Kaspars’s diary of the adventure completed in spring 2013. Translated by Una.
It is April 24, 6 o’clock. Many alarm clocks in the dormitory start to ring. As it looks like a half of the pilgrims wake up at the same time as we, at 6 o’ clock. After a while we go to the kitchen where breakfast is served. But as it turns out we have misunderstood the owner of the albergue – the breakfast is at 6:45, not at 6:15.
The kitchen door is closed, so we go back to the dormitory. Some of us sleep a little bit, some – rearrange the stuff in the backpack. At 6:45 we are down again. And when the kitchen doors open we are the first who come in.
We eat a lot. There is everything we like – muesli, milk, juice, coffee, tea, bread. We can toast the bread with the toaster and eat it with jam and butter. There are no limitations, so we can eat as much as we like. And that’s why we with Edgars and Viesturs take our time. We were the first ones who came into the kitchen and also the last ones who finish eating. So, we leave albergue later than we planned, a little bit after 8 o’clock. Instead of 7 o’clock.
It is still cool outside. And as we are in the valley we won’t see the sun for another couple of hours. The road goes on and on towards the mountain. But today we know for sure – today we will go up the mountains. And we will be walking in the mountains almost all day. How do we know it? From the stories of other people who have walked Camino de Santiago.
The first 10 kilometers are easy, no mountains yet. We are walking and thinking: “When the hilly road will finally start?” But we walk and walk, we see the mountains in the distance but still we are on the flat road.
But first comes heat, then the mountains. It starts to be hot around noon. We understand that despite our early start today there will be a lot of walking in the hot sun.
People say: “You will eat a lot of bread, while walking Camino de Santiago.” Different kinds of bread, bread with bread, filled with bread and bread for the desert! When we read other pilgrims’ blogs we thought that they are exaggerating. But as it turns out… it’s true!
We understand it today, on the second day of walking, during the lunch. We understand that today will be one tough day and so we decide to have a nice, big meal in the roadside cafe before starting climbing the mountains.
We take a look at the menu, which is written only in Spanish. Viesturs chooses the burger and my mum also orders a burger, but different one. Me and Una order Spanish tortilla. We think of delicious tortilla – with meat, vegetables and a nice and tasty sauce. (I am writing this and laughing, as now, after almost three months spent in Canary Islands, I do know what Spanish tortilla is!)
Well, to be honest, the food doesn’t meet our expectations. Viesturs gets a sandwich. I and Una get a big baguette cut in half (horizontally) with a fried egg in the between. No meat, no sauce, no vegetables, just plain bread and egg. Oh, well.
At least my mum is lucky – she indeed gets a hamburger. It is a proper hamburger – big, with meat and stuff. While Viesturs and my mum eat their food we are choking on our plain baguettes with eggs. Eat that stuff and forget about it? Nah, this weird thing stays in our minds till the evening.
Now our stomachs are full and we continue to walk. As yesterday we got some sunburns, our bodies are a little bit more covered today – we are wearing long sleeves and pants. After 20 kilometers of walking finally the road starts to go up the mountain. And it continues to go up all the time. We see the road sign and understand that now it will be quite steep. As the road sign says – you need one hour to finish the next 2 kilometers.
We keep the same speed, and it doesn’t feel too difficult. Now we are on the top of the hill, on the asphalt road. But what now? A sigh shows that now we need to go downhill, till the river. We go downhill, cross the river and then again – road goes up the hill.
But this time it’s not as easy as it was before. Now we need to walk on the dirt trail with a lot of stones and also there are a lot of roots sticking out. Now it is hard. We go up and up, the path is becoming steeper and steeper. After a while we see that we are right next to the pink hill we saw the couple of hours ago.
We feel that we have earned a break, so we stop on the top of the hill. Some of us lay down on the grass, some – just sit. We enjoy beautiful views of surrounding hills. After 5 or 6 kilometers we will reach our today’s destination.
It’s so peaceful here. No shops, no cafes, no restaurants. Only few dozen cows and few cowherds. In such serenity we finish our last kilometers. We reach small village O Cebreiro. It is located in a very beautiful place – everywhere you look, you see mountains.
As here are no shops, we decide to eat in one of the two restaurants. We order a “pilgrims menu”, for 9 euros. Me and Una remember our today’s lunch and we start to expect them to bring baguettes with eggs, ha. But they bring us two delicious dishes, and the portions are big. When we think that we can’t eat no more, the restaurant owner (also a waitress) comes and asks what we want for the desert! After this we are full.
While others go to rest I decide to go for a walk. I walk to the highest peak in the nearest area and sit there for a while enjoying the amazing view.
We don’t have anything for the breakfast. And here, in this village, there are no shops. And restaurants are closed at 6 o’ clock, 7 o’ clock. But the next place where shops might be is 20 kilometers away from here. OK, let’s worry about it tomorrow. Today we are here and everything is fine. Let’s enjoy this moment!
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Author: Una Baufala
Una is a traveler and travel blogger from Latvia. Apart from traveling and exploring new places she loves to read books. And she adores cats. Together with Kaspars they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since October 2013. WeAreFromLatvia.com is where she shares her travel experiences.