I headed downstairs for a pre dinner glass of wine, and met John and Anne again. They were sitting with Al and his wife from the US who I had not met before, but they invited me to join them.
John and Anne I have met a number of times and I have joined them for drinks previously and they have joined us for dinner before so it was lovely to catch up with them again. Al’s wife works with drug users in the US which must be incredibly tough, and Al is building a sustainable house. They now live in New Mexico and it sounds like the middle of nowhere.
The 5 of us had dinner together in a dining room looking out over the hills and cows as the sun set! My morning alarm call was cow bells and mooing!
I decided to have a leisurely start to my morning since I only have a short day distance wise. It might be short but is is 9km and 800m so pretty much 1 in 10 for the whole walk. The views will be worth it I am sure and I am staying at the village on the top of the mountain at 1300m which should be lovely. I am still sitting at breakfast and it is almost 8.30am so I should move!!
As I set off I met a group of three women, one of whom, Joan I had met coming out of Pontaferada. I ended up walking with one of them for the first 5km. She is a recently retired primary school teacher. She husband has his own business financing farms and agricultural equipment. She is walking the camino as a transition from working life to retirement and to decide what she wants to commit to in the next stage of her life.
The first 5km passed very fast, it was a steep uphill but very beautiful, through a wonderful woodland and then views over the hills and mountains. We then reached a small village and since we were in no rush we both decided to stop for a coffee. There were a number of other people I recognised having coffee so it was good to catch up and find out how the last few days have been.
I decided to head on after my coffee, it was nice to have a quiet few km. The woodland had finished and the views were stunning, I have taken an excessive number of pictures again. I reflected that I am very grateful that I did not finish yesterday with this climb since I would not have appreciated it being too tired at the end of the day. This morning, the climb felt really pretty easy and I just loved watching the scenery change. If I get bored tomorrow I might pop down and back just to see it again.
Arriving in O’Cebreiro, it is a small village with a lovely church, a few hotels and albergue‘s and homes but overall it is very small, but the views, are just stunning. I wandered through town since my hotel was not yet open and up a hill on the outskirts of town, the views back over the town show a small but very pretty village.
I then headed back to have lunch and 3 Swedish ladies joined me. They are walking on a further 3km to the next village for the night but were having a large glass of wine before heading on. I felt a little slack with my lemonade!
After finding my room in a very cute little hostal I went to look round one of the shops before it shut and to get some water. Heading back I found John and Anne having lunch outside my hostal. We ended up having a couple of beers and chatting. Then Robin joined us and so we had another beer, good job I didn’t have wine at lunch!!
I have headed to my room for a quick shower and rest before mass at 7pm. It is the first mass I have seen in a while so I plan to attend. Dinner is served at my place until 8.30pm, which is most unusual, usually the kitchen only opens at 8pm!! Still, I should have time to get back and eat after mass.
The Church, Inglesia de Santa Maria Real dates from the 9th century and is the oldest church associated directly with the Pilgrim way. The church also marks the final resting place of Don Elias Valina Sampedro who was a Spanish Priest who worked to preserve the integrity of the camino and whose idea it was to mark the route with yellow arrows. I have just bought a little badge of the yellow arrow for my pack.
John and Vivian sent me a message today, they are back and feeling healthier and are off to look after their grandson today, it was lovely to hear from them.
George also messaged to say that he had dinner with Dawn and Jim last night before they headed off. He will arrive here tomorrow evening.
I have a rest day here tomorrow. It is a stunning location, just views, sunsets and rest! It will be a test for me, am I bored and end up walking or do I mange to relax, tour the church just chill out! We will see.