Day 22: 36.1 kilometers with 2750meters elevation change!
Total: 707.7 kilometers
!!! Happy Easter from the Camino de Santiago !!!
This morning I woke up and felt a bit stiff. No worries because this amazing Albergue I stayed at had a girl that makes all natural remedy healing creams! I picked up on one and rubbed it on my ankle which seemed to help. I also took advantage of a cup of coffee and some toast. I left shortly after as the sun was rising. It was beautiful! I took the road less traveled mountain route with very few markers and signs and a lot more hills to climb up and climb down! It was the best decision of my life!
Leaving VillaFranca I climbed for 6 kilometers all the way up to 1000 meters as the sun rose with me. It seemed as if the sunrise was forever and it was so so beautiful!. I combed and climbed and the views kept getting better and better. I finally made it to Dragonte and I was relieved. I only saw a few almost erased marks in the road but I was in Dragonte and that was on the route. I saw a lady taking out flowers and stopped to talk to her. This was the beginning of an all Spanish talking beautiful day. We talked and laughed and the she showed me to a room just for pilgrims and gave me a rough guesstimate on the path from there. In the relaxation station as it was technically called there was a fire place and benches and just beauty. There was a map with walking times too which would be handy to know especially with everyone saying it’s easy to get lost out there on this route.
I headed out and found the rare old sign here and there and it was easy to follow. When I would hear dogs barking I was getting close to a village. When I was in a village I would always stop and talk to someone and tell them how beautiful it is here and they would smile and gladly give me more directions on where to go! Sometimes we would go inside their house and share stories over a cup of coffee. In the middle of no where pretty much next to some chickens and goats I walk in out of the woods and the people that lived in those villages were just so nice! My smile usually preceded me but still just such beautiful people in the world! One time I helped a guy get his donkey up a steep hill with some firewood and then went inside his house and we had a coke and talked. It made this tough day so much more amazing hanging out with the locals. I feel my Spanish is becoming better too because I was able to carry on conversations and also add to them!
Even though not many take this road I still left my hearts for those who did. Pierre and Olivia said they might be taking that way but I don’t know. I shall leave it any way because love is everywhere! I leave these hearts because I am in love This was such an amazing day! I only saw one more pilgrim on the mountain route and he was heading the other way. We passed and chatted for a second. When I made it up the next mountain I looked down behind me to where I came from and whistled at him because he was taking the wrong path. He stopped and turned around then stopped again. Then he started playing a trombone. I wasn’t sure what he was doing as in trying to communicate with me or just play to play! I didn’t know what to say! I waited and listened for a while and felt like he was trying to tell me something through song but I had no clue! I pointed again and then kept walking my way. I was on top of the mountain and he was in the valley and I could hear the trombone all the way until I crested the next mountain. I hope he found his way.
In the next town I found that there are a lot of hard working locals and then a handful of people from the city who have homes there that they come out to on the weekends or for a month here and there. It all looked nice but if I was to stay there I would stay with the locals or with the donkey in the barn.
I made it out of the mountains and joined the other route. I found a nice park next to a river and stopped. I dipped my feet in the water and pulled out yesterday’s pasta to have for lunch when Barto came over shouting my name! It was great to see him again! We chatted for a bit and he said he was done for the day and was staying there. It was funny because he said he didn’t see any hearts after VillaFranca then I told him I took the mountain route. We laughed a bit and then he headed off to the Albergue. My ankle started acting up and when I stopped it would hurt a bit more so I decided to move onto the next town. When I am moving I get lost in all that surrounds me and don’t feel anything! When I stop it sometimes creeps in and I feel a little sore but not too sore to keep walking!
When I made it to the next town I felt great! I grabbed an Aquaris and headed out to the next town. Aquaris is like Gatorade and hit the spot. Moving out to the next town I kept climbing. Most of today was climbing but it was fun. I made it to the next town quite easily and saw the dog and the guy that stayed at the same Albergue last night. Super cool! A few more familiar faces and I sat down for some water and then a beer. I was just 2 k aways from the final town before the top of the mountain. I stayed and chatted for a bit then headed out with about 2 hours of sunlight left.
One of the most peaceful memories comes next. An old guy was laying in the grass in a field just watching his cows. They were eating peacefully and he was sleeping the same. The cows bells jiggled when I came closer and he woke up and said hi. I wished him a beautiful rest of the day and to enjoy every moment and I continued on. I was in heaven on this walk! The views everywhere were amazing with the light of the setting sun. At last I was in O’Cebreiro and oh my! A very special church that says it has a holy grail that turned water to blood is said to be there and they had a big Easter mass. Many people there in this ancient little town. It’s the first city in Galencia and it is beautiful.
I checked into the huge Albergue there and found it quite packed. I’d say around a hundred or so people were there in this one big room. I quickly showered and headed out to see a bit of the town. Hunger struck so I went to the bar and ordered some Pulpo! Holy moly it was delicious! As I sat there I started talking to this German couple who were really excited about the camino. They have been doing parts at a time due to school and work and were going to come and finish in October. I think that is so cool. As we were talking a few guys came over and asked me why there weren’t any hearts! They all seemed to know me and I thought that was awesome. Then a lady came over and we talked and I showed her a few hearts from the mountain route today. She smiled and we hugged and kissed and she said she loves my photos and my hearts. I gave her myheelslapchestpop.com website and hope to hear from her soon!
With that I finished up eating and headed back to the Albergue before it closed. I got patted on the back randomly and it was my friend Richard who thought I looked like Jesus! We laughed a bit and talked and I said I would see him in the morning early again and then we both went to bed. Now I’m sitting in a huge room with 95 percent heavy snorers and farters! I hope to get a few hours of sleep tonight! Hope to get up early tomorrow and see the moon so until next time Pura Vida and buen camino and adventure on!