Stage 29, Oct 4, Villafranca del Bierzo to O’ Cebreiro, 30.1km, total time 8:15hrs

Most people tell stories about how the spirit of the Camino can make wonders out of the most miserable conditions. I have to witness how I could wake up and start my inner motion engine with a renewed intent and passion. Maybe it was the subconscious motivation to put in as much distance I could between myself and that messy Albergue, but I never felt so good and eager to start the Cebreiro stage, one of the toughest ending with a steep 900 meter hike at the end of the day.

As it happened already many times, the blinking of the fading morning stars, and the motherly kiss of Venus shining low on the eastern sky, made once more the miracle of setting positive expectations for the new day. No regrets leaving Villafranca, even if mentally I made a note to come back and correct the negative personal impression.

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My first hiking friend of day has been Don from New Jersey, a retired dentist doing the Camino with the wife Peggy, trailing and panting  a couple of hundred meters behind him. We went fairly ahead for some while till we reached a treacherous junctions with signage indicating contrasting directions. Don went right as this for him was the least risky option, possibly fearing the nagging from Peggy later in the day. I went off on the left with another two hikers. One was Suzanne from South Afrika, the other was Luigi travelling on foot from Rome. I started questioning him on his motives for a 2500km journey, and he started vomiting all his past life and all the mistakes he has done to motivate the wife to file for divorce and leaving him only with the underpants he was wearing. This was a long and captivating conversation that dragged us for 15 km at least.  I thanked him for sharing his story and experience, finally something deeper to meditate on.

Other climbers were suggesting to stop at the foot of the Cebreiro mountain and to attempt the summit the following morning. I was blessed with a good strength and determination and I am glad I finally made it to the summit on the same day.

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To celebrate myself I conceded finally the luxury of a double bedroom just for me only. It is amazing how good it feels to use a shower for as long as you want and leave all your stuff scattered around the room.

Even if was quite tired, at about 6:30 I took slowly the road climbing to the cross dominating the two valleys on both sides of the divider. I had with me a few other stones I have carried during the ascent from Villafranca to leave behind for other friends.

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As I was sitting down on the grass looking directly at the cross, on my left it was my past, with all what I have been through, on my right was the future for the next few days, with the road descending sweetly into Galicia and towards the end of my experience.

The peace that surrounds this place is incredible. Since there is no WiFi in this remote outpost, I am not sure about when I will be able to upload this update. However I am trusting my regained serenity and my renewed appreciation of my blessings and love to the wind, so that it may reach you anyway.

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In the confort of my 6.5 square meters I checked again and again my gear and quite happily I trashed about 350 grams of unnecessary stuff mostly toiletries for the just-in-case type of occurrences. I am still considering to trash the 350 grams of the sleeping bag. I believe I have still a lot if work to do on myself to let go of the false reassurances of the material objects.

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