Route: Trabadelo – Alto do Poio
Distance: 28 km (Total: 595 km)
What another wonderful day it has been! We have been walking in the beautiful sun for the past 10 straight days. On top of it, recently we have been going through some very picturesque landscapes.
Today, after the first couple of kilometers along a barely used old road, we entered into a gradually changing surroundings. We could see some lush green instead if barren soil, grazing animals and changing architecture of the villages. Undoubtedly it was a sign we were nearing another Spanish province on our way, Galicia.
This stage looked like a record one in terms of elevation gain. The trail first went slightly uphill and after a few kilometers the ascent became pretty steep with sections of 30% + incline.
About 1 km before reaching the top of O Cebreiro pass we cross the border between the provinces of Castilla y Leon, after 16-day walk there, and Galicia.
Apart from changing landscapes I am intrigued by very frequently place directional sign posts to Santiago with very accurate distance info.
Once on the O Cebreiro Pass we find a very moving place. In XIV c. a local church saw a so-called Eucharistic Miracle. During the Transfiguration a doubting Franciscan monk who was saying the Mass saw how the holy bread and wine convert to human flesh and blood. That same monk mocked before the Mass a peasant who covered a long distance in a heavy storm to be there for the Eucharist.
We are so lucky that the church is open for us to visit.
Leaving the shrine I ask a cleaning monk in a hall for the Pilgim’s Blessing for the road.
Though most pilgrims choose to stay for the night in O Cebreiro while we decide to continue our journey. We wish to cover the longest distance possible today and climb all the remaining hlls still today. According to the weather forecast there is supposed to be a snowstorm in the mountains tonight. As we climb the steep sections it is hard to imagine doing this with a heavy backpack in deep snow and ice.
In the afternoon we come across an interesting monument of a pilgrim and a town with an intriguing name Hospital.
As if we had not enough of climbing today at the very end we have a very steep approach to Alto do Poio 1335 m a.s.l. It is here where we decide to stay for the night at Albergue del Puerto. We are greated by a welcoming host, Jose Antonio, and his huge dog Toby. Though it is pretty cloudy in the evening it is hard to believe a snowstorm is coming. Only a parked snow plough on the side of the road suggests this might be a serious weather transition.
We spend at thaht place one of the nicest evenings on our Camino. There are three of us, i.e. Henry, Juan from Barcelona and I. Two other guys, the snow plough drivers join us later as well.
Since we have so many interesting conversations and toast it is hard for me to switch off and work on this blog then or translate the previous post from Polish to English. Besides the internet is very sloooooow. So that’s how it should be.
At the end of the day my watch tells me that today we have climbed a total 1081 meters. It is like climbing the tallest building in the world in Dubai plus the Eiffel Tower to boot.
Meditation XXII. Power.
But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.
Lk 22, 26-27
Contemplating the topic of power according to people and Jesus I made an observation that pursuit of power is often the source of human endeavor. The human desire to be able to control others, different situations. It is valid for both the lay world and that of consecrated people.
Jesus puts this human approach to power upside down.
May my own motivation to serve other first overcome this ridiculous scrambling for being on top of things.
Using a restaurant analogy I think those who serve us there, i.e waiters, cooks, ultimately have much higher power over guests than any manager. God’s logic of power emerged to me in such an unexpected situation.