39. I Can’t Tell You…Don’t Ask…

INMATE of a mountain-dwelling,
Thou hast clomb aloft, and gazed
From the watch-towers of Helvellyn;
Awed, delighted, and amazed!

Potent was the spell that bound thee
Not unwilling to obey;
For blue Ether’s arms, flung round thee,
Stilled the pantings of dismay.

Lo! the dwindled woods and meadows;
What a vast abyss is there!
Lo! the clouds, the solemn shadows,
And the glistenings–heavenly fair

Last night we ate lasagna and it was sooo delicious!  We stayed in Hostel Oscar as we’d read that the albergue had been closed for bed bug fumigation.  As it happens that wasn’t the case but we were happy with our choice.

Today everything I’d read said be careful with the arrows.  The rail link changes are at their worst on this stage and many folks report getting lost or adding additional kilometres to an already long walk.  We prepared… we did not want to get lost.

The guide says walk through town on the main street… yep. Then as it opens into a main square you will see two routes and two shells… take the route to Laza… do not go to Verin!  Well we searched for these two shells but could we find them… no of course not.

We obviously looked lost (or stupid) because a police car pulled up beside us. The chap said lots to me which I didn’t understand so I showed him the map… he took my phone and played around with the map… handed it back and said aqui, aqui y aqui… it seemed pretty straightforward.  I smiled my best smile and thanked them very much and we set off.

We weren’t  on either of the two routes described in the guide and without ever seeing those two shells we somehow managed to join the camino a kilometre out of town… we checked that we were on the road to Laza and then we followed the camino without incident or problem for the next 20 kilometres.  So if you want to know the way just ask a policeman!

Our guide had said a gentle incline… my guess is that this was just a loose way of saying it’s steep… let’s just say my thigh and bum muscles are burning right now and my guess is we walked several hundred metres uphill today but oh my what a day.

We had a sunrise and it was fabulous. We met a new pilgrim too… he is German and called Chris and he was walking with a local guy from A Gudina who was simply out for a walk… the local guy of course was called Jesus.  Chris and Jesus stopped for 5 minutes and chatted.  They shared roasted chestnuts with us and Jesus told us that they are the symbol of Galicia… which I didn’t know. They wandered on and we put our boots back on and followed… but they were quick so we soon lost them.

We walked through several tiny villages and across roads and trails.  Most of the time we walked up but occasionally we walked down.

We stopped for lunch beside a row of deserted houses… there were two benches in the sun which had our names on them.  Lunch consisted of a cheese bocadilla and a couple of lemon biscuits washed down with water…  simple fare but it went down a treat.

We walked on and before too long we bumped into Jesus again.  he was jogging back home for lunch.  He asked us if we’d like to live here… I said maybe not but I would come back… which he seemed happy with.

On and on and on we walked… another couple of villages and we were almost at our destination.

So what is it that I can’t tell you?  Well I simply can not describe how beautiful our walk was today .  I can’t explain the majesty in these moutains… the blue blue sky reflected in the lakes… the green green velvet hills that rolled away into the distance… the red rocky soil. .. the granite… the slate… the ridges and  craters. .. the birds high in flight… the smell of pine and woodsmoke…  the knowledge that wolves live in these hills alongside deer and boar… there is nothing that I can write that could ever do justice to this amazing walk… and my photos simply can’t show this enormous, beautiful, captivating landscape.

We reached the top of the ridge and we found Chris enjoying his lunch and a rest in the sun.  A few minutes later we were at the top and heading down a ridiculously steep trail. In places the path had been washed away… possibly by the recent rain.  We picked our way down slowly but surely and we’re now settled in the little albergue in Campobecerros. There are double bunks so I’m hoping that not too many pilgrims arrive as I don’t intend to share mine!

Today has been one of the most splendid of camino days… you should come visit… its breathtaking.

6 thoughts on “39. I Can’t Tell You…Don’t Ask…

  1. I’m looking forward to the photos – sounds great and probably like the camino frances in 2005.
    Not too many pilgrims until Ponferrada and lots of variety of landscapes.
    Gives me “envie de la faire – cette via plata”.
    You’re obviously in the last few etapes euphoria!!! automatic legs and nothing-can-stop-us-now attitude!
    Enjoy it!


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