40 Days to Santiago — Day 29
Combing through my journals, I realized that I failed to write down a description of this day, so I’ll do my best to reconstruct it from my memory. With the aid of the Pilgrim’s guide and the benefit my consistent attitude to live in the moment while on the Camino, I am surprised to realize that I do actually have strong memories of this portion of the pilgrimage.
On waking up in Molinaseca, a few people from the group I stayed with decided to take a cab ahead — some for the purpose of resting before the steep climb up to O’Cebriero, and others with the intention of skipping it entirely. I had another plan.
I joined the group in the cab to the end of the next stage in the guidebook, hopping off in Villafranca del Bierzo. From there, I crossed the Rio Burbia and continued along a curving highway. I remember feeling somewhat nervous, as portions of the way followed the narrow shoulder of the road, but that it mostly wound through increasingly mountainous and tree-filled landscape.
I continued past a few small towns nestled in the curve of the road, and being in the sort of mood in which I simply keep walking until a place feels right, I continued past my original destination of Vega de Valcarce. When I arrived at Las Herrerías, a small village just a couple of kilometers before the climb up O’Cebreiro, I popped my head into a humble-looking albergue where I ended up staying the night. I don’t recall any other pilgrims being there that night, but I did have a lovely conversation with the young owner, a vegetarian dedicated to holistic living and working for the wellness of her pilgrim guests.
Her mother stopped in at one point — I wish I remembered her name — and I ended up taking a walk with her down to the creek that passed through town. I don’t even remember the details of her stories, but I’ll never forget the now frozen moment in time, dipping feet in the cool creek, getting a glimpse into a life — and many generations — lived in this small mountain town in Spain.
Sometimes, the specifics of our experiences escape our memories — but the people we shared those experiences with never do.
- Who are the memorable people in your life?
- If you could reach out to one of them and reconnect — who would it be?
- What’s stopping you?