Today we left the small mountain village of La Faba after a fairly hectic day coming from Villa Franca with various hill climbs and downward scrambles. Villa Franca is a beautiful village set between the hills and the owner of the alberge we stayed in (Ave Felix) apparently started the first modern-day alberge by opening up his home to pilgrims and offering them accommodation and meals for free. I am not sure whether we understood this correctly from the one hospitalero´s explanation, but the owner, Jesus Arrias´s photo is up on the walls all over the dining room and we were also served by him (or close relative!) in the evening. I´ll have to Google this to verify facts.
We had a very basic but filling meal of pasta, fried egg, bread, salad and cherries at the alberge – just enough strength for the day´s walk. Somehow between myself, Sybil and Brigitta (from Hungary) we chose option 2 of the Brierley book for the day´s walk and started off with a steep walk up the hill with stunning views of the valley below, followed by an even steeper scramble downhill on the other side. From there on it was even walk along the side of the main road where we were passed by Marieke on her way to Sarria with a lift from the alberge. She saw the doctor the day before and his recommended 3 days´ rest to get her feet back into shape. She is now in Sarria waiting for us to catch up. We will also be joined by Calvin and my sister, Leonie in Sarria, arriving by bus from Madrid. The end of yesterday´s walk was a fairly steep walk up the hill again ending at a lovely alberge in La Faba. Wow – what a find! Such a friendly welcome by the hospitaleros – a man from Holland and lady from Germany. Wish I got their names. Got a photo though. They invited us to attend a special meeting in the church at 8pm the evening after dinner. Our dinner party ended up being another wonderfully memorable international affair with two South Africans, one Hungarian, two Germans, one Danish lady and one French Canadian. But we all spoke English and had a great dinner!
The meeting time in the church was absolutely awesome! It was lead by one of the local Franciscan monks (wonderful, gentle person) and the hospitaleros did the interpreting. We had a foot-washing opportunity and I was privileged to represent the continent of Africa together with four pilgrims from 3 other continents – South