Saturday, 14 May 2016

Camino Frances Day 8

The stop in O Cerebro in hindsight was the most picturesque. I wish I had spent more time basking at the magnificent view from the mountaintop. But I guess at that time the weariness from walking for 7 days had taken its toll; all I wanted was to just rest whenever I could.

I went to the chapel to offer some prayers and bought some post cards. Instead of eating dinner at a bar, I just decided to buy some ready to eat meals from the convenience store. Two packs of cold pasta and hard boiled eggs.

The municipal albergue in O Cerebro would have to be the best in terms of the view and design. The only downside was that its kitchen did not have any utensils - as if sending a message that cooking is not allowed.

The sleeping area was rather spacious and I thought it could probably sleep a hundred. A German pilgrim was looking for a partner to split the cost for his laundry. Fortunately it was my schedule to have my laundry done so I volunteered. The Laundromat required 3 euros for washing and 4 euros for drying - this was the normal rate for all albergues.

I stepped out of the albergue, a few minutes before 8am  the following day. It was a little late than my usual time although I didn't mind because it was still a bit dark.

The howling of the winds which might be normal in the area reminded of the typhoons back in my country.  The path was quite easy to follow as it just snaked through the woods and slowly descending.

It was still foggy in the morning and once again the lake scene of the Friday 13th came to me playful mind.

A cloud of fog came rolling though the hillside, I wish I had taken a video of it.  It was furiously streaming down the hill, like water cascading through a waterfall.

The scene from the mountainside was reminiscent of the path from the day before. Up in the distance I saw fields of green and brown.  

An hour of walking later I came upon a clearing with a prominent statue of an old man his right hand clutching a walking stick and the other hand holding the brim of his hat on the head. The pose was such to depict of a pilgrim battling the strong force of the wind. I was in Alto de San Roque, one of the highest points of the walk. The howling of the wings seemed like a storm was raging. I lingered a bit longer than usual just admiring the view - and took more photos than usual.

Along the way I saw an unusual sign. I was not sure if there actually was a place called “Sexo” (it means sex in Spanish). Probably a place for the nymphos? I chuckled. Or maybe the place was actualled called Seixo and the vandals did a convincing job by erasing the "I".

I stopped upon a coffee shop where a group of americans and British where also having their dose of hot coffee for the day. I recall the group staying in the same albergue in O Cerebro. Lo and behold I got to see O ren again, the Irish guy whom I first encountered in the albergue in Rabanal del Camino. I asked for a shot for posterity. He seemed like an interesting fellow. But sadly that was the last time I ever saw of him in the Camino. Maybe he finished it early. Maybe he chickened out. Or maybe he stayed a couple of days in one of the stop. But I pray that whatever purpose he had for the walk, he got to achieve it.

An hour of walk later the weather had turned bad. It was almost zero visibility and there was a heavy downpour that I was forced to take shelter in a bar by the mountainside. I recall this part because I was having some sort of a tiff with someone in WhatsApp.

The rain petered down after about ten minutes. I walked again, my feet was now soaked from the rain. Although I brought an umbrella with it was no match for the strong rain. My pants were already wet. I was now ruing the fact that I did not bring waterproof boots for the walk. The rubber shoes I brought worked fo me in the Camino Portugues, but it did not give comfort in this rainy scenario.  This was one of the most uncomfortable walks I have on this Camino.

Further I saw this Romanian girl ( I can’t recall in which part of the walk I first met her actually) but she said in a mocking tone. “People told me the camino should be fun. Well with this rain, fun it is”. There was hint of resignation in her voice but I knew and she knew that the only way to get through this undesirable situation was to get going and finish the walk.

I saw a sign indicating I had still 140 kilometers to walk. I don't recall already the sights along the way. Maybe because I had to hold my umbrella the whole time hence I was not able to take many pictures. The path would occasionally turn muddy and I abhorred it when I slosh my shoes across the mud. I recalled the advice of Christian (the pilgrim I met on my first night) to avoid getting my feet wet at all times. Oh well it was too late to worry about it now.

We have a saying in the Philippies “basing sisw”, wet chick and that was how I exactly felt.

I did not encounter any bars along the way that I finally had my lunch at half past 2. I ordered a hot serving of pasta Bolognese. Oh God that was perhaps one of the best pasta I have tasted. Or maybe it was just that feeling of being secure inside a warm bar while the rain was hammering outside.

If I had it my way I would have wanted to stay longer in the bar but then I knew I had to get going.  Around 3:18 PM I was along a steep sloping path when the winds have grown to its full might. It was so strong my umbrella was almost twisted by the its strength. It was no longer wise to have the umbrella open lest it would be mangled by the wind. So instead I made a makeshift raincoat by tearng holes on the garbage bag I brought, it was my most unglamorous moment but then at that time it was the only way not to get drenched. That had been my firsthand experience of the harsh Galician climate. Now I truly understand what they meant.

Fortunately at 4 PM I came upon Triacastela. Because I was so wet I decided to stay in a  private abergue. 

That was the worst walk for this camino.

Around 447 PM I saw a rainbow outside my Albergue. Perhaps it was an indication that the worst part was over.