Arrival in Galicia

Saturday: Molinaseca to Villafranca, 31k
Sunday: Villafranca to Laguna, 27k (+1k getting lost!)
Monday: Laguna to Triacastela, 25k

Alternative title: HEY COW!

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The walk this morning up and over the mountain marked my entrance into Galicia, the final region of my journey. The landscape is simply stunning – green and lush. However, the views come with the price of steep climbs and frequent mist and rain. I’ve taken to keeping my raincover on my pack at all times, and my raincoat in easy reach.

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Melissa, Mandie, and I stayed together in the albergue in Molinaseca, but since then, I have been enjoying walking mostly in silence soaking the scenery, and only occasionally strike up conversations with the other pilgrims. I have also taken to spending a few more euros each night to stay in the nicer private albergues,  so I have found new and different company in the evenings. In Villafranca I cooked dinner with a kind Canadian woman who had been laid up for nearly 4 weeks with various injuries in different cities.  I was very impressed with her tenacity; Im sure I would be on the beach or in Italy by now if something similar happened to me. I am grateful that I have not had to deal with such a dilemma, as my body has been holding up remarkably well since Carrion (knock on wood!).

I was thrilled to run back into Simone, our Camino fairy, who I assumed to be far ahead of us, as we had not seen her since Burgos.

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She encountered me napping on a bench as she was walking past with her new companion Carlos, who took the above photo. According to Shirley McClaine, every Camino has a love story, and Simone has certainly fallen into hers! I was thrilled to be able to share a pilgrims dinner with her and yet another older Canadian woman named Lotus in Laguna. Lotus was quite the character – she is a homeopath, and this is her second Camino — but her first Camino fully clothed, as being barebreasted is just “her lifestyle”. I can say I am glad to have met her on this Camino, and not her last. 

I hope to soon be able to capture on film the motivation for this post’s alternative title. Several times as I have been walking up winding mountain paths, I have encountered local farmers herding their cows in a line directly at me, with the aid of a sheepdog, but my camera had always been tucked swaying my pack. The cows walk single file down the path so close past pilgrims that you can reach out and touch them. It is both surreal and mildly frightening, as they have very impressive horns. In addition to cows, I have spotted sheep, donkeys, horses, many dogs, and the occasional friendly cat, such as this cute little guy who I was very tempted to put in my backpack and take with me.

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A shout of “HEY COW” from behind is also how Melissa, Mandie and I signal that we want the other two to stop and wait up for us. I was happy to use the call this morning when I spotted them ahead of me on trail after not seeing them for nearly 48 hours. We are all staying in Triacastela tonight, and plan to arrive in Sarria tomorrow. Sarria marks the last town pilgrims can depart from and still receive their Compostela, as it is just over 100k from Santiago. We have been warned to expect a big increase in pilgrim traffic – but only 6 more days to Santiago!

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One thought on “Arrival in Galicia

  1. Hey Katie,
    I’m not sure which is the best way to communicate with you…blog reply or e-mail. Non the less, I have looked forward to each entry and have greatly enjoyed them. We’ll have lots to take about as most of my travels including India have been as an independent person. The people you have met sound wonderful. Sorry you had one bout of illness.
    All is well in Charlottesville, The leaves continue to turn yellow and fall. The mornings are cool yet the afternoons are pleasant. I did some star gazing this morning as a did a 6:00 a.m. mock 5k time trial run with the Boston Bound group. I’m one of the few runners passing on Boston Marathon to do the Camino next fall. Have you met anyone who has begun the Camino from Le Puy?
    I spent last week in NYC. The theater was my favorite as I saw Wicked and The Book of Mormons. As exciting as the city is, I much prefer the life style of the country.
    Continue good walking. The end grows nearer.
    linda

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