Camino de Santiago, Camino Frances, pilgrimage, Spain

September 28th, Day 27: La Faba – Triacastella ‘What’s It All About?’

Clouds part above O Cebreiro.

We wake up to the sound of heavy rain falling and even after my solid two hour nap yesterday afternoon, I managed to sleep pretty well through the night and avoided bed bugs once again. Tammy comes over to my bed shortly after 6am and despite our intent to get an early start, she says we shouldn’t rush because of the rain. Of course, I agree. If I don’t have to, I won’t walk in the rain. But today we have somewhere to be — we are meeting Gill in Triacastella, and therefore, we’re conscious of the time.

Galicia

I get moving around 7:30, head over to the kitchen for biscuits and coffee and chat with Bill and Jan for a little bit. We then head over to the church and pack up the rest of our belongings, and despite a break in the rain, put our ponchos on. It doesn’t look promising!

We clear La Faba and Las Herreiras in no time, but a thick fog, cold wind, and persistent drizzle sets in and accompanies us. Tammy is a few steps behind me and keeps commenting on how beautiful the landscape is, but all I can focus on is how lousy the weather is. BUT – it is beautiful. The landscape had changed entirely, and I feel like we’re in Scotland or Ireland, not Spain. The land around us is lush and green, and the rolling hills sprawl out before us, shrouded in clouds. Moments later, we pass a sign marking our official entrance into Galicia.

Braving the elements en route to Triacastella.

As we approach O Cebreiro, the wind is howling, rain is drenching one side of my body, and it is officially cold. We’re relieved to arrive at the village, which resembles something from medieval times. It’s charming, despite being more commercialized than what we’ve been used to on the Camino thus far.

We find a warm and cozy cafe, hang our ponchos by the door, and order hot chocolate. We dry off and warm up and try to send a few messages to the group so we can all reconvene in Triacastella. Moments later, Jennifer and Kyle walk in. We sit with them for a bit, and after about an hour, we decide to brave the forces again.

The conditions have slightly improved. It’s still cool and windy, but the rain becomes intermittent. The clouds begin to lift, and we’re afforded views of the land around us. It’s beautiful – stunning!

Homemade lunch in Fonfria

We walk another 5k to Hospital de la Condesa and stop for a drink. We run into Ale, and despite it still being late morning, she’s ordering a tinto de verano and insisting other pilgrims try her favorite drink. Jesse, Kyle and Jennifer are having lunch, but Tammy and I push on to the next town.

We realize when we arrive in Fonfria that we’re starving, and although we only have 9 kilometers left before Triacastella, we stop for a snack. We find a small bar/restaurant set on a farm and make our way to a table by a window. The wind is still whipping outside and we wave to pilgrims as they pass by. We order empanadas, and the family running the bar brings us homemade cheese with fresh sliced tomato. We order a couple of tinto de veranos. How nice it would be to call it a day, but we don the ponchos and packs one last time and begin the 9 kilometer walk to Triacastella.

It’s a pretty afternoon walk and the rain holds off for us. The sun is actually shining as we arrive in Triacastella. We cover the 9k in a record hour and a half, the cold wind helping us to increase our walking pace. As we cross into town, we see Ramon, Gill, Kyle and Jennifer in the distance. Jesse, Dima and Keren are getting checked in to the albergue. The original and entire crew is back together again- if only for a couple of days.

Kyle, Ramon and Jesse.
Tammy, Gill and me.

We check into a lovely albergue with a fireplace in the main living room and we all make sure we’re in the same room. We drop our packs and head to Xacobo, a local restaurant for some vino tinto pre-dinner.

We hear a little bit about Gill’s Camino, his time with his wife, and his feelings about returning home soon. He asks us all about our own journeys, and we all start to reveal how we are feeling as we get closer and closer to Santiago.

Me, Dima, Jennifer and Keren.

Jesse informs us how he has given up on making it to Santiago. His original plan was to cover as many kilometers as humanly possible each day in order to make it to the so-say finish line. But, he tells us his time with the group has proven much more valuable and important to him than crossing that proverbial finish line, so instead of increasing his daily distances, he will just stay with us for a few more days and enjoy the time with our Camino family instead. He says, “F*ck Santiago.”

Ramon and Tammy.

I’ve heard the arrival into Santiago is anticlimactic, and I tell everyone that I feel like I could stop walking today and still take away everything from the Camino that I had hoped and much, much more – that it’s not about Santiago, a certificate, or saying “I walked 800 kilometers.” I think for the most part, that sentiment rings true for everyone.

I’ve realized the Camino isn’t about the walking, the distance, the physical pain, the sellos, or the certificate at the end. It’s all about what has been happening within our Camino Family and within ourselves over the past four weeks.

Cuarenta.

I realize I’ve completed my physical and spiritual parts of the Camino now, and I will just savor the last four days we have to walk together.

We sit for hours, drinking, eating, ordering more vino tinto and eventually toast the night with Caurenta. We give no thought to the 18 kilometers that await us tomorrow.

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