taken to a blocked off road.

We all had to backtrack, walk on the road and not long after this is when the forest path veered off. By this time, it was after 8am and we are still completely shrouded in darkness, so headlamp on.

It was a lovely path though, packed down granite with a bit of softness. Oh, if only the whole Camino had been like this path.

The first village we came to was purely a farming village with nothing resembling a cafe for breakfast. It did however, have a very friendly cat that Riley wanted to take with him.

I said no.

We pressed on to San Esteban, which thankfully had a cafe as it had started to rain and we were feeling the icy wind. Every pilgrim on the trail seemed to be in the cafe!

As we sat down, we said hello to a woman on the table across from us who asked where we were from. When I said Australia, she was delighted to finally meet another Australian. When I asked what part of Australia and she replied Perth, I asked if her name was Heather.

She looked at me in shock and said yes. I laughed and told her our mutual friend had told me to look out for her! It is just incredible how people are placed in your path.

I invited her to join us and we chatted for a little until Heather got back on the road. Riley and I had our cafe con leche, hot chocolate and toast so hard we were worried we would break our teeth.

By the time we left, the rain had ceased and we were provided incredible views across a very different landscape again with the new addition of toadstools.

Up we climbed, and as we did, the mist started to roll in and by the time we reached Alto San Roque, we were completely shrouded by the cloud.

Just as quickly as we moved down, the mist cleared and we were even graced with patches of blue.

Walking into Hospital de la Condesa, across the road and down a steep slope bounds an enormous mountain dog and pads straight up to Riley. I had to say no again.

As we walked away, the dog approached all the other upcoming pilgrims. He was like the welcoming party for the village.

It was a steep climb straight up from this point to arrive at Alto do Poio, the highest point in Galicia. Again we were greeted by another enormous mountain dog. The Camino is not making it easy for preventing Riley from stowing away a pet!

The weather kept changing frequently. Riley was convinced it was simply waiting for him to put his hood on because as soon as he did, the rain would stop.

On arrival at Fonfria, we fell into a cafe because the rain had picked up and we were bitterly cold. I ordered a fresh orange juice and grabbed a banana while Riley got a piece of chocolate tart. The warmth revived our spirits and got us moving quickly just as a large tour group walked in.

It was a good day for Riley to start off with as there were villages every 3kms on average. 6kms after our second breakfast stop, we had a fabulous stop at a cafe in Fillobal.

They had a welcome fire that everyone huddled around and delicious food. From here, it was a short 4kms to Triacastela along a gorgeous path.

10 mins out of Triacastela, it started to pour with rain. We nearly made it with dry clothes.

We were staying at Casa Simon and our host was just lovely. She had the heater going in our room for us and had an area for us to dry our shoes. She said she lived upstairs and welcomed us to her home.

After a quick wander around town, I went back to the room to snuggle in bed for extra warmth and spent time writing and trying to work out our exit flights to Ireland from Santiago.

Just as I was beginning to think about dinner, I saw a post from a fellow Ladybird who started the Camino nearly 10 days behind me, to discover she was in the same town! I couldn’t believe it.

I quickly messaged her and we caught up for dinner. It was so lovely to catch up and share stories.

We said our goodbyes and as we were leaving, Riley saw Frank, an American we had met in Las Herrerias, so I had a quick chat and left the two of them. It was nice for Riley to have the confidence to stay.

Looking forward to more of these types of days.

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