Traveling Nancy

Traveling around the world as far as I can go.


Hospital de la Condessa to Triacastella

How do I express how delightful it is to wake up and walk in the early dawn on the Camino? We passed over the highest point on the Galacian part of the Camino. In the distance was a blanket of fog throughout the valley.

There was fog forming in Galacia.
I met up with the woman who had danced with me in Rutelán

Woman who danced with me

When I arrived at a bar in Villovak, (about 12km from Hospital de la Condessa) a man came out and told me that I still had the key to the private room. The woman had driven all the way there to find me, but couldn’t wait any longer. So she described me to the people in the bar. Those men had taken a photo of me some days before so they remembered who I was. Sure enough, the keys were in my pocket. Yikes. That was actually my second silly brain fade. The first one was in Acebo when I actually put both socks on one foot without realizing it until I started looking for the second sock.

When I arrived in Triacastella, I met up with Maggie and Martina again.

Maggie and Martina

We decided not to say in the municipal albergue. Instead we found a great Albergue (Albergue Aitzenea) that was an old restored house. The owner started to put us in one room and then said, “three mujeras” and moved us to a room where he was going to put only women. He did all of our laundry in the washer and the dryer for 10 euros.

Tonight’s pilgrim blessing at the small church was quite the story.

This is the church in Triacastella.


There was a small church in Triacastella

Maggie, Martina, and I went into the church.  The priest indicated with his hands that we were to move up towards the front of the church. Then he mentioned that we needed to move over on the benches so that 4 people would fit on each bench. As more people came into the church he made them move up towards the front. Then he said, “English” as a question. I thought he was asking how many people spoke English. But when I raise my hand, he told me that I needed to come up front on the altar. I should have known why he was asking.  He gave me the English portion of the Mass to read. Then he brought up others who could speak Spanish, German, and (I think) Italian. Most of the people in the church were having a bit of a laugh because he was making some jokes in Spanish that we thought were about Pilgrims falling asleep in church. Anyway, after we did all the readings and he conducted the Mass, continuing to make some jokes, it was time to take communion. Since A group of us were up on the altar, it was our turn first. I put my arms across my chest to indicate that I wasn’t a Catholic (something I was taught at a previous Mass), but either he didn’t understand or didn’t care.  He put the wafer into my mouth. There I was – a Jewish Unitarian Universalist – taking communion during the High Holidays, no less. Then we read the, “Pilgrim Blessing,” in all of the languages. I loved this experience. It is the Mass and Pilgrim Blessing that I will never forget.

We ate dinner in a great open restaurant.

Restaurant in Triacastela

By the way, Triacastella stands for the three castles that used to be there, but we’re all distorted and there is no more evidence of them ever being there.


Ruitelan to Hospital de la Condesa and the Horses

I think I already said that dinner was going to be great because the cook was singing when he cooked. Carrot soup, salad, and pasta all tasted fantastic. But the best was yet to come. The man sitting next to me was a professional singer, but he was reluctant to sing. Then somebody handed a guitar to Connie, a woman from Washington D,C.. She began to play and we had a fabulous sing-a-long. I have video of a couple of the men and the cook singing. Connie could play anything if somebody just started humming the tune. Another woman and I even began dancing as we sang.

We were all having such a great time. I keep getting overwhelmed with wonder at how there continue to be so many amazing experiences on my Camino.

This is the narrow/steep staircase to our sleeping quarters.  It was a bit of a challenge in the middle of the night.

Staircase in Ruitelán

Luis, the owner told us that he would wake us with music at 6:30 and that no one was to get up before that. It was nice to know that there would not be pilgrims waking up at 5:00 to leave early.  They woke us up playing Ava Maria.  What a treat.
The ride, yes I mean ride, to O’Cebriero: it was not in a car, train or bus. I had heard about the horses to O’Cebriero someplace before I even got here. The 10 km. walk is the steepest (about 500 meters) on the Camino. I knew I was capable of walking it, but I thought it would be a great adventure to ride a horse. I just didn’t know where to find the horses. Then about 5 km. Before Ruitelan I saw the sign that said, “Need to ride a Horse to O’Cebriero?” with a phone number.  I didn’t need a ride, but I wanted one. I called and was told that he wouldn’t take 1 person, but would let me know if he got 2 more reservations. I was thrilled to get his call at 6:30 last night. He said to walk to his place in the morning at 9:30.

This morning was another cool (4.5 Celsius) morning. I went out for breakfast and was so excited to find Eva from Spain, Anita & Stefan from Sweden, & Patricia and her brother from Mexico (all people that I have met already within the last 10 days) at the place where the horses were being saddled. The cost was 30 euros plus 5 to taxi my backpack. It was a great decision. My horse, Carlota, was fabulous and easy to ride.

Nancy's Horse

All I had to do was to sit in the saddle and occasionally stop her from eating grass on the side of the trail. Instead of watching my feet on the rocky parts of the steep trail through the mountain, I got to watch the views. Carlota and I were the last and a bit behind the others, so it sometimes felt like riding on my own. I was smiling, laughing, and singing out loud most of the way. Victor, the owner of the horses walked as we rode. Sometimes he held onto the tail of one of the horses so the horse was pulling him.

Victor Holding the Horse's Tail

We stopped a couple of times to let the horses drink water and rest. We really weren’t riding any faster than the walkers were walking, but because we were up high on the horse, we had better views.  I saw Loretta and Marlin along the way.  I guess it is obvious that I think I made the right decision to ride.

Nancy on Horse

This is Eva.

Eva and Horse

When we arrived in O’Cebriero, I had a wonderful bowl of kale soup and went to visit the church.

Church in O'Cebriero

Then I decided to walk on for a bit instead of staying in O’Cebriero. It was already after 1:30 so I decided to only go 5 km (passing the Monumento de Peregrino at Alto San Rogue)

Monumento de Peregrino at Alto San Rogue

to Hospital de la Condesa. It was a bit disappointing to find out that the municipal albergue was full so I paid 30 euros for a private room. I had an ice cream (actually 2) with three women I had met yesterday at Pequeño Potala in Ruitelán (Maggie from Australia, Martina from Germany, and Alessia from Italy). Even though it was a private room and I had paid 30 euros, I had to do my wash in the cold fountain outside in the back of the building.

Washing Clothes in Fountain

As I was washing out a couple of  items a few cows were being led down the street – another fun Camino experience.

Cows in Hospital de la Condesa Maggie and Martina and I had a delicious dinner and then I  took a wonderful shower using a real towel before going to sleep in my private room.