Slogging through Clouds

Laguna de Castilla to Triacastella
April 27, 2015
8:15 AM to 1:40 PM
5 hrs 20 min for 23.9 Km
Moving average 5.7 km/hr


imageI cannot remember the last time my hands were so cold. Margaret knows that her hands were frozen like this at the end of our first day of hiking the Beaver Valley this fall. I don’t remember being so cold then; so, maybe my memory has erased that and will soon forget today’s misery.


Leaving Laguna

Margaret did not waste any time waiting for us as she was freezing. Though Casa Olga had a few advertising signs coming into town, there were no directions around two corners and up a steep hill to Olga’s once we were in town. Margaret asked a couple of people for directions, as we did ten minutes later. Since Margaret arrived at Casa Olga ten minutes before us, she had the first hot bath in our three foot long tub. I stripped the minute I was in the room and leaped into bed. Olga showed up with a hair dryer; so, Brian plugged it in for me and pushed it under the covers to thaw my hands and feet. Oh, bliss!

After warming, bathing and changing, we gave Olga our laundry and went downhill with a borrowed umbrella to Fernandez’ bar. We had ordered our full pilgrim meal deal when Kanji and Susie arrived. They joined us for a plentiful meal once they knew Fernandez had a room for them.

We dressed for rain this morning in spite of the forecast that indicated showers and thunderstorm at 3 PM with mostly cloud until then. We had the cloud and fog. We were walking surrounded by clouds and those clouds were pouring or drizzling water on us all day except for two minutes. I wore my gloves until morning coffee but they were then soaked; so, I could not bear to put them on. Ten minutes later my hands were freezing; so, I put my merino socks on my hands. I sure wished they were the kind with toes. It is hard to grip poles with socks on my hands. As my sock mitts were getting wet I withdrew my hands and poles inside my poncho. Then my good husband would give my poncho a jerk now and then to reposition it so that I could see. The poncho kept twisting sideways. It’s extra hard to get a handkerchief out to blow your nose with sock mitts on!

Forget about the camera! I did not take many photos. My hands were too cold, and it was too complicated. For most of the day we could not see more than fifty metres. I studied the ground a lot. It was rocky and muddy. The good news was that for the last five kilometres the path was more fine gravel than rocks and mud. This was the big descent of the day, from 1200 metres to 620. Brian was pleased that his knees were pain free with such a big descent. He is certain that he could not have done this without limping three weeks ago.

We continued to ascend to O’Cebreiro after leaving Laguna. We actually had a breath taking view of our surroundings in the first kilometre before we reached the clouds. We arrived in O’Cebreiro, excited about seeing inside the ninth century church, the oldest on the Camino and one which Peter and Kristin said was a “must-see”. It was closed. We peered in through the bars to the dark church. Nada. We will rely on Peter and Kristin to send us the prayer to La Faba that they saw there.

There were many unique stone dwellings, most with slate roofs but also some round ones with thatched roofs: palloza. We saw a couple of these in Laguna, still being used for farming purposes. Of note, all the metal garbage receptacles had the print of a witch on them. They made me smile on a dark day.

Last night we had the pleasure of seeing half a dozen cows at a time being herded past the inn door, being brought in from the pasture for milking in the village, maybe in the palloza! then back to pasture. There were a few ‘cow drives’, by a man in blue coveralls and baseball cap on horseback past the inn. We found it quite humorous that there was a sign in the bar stating that you were not allowed to remove your boots for hygiene reasons but everyone walked through the mud running with cow dung into the bar.

We are back in our room in Triacastella with munchies and rum and coke for Brian. Margaret is looking up rules for three person card games. We are tired of the ones we have played. We wish we had our Hand and Foot deck but no one wanted to carry in the backpack the five decks required for play.

The forecast is for sun tomorrow then a week of rain. We do not believe forecasts much but we are now in Galicia, the rainiest part of Spain. Apparently the song about the rain in Spain being mainly on the plain simply is not true.

According to our guide, we will be in Santiago in 133.8 kilometres. According to the concrete markers that have been every kilometre since arriving in Galicia, we have 129 to go. The book warns that the markers are not always accurate.



  1. Prayer of La Faba

    Although I may have traveled all the roads, crossed mountains and valleys from east to west,
    if I have not discovered the freedom to be myself,
    I have arrived nowhere.

