Day 18: O’Cebriero to Triacastela (Sept. 28)

The DayWe Whined.

We have a system in place. The night before we read the weather and get our hiking clothes out and ready to throw on in the morning. We usually double check the forecast first thing in the morning to make sure we have enough layers on our bodies and then any extras that need to be packed in the most-likely-to-be-needed on the top of the backpack.

(The above is a lesson learned quickly when it starts to get cold, or misty, or you’re hungry and whatever it is you need is at the very bottom of the pack, which means you have unpack all the stuff at the top and set it most likely on dirt or rocks or ledges that have tiny, biting bugs that will decide to take up residence inside your pack and bite you later.)

The forecast for this day basically said cloudy, cold in the morning (no kidding—we were on top of the world in O’Cebriero— and then high 60s later.

When I say “cold in the morning” I mean the temp started with a 4. As in 47 degrees Fahrenheit. Hence our morning selfie was taken indoors whilst inside the lodging.

Bundled up to brave the cold on a new day.
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Day 17: Villafranca to O’Cebriero (Sept. 26) 31K

This was our longest, my hardest day EVER. We were leaving the wine country and heading up a river to the top of the world as we know it. The first 20K (12 or so miles) was mostly flat and followed the river. Gorgeous. The last 10K (6 miles) were essentially straight up rocky forest paths.

We arrived at the 20K town at 3 p.m. This is normally when we like to get to our final destination. Oh, no, not even close!

If you know me, you know how much I love water. This was our view and our audio the first 20K.
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Day 16: Ponferrada to Villafranca (Sept. 25)

True Confessions: Every now and then we stay in a real hotel. Typically in a bigger city, which Ponferrada is. This one is a Marriott property. Downside, no Pilgrim meal included, so we had to wander the town until dinner time. In Spain, that means 8 or 8:30 p.m.!

Today we head for the hills and valleys. The Bierzo Valley wine making district to be specific. Walking through a city is not our favorite thing, but Donna and I thoroughly enjoyed the vineyards. Until we “hit the wall” and were just ready to be done!

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Day 14: Rabanal to Acebo (Monday, Sept 23)

Oh, What a Beautiful Day…For the Most Part

Despite the cold, and the immediate sprinkles we encountered upon exiting our charming Posada lodging, we donned our rain gear with smiles.

Matching raincoats (that’s a story for another time) and matching buffs (from our Safari in February), we take our morning selfie. I was trying out a new system whereby I wore my hat under the hood of my raincoat so that I wouldn’t have to have monovision through the hood. It worked great. Just call me Sister Bertrille.
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Day 13: Astorga to Rabanal del Camino (Sunday, Sept. 22)

Uphill and Into a Head Wind ALL DAY LONG

When we left our hotel in Astorga it was 47 degrees Fahrenheit. No rain, but brisk. We knew we had a steady uphill walk from our walking notes, and for a while looked forward to generating some body heat.

Except for the wind. Blowing right in our faces the whole way. Uphill.

This is the “trip tick” we check every day to get an idea of how flat, up and down, mostly up or mostly down our walk will be. The walking notes said that today we would be making our way gradually [emphasis mine] up the foothills of the Leon Mountains. This picture makes it look like a stroll. It. Was. Not.
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Day 11: Leon to Mazarife (Sort Of)

The talk around the Peregrino table last night was who’s taking a taxi to the edge of Leon and who’s walking the whole way out of town. Walking through city streets is not our favorite thing to do, but Donna and I decided not to skip seeing the rest of the city.

Look what we would have missed if we took the taxi! Behind the Basilica we found this K marker. Our Camino from Burgos is 500K, so in the next day or so we should hit our half-way mark.
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