August 19, 2008 O Cebreiro to Triacastela

Since we’d made the climb to O Cebreiro I was pretty certain the most difficult part of our camino together was now behind us. I was wrong for two reasons.

First, the walk after O Cebreiro continues down, then up again to Alto de Poio. The last km or so is just as steep as anything we’d experienced the day before. We were rewarded by a bar/cafe at the top where we grabbed a cafe con leche and a croissant, then we headed to the pilgrim statue at the summit and enjoyed the beautiful views under bright blue skies.

Second, the walk down to Triacastela is a hardcore descent. The endless pounding of foothold to foothold was merciless and now Gail faced a new challenge using a completely different set of muscles. Our 21 km goal to Triacastela was a light day for a pilgrim accustomed to walking, and I assured Gail this walk would get a lot easier after the first week. This cheered her up and, after several hours we arrived at the outskirts of Triacastela. Gail waited at a bar/cafe as I searched out a hotel.

It took me some time to find a place for us and while I was gone Gail delighted both in the rest and in the sights of the pilgrim river flowing before her. She recounted odd stories about a pair of girls pulling a trailer with an umbrella and a small dog on it. She told me later about a man walking backwards in a kilt. And she described a pleasant conversation she’d had with an Austria named Christian.

I brought her back to the hotel I’d found, which came equipped with a washer and dryer in the basement. Gail rested as I did our laundry and then we found a quiet restaurant for dinner after which we put ourselves to bed, Gail hoping the walk would become more fun and I hoping Gail would have patience with me, the one who’d dragged her halfway across the world for a painful and difficult hike.

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