    Although I may have shared all of my possessions with people of other languages and cultures,
    made friends with Pilgrims of a thousand paths,
    or shared Albergue with saints and princes,
    if I am not capable of forgiving my neighbor tomorrow,
    I have arrived nowhere.

    Although I may have carried my pack from beginning to end and waited for every Pilgrim in need of encouragement, or given my bed to one who arrived later than I, given my bottle of water in exchange for nothing, if upon returning to my home and work, I am not able to create brotherhood or make happiness, peace and unity,
    I have arrived nowhere.

    Although I may have had food and water each day and enjoyed a roof and shower every night,
    or may have had my injuries well attended,
    If I have not discovered in all of that the love of God,
    I have arrived nowhere.

    Although I may have seen all of the monuments and contemplated the best sunsets,
    although I may have learned a greeting in every language or tasted the clean water from every fountain;
    if I have not discovered who is the author of so much free beauty and so much peace,
    I have arrived nowhere.

    If from today I do not continue walking on your path, searching and living according to what I have learned;
    If from today I do not see in every person, friend or foe, a companion on the Camino;
    If from today I cannot recognize God, the God of Jesus of Nazareth as the one God of my life,
    I have arrived nowhere.

  2. Your post today reminds me of a stay in the Stafford Hotel opposite the railway station in Stoke-On-Trent in 1989 – although it was mid-June and (unlike your situation today) quite pleasant outside, the hotel room was so cold that I was soon shivering. I could find no control for adjusting the heat in the room (the Stafford was built c.1849, and apparently was never updated despite the invention of central heating). But I did discover a hair dryer in the loo. I wound an elastic band around the handle to hold the spring-loaded trigger in the “on” position – et voila, fifteen minutes later the room was defrosted. Good times. I’m sure in future you will in fact forget this day’s misery and look back with fondness on even the way to Triacastela!

  3. Here is where we stayed last year:
    San Mamed del Camino – Paloma y Lena Albergue: Beautiful rural views. Good vegetarian dinner. Lovely garden and covered outdoor sitting area. Breakfast is serve yourself but minimal. Very welcoming. Good wifi. No heat. We recommend it.

    Mercadoira – Mercadoiro Albergue: Private room smelled of sewer gas and we would not recommend it even thought it had a heater. We plugged the drains and it was OK. However the Albergue was virtually empty so it would be very pleasant to stay in the bunk area. Dinner and the common area is in a separate building which is very pleasant. Dinner is excellent, breakfast is basic. No wifi. Village has a population of 1, which is the Albergue owner.

    Ventas de Naron- Casa Molar: Large clean bright room with shared bathrooms. Only two shower/toilets for 20 people, so a little challenging. No heat. No wifi in room, only in bar. Dinner OK but shared with everyone in the Casa, so lots of fun. Dinner from 6:30. Breakfast at 7:30. We recommend it.

    Pont Campana Mato- Albergue Casa Domingo: Rooms located in a working mill 150 metres from the main dining/bar room. Very scenic river location. Heated! Private washroom with shower with ample hot water. Fixed menu dinner which is ample and nutritious. Traditional breakfast from 7:30. No wifi. We recommend it.

    Arzua – Carballeira Hostal: 100 Metres north of the Camino. Quiet clean rooms in apartment type building. No heat! However restaurant is the best we had on the Camino. No breakfast, but available on the way back to the camino. We recommend it.

    Arca O Pino-Pension Arca: Wifi good in room. Shared bathroom with 3 other rooms, but adequate. Very helpful owner. Nicely decorated and comfortable. Close to main street and restaurants. Breakfast included but we left early so cannot comment. We recommend it.

    Santiago de Compostela-Hotel Pazos Alba: Large room, bathroom with full sized tub. 50euros. In room wifi. Very helpful staff. Close to Cathedral. Highly recommended.

    Hope this helps. We had rain most of the way to Santiago. Hope you have better luck.


  4. Loved the witch. Brian will have to start carving them when you come home. Still cold here but we painted the bottom of Trinity today. We are constantly amazed at your, including your leader Margaret’s stamina and good cheer. Not long to go!! C

    Murray and Cory McQuigge 339757 Kemble Bypass Rd. Kemble, ON, N0H 1 S0 519-372 -2336 E-mail: Sent from my iPad


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