O Cebreiro – Part III: Classtime

Okay.  Big day.

After some free time we met back in front of the albergue/restaurant Venta Celta to start our ambulatory class.

Our first stop: a palloza.  This is a pre-medieval dwelling.  One door for people, one door for animals, no chimney.  The smoke from the fire was expected to make its own way out through the thatched roof.


After the palloza, we visited the church, which is said to house the Holy Grail.


And now back down through town to our classroom in the sky, where we learned more about the region of Galicia and its history.


Finally back to Venta Celta, where we absolutely devoured our dinner.


Greetings from Galicia!

O Cebreiro – Part II: the town

Time for selfies!


Walking into town to find our albergue.


Eagerly anticipating lunch in a rustic setting.  (Our lodgings weren’t much more modern.)  This is our first town in Galicia:  we discovered the joys of Caldo Gallego (a hearty potato and cabbage stew that tastes wonderful after a long hike up hill), Tarta Santiago (an almond cake with frosted sugar), and O Cebreiran goat cheese.


Well fed, found our rooms, now off to explore the town:

O Cebreiro – Part I: the climb

Today we walked about 14 kilometers and climbed some 630 vertical meters.  Most of those vertical meters came in the last 7 kilometers.  But though the path went up and up, the view got better and better. The scenery was gorgeous.


Ready to go:


Follow the yellow arrows:


Up the mountain:


Almost there!


Showing proper respect for the hind legs of horses:


Emma is happy to have reached the top!


A short walk to Ambasmestas

Today was a short walk to Ambasmestas, unfortunately almost all on the pavement, and mostly in the fog.

We walked up the valley, following a river until we got to our albergue for the night.

Then we had a most excellent lunch!

Here we are at second breakfast:

Onward to Villafranca

Today was a wonderful walk through vineyards to Villafranca del Bierzo.

Second breakfast:

Jill and Kayla make a friend:

Slow but steady

Through the vineyards…

… and the town of Cacabelos.

Some local flavor.

Lunch at last!

The Iron Cross

On our 5th day walking we ascended to the iron cross, the highest point on the Camino Frances.

An early morning start.

Walking through Foncebadón, home of one of the Camino’s best second breakfast’s.

Hokies at the iron cross.

The road down to El Acebo and (eventually) Molinaseca.

On this day Molinaseca turned into Molina-mojada: it rained and rained.  But luckily all our peregrines were at lunch by then.


A Little Bit of Up: The Road to Rabanal

Today the way led out of Astorga and up into the foothills to the little town of Rabanal. A small town but of great importance on the Camino. This is our last stop before the Iron Cross–the highest point on the Camino Frances.

Hitting the road!

First second breakfast in Santa Catalina.

Now it’s time to walk past some pretty painted doors in stone houses.  Ready?  Go!

Then we stopped at the tiny town of El Ganso for second second breakfast:

Emma Dodd got to hold a hawk!

Finally we arrived at the town of Rabanal and our albergue:

Doing some laundry.

Ryan brought nothing but tie-dyed shirts!

Onwards to Astorga!

The way to Astorga led up some really nice hills. Great hills, wonderful hills. Then a plunge down a hill into the plain of Astorga followed by a steep climb up into town.

Getting ready to leave the albergue.

This was a stop along the way. There was fruit, juice and other snacks provided free for pilgrims or in exchange for a “donativo” (donation). Those of us who took something left a little something as well.

Annie and Jill take a well deserved break.

Kayla at the stone cross on the hill overlooking Astorga.

The Romans built the town at the edge of their empire on a hill with some hot springs. Later in the day we got a tour.

Walking to Orbigo

Today was a relatively relaxed walk to Hospital de Orbigo. They called it “Hospital” back in the day because a lot of peregrinos were hurting by this point.

Leaving second breakfast.

Arriving at the Medieval bridge to Orbigo. There is a jousting field on the plain below the bridge. Unfortunately we were a few weeks early for the jousting.

There are many old churches along the way. And most of them have storks nests on their steeples. (This is better than the power lines, which can get messy).

Dinner at the albergue.