Without a doubt, my favorite village of the Camino was O’Cebreiro. Nestled in the Cantabrian mountains at an altitude of 1300m, O’Cebreiro was the first town on the Camino that was part of Galicia. What’s fascinating about Galicia is that it has a heavy Celtic influence, which makes it incredibly different than any other Spanish region. There is such a strong Celtic presence because in 600 BC, the Celts invaded the region. Not only that, but because of it’s location on the French Camino, it has also been influenced by the millions of northern Europeans who have traveled through the town.
The town was constructed in the 9th century, which gave the town a very antique setting. The buildings were all made of stone and had never been reconstructed so the stones that we saw and felt were the same stones that were used in the construction. It is an absolutely incredible feeling to sit in the exact room that was used 12 centuries ago. However, with this sense of awe and admiration came the eerie feeling that the town had to be haunted. Talking about scary stories and horror movies at dinner didn’t help either. By the time I went to bed, I was completely convinced that I was going to be murdered by the ghosts that haunted the town.
The hike to O’Cebreiro was surprisingly not bad at all. Rachel and Mike both kept on talking about how difficult and steep the hike was. The hike was definitely steep and probably the steepest thing I had ever climbed, but the scenery that came along with it was beyond anything I have ever seen in my entire life. If a Heaven does exist, I believe the view from O’Cebreiro is what it looks life. I was surrounded by mountains and tasted the freshest air that could possibly exist on the planet. The entire hike was only 16km and took about four hours surprisingly enough.
Once the entire group arrived in O’Cebreiro, we gad a delicious Galician meal: Galician soup (it had kale and potatoes), tortilla de patata, and tarte de Santiago. After lunch, Dom and I visited the little church which supposedly holds the Holy Grail. I say “supposedly” because obviously no one knows for sure exactly what happened to the Holy Grail and there are many other places in the world that claim they have this historical artifact. Nonetheless, it was a very powerful to be in the presence of something that has such an impact on history and religion. After the church, Dom and I climbed a hill that overlooked O’Cebreiro. The view was absolutely breathtaking. I could spin in circles and I would be able to see mountains for miles and miles. It reminded me of Julie Andrews in the beginning of the movie, The Sound of Music. That is honestly the best way I can describe the view.
Although O’Cebreiro may be a little eerie at night, the culture, history, and scenery of this small village cannot be surpassed. Everything in this town is incredibly unique and would not be found anywhere else. I can’t wait to do the Camino again just to visit O’Cebreiro once more.