Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Day Two: Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro

We started our day early, as we knew that it was going to be a long and difficult climb today. We had read and  been told that the first two days of our journey would be the most challenging and, of the two, the journey to O Cebreiro would be the toughest. We had a lovely breakfast of cafĂ© con leche, toast and Spanish cake and we headed off as quickly as possible, after saying our daily pilgrim prayer.

The beginning of the journey was flat and cool but we soon realized that the guidebooks hadn't lied - we were headed for a steep climb. What an amazing path we followed! The climb was steep, long and difficult. Along the way, we met so many people, traveling both on foot and by bicycle and neither seemed easier.  Waldemar gave a push to a few cyclists to help them on their way in the spirit of the Camino. Every person we met managed a 'Buen Camino!' despite their fatigue. We clearly were on the same journey, for different reasons perhaps, bit all headed to the same destination.

After much climbing, we finally stopped for lunch in La Faba, at a restaurant called El Refugio, which was operated by a couple who had traveled on the Camino and had decided to come back to run the restaurant and to serve and support the hungry, tired pilgrims.  One of their guests at their hostel had been staying there for three weeks. The Camino speaks to everyone in different ways.

After a final five kilometers, to total thirty kilometers for the day, we arrived at O Cebreiro, a beautiful medieval village which was full of relieved, happy pilgrims and a welcoming community.  We stayed in a lovely farmhouse with a home-like feeling and delicious country food. Our evening ended with a mist rolling in, almost obscuring the view of the valley. Who would have imagined that we would be complaining of the cold, given the heat that we had faced during the day? It was mysterious and magical to see the mist rolling over the valley. It was an ethereal experience to end an amazing day.

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