The lure of Santiago is growing stronger as we walk ever closer to the ultimate destination of our pilgrimage. We have been walking for almost five weeks and the approach of the end is on our minds more and more. It has been interesting that my concept of time has been changed while hiking the Camino. It is hard to imagine how long we have been at this. Days merge into each other and destinations with euphonious Spanish names become hard to remember specifically without referring to our guidebook. I can remember specific places and events, but the concept of a time line has become blurred. Time itself has become less important as we walk along. I know this will all change again once this pilgrimage is over and we return to our “normal” lives. I hope this will all become clearer and make more sense after I have had some time to ponder the entire experience after my return home.
Today we continued on to the town of Triacastela named after the three castles that once stood here but, alas, are no longer in existence. It has been a pilgrim refuge since medieval times like most of our destinations so far. Our way to Triacastela passed through a string of small villages as we descended from the heights of O’Cebreiro down to the lower plain where we are spending the night. The scenery, while reminiscent of the Pyrenees had an ethereal beauty of its own, especially in the morning before the mountain mists and clouds dissipated as the sun rose.
We crossed over a couple of mountain peaks at altitudes as high as 1,335 meters. At one such peak (Alto San Roque) we saw the large statue of a medieval pilgrim straining against the mountainous winds and looking out over the mountain scenery. We also began hearing the sounds of cowbells again – a sound we haven’t heard since our time in the Pyrenees. This time, unlike before, the bells were actually on the necks of cows. The region is known for its artisanal cheeses and the lush green pastureland provides an ideal diet for the truly contented cows we saw dotting the landscape.
Tomorrow we continue on to the town of Sarria. As noted before, this is where we begin to see the larger number of new pilgrims that will be joining us as we make our way to Santiago. Our itinerary indicates that we will arrive in Santiago in one week – exactly as we had planned so many weeks ago.