I have asked before, but I ask again: what are YOU doing this summer vacation? Because I am literally CLIMBING MOUNTAINS over here!!!
Today’s walk: up. Up, up, up, up. The steepest hills imaginable. Then suddenly O’Cebreiro in Galicia. The mist was swirling around and the town was so mystical looking, with lovely Celtic music playing everywhere and people all excited.
I had walked for about two hours with a group of people: Trevor and his dad, Greg; Vicky, the American social work professor; and Maribel, a Spanish woman. Maribel deserves mention, because she cheered us on through those first hours. She entertained us, she corralled us when cars were approaching on the road (she was particularly concerned that Trevor and I kept walking in the road – and about four cars passed in those two hours!), and she gave us all nicknames. She couldn’t say Trevor, so he became Tom. I somehow became Bébé, which I think was more a reflection of my name than character traits (here’s hoping!). Greg was Papa, which just made us laugh every time.
Just before the really steep ascents started, we ran into our Australian friends in a lovely reunion. Once the steep climbing began, I slowed way down and everyone else went on ahead. Vicky stayed with me, though. I told her she could stay with me as long as she promised to go on when she got tired of waiting. But she said it wasn’t safe to leave me alone with my asthma, and I was grateful for her company. She was a cheerleader all the way.
After our first ridiculously steep climb into La Faba, we gratefully sank into seats at a bar and pulled out our guidebooks. Oh – we had gone from 700 to 900 metres of elevation – wow!
And we had to go up to 1300 metres. Oh.
So, up and up and up again. A stop at the next village. Up and up and up, and into Galicia! And then the top! As I said, what a lovely village, and so ethereal in the mist! I was going to take a selfie standing in front of the valley so you could get a sense of how high we had climbed, but first went to see a statue. By the time I got back, the mist had swirled into the valley. My selfie is me with a wall of white behind.
After a lunch stop and a quick look around the tourist shops, Vicky and I hiked on. The path went down out of O’Cebreiro and then back up. And then up and down and up and down… Until finally up to the highest point in Galicia. And then we got to walk 3 more kilometres to our destination, all downhill. Hip hip hooray!
Ten hours of walking today. 30.7 kilometres. I would estimate 75% uphill.
What a day!