Here are the promised picture that would not load from the last few days.
Over and over again I hear of the culture and people of Galicia. Santiago itself is in Galicia, the region boarder is crossed about 2 k from the top of the mountain at O’CEBREIRO. Since I worked so hard in climbing this mountain, I was going to enjoy this little village situated on top of the world.
Brierly states that, “The mountains of Galicia are the first object in 5,000 km that the westerly winds coming across the Atlantic hit, so expect a weather change.” Indeed, the wind was howling, the sun was warm in the day, and the winds were bitter at night. In addition, one could enjoy both the sunset and the sunrise over the mountains that seem to go on forever. Once again, I was on top of the world.
The adaptation to the environment had the people build huts out of stone with a thick straw roof. (When I get a stronger Internet I will upload photos.) The people here in the Ancares mountain region lived off the mountain land by farming, raising cattle, sheep and planting big gardens. They have one of the huts open for visitation. In addition to being part of the Camino, this cute little village is also popular with tourists.
The church here, Santa Maria la Real dates from the 9 th century and is the oldest existing church associated directly with the pilgrim way. It has administered to the needs of pilgrims since the “twilight of the first millennium.”
An earlier parish priest, Don Elias Valina Sampedro is buried here. Much of his life was spent restoring the integrity of the Camino, and it was his idea to mark the path with the yellow arrows all along the way. It was largely due to his efforts that pilgrims can walk the route today, especially without getting lost! Can I tell you how MUCH I love those arrows?
Today I spent much of the morning praying in the church. It was good to be there. I had tears of gratitude as my time here is starting to wind down. It has been an exciting journey! I also spent time just looking at the mountains and giving thanks, with Psalm 148 taking the lead. I gave thanks for this sacred time on the Camino that has blessed me beyond measure. I hope my writing this little travel journal has enabled you to join me on this journey.
Since I have been walking to Santiago, but I know I do not have time to get there on foot, tomorrow I will take an early morning bus so that I can at least see the church and the relics that I have been journeying towards; yet the journey has been so much more. It has never really been about the final destination, but rather it had been about the journey itself. It is always about the journey!
Yesterday the pictures would not upload. Here are some pics of the walk to Viana, the churches, and the Camino markers where people often add their stones. This was the first time I saw an area of written notes, hopes and dreams. The woman sketching was from Denmark. Check out the stack of hiking boots, which you always take off at the door of the albergue.
(The pictures won’t load today) Today’s 15 k walk with ok me from Los Arcos to Viana. I have now walked 150 k through northern Spain. When one doesn’t have enough time to walk all 80 kilometers, one must decide next st ps. It is decision time for me. Do I stay here and keep walking in hopes of coming back, or do I just mp forward finding some bus or train to help me out? Tomorrow I will decide. Most Europeans are purists. They walk until they must stop, then they come back and pick up where they left off. That will be more difficult for me.
So I have not spoken of spirituality along the Camino. One of the questions I ask fellow pilgrims is, “Why are you here?” Most of them are seeking, but they do not know what they are seeking. Maybe only 1/4 of them are Practicing Christians, if that many. This has been a great surprise to me. Most of them want to see the inside of the churches, but more for historical reasons.
Today I met Mark fro Colorado. Sadly, his son died of a heroin overdose five weeks ago. He is here doing the same thing that the father did in the movie “The Way.” Others are walking because they can, because it is here, because they have the time. I have met many “Camino junkies,” those who say it gets under your skin and you have to keep coming back. There have been several from western Canada and Washington state who keep coming back. Yesterday I met a woman from Washington state who is 91 years old and walking. She is sometimes taking a taxi to help, but that woman puts me to shame. (My Momma, watch out, maybe I will bring you next time.)
Today I walked most of the day with two German women whom I have befriended. (My German is improving.). As we walked down the road they began singing, “Singing In The Rain,” and no, it was not raining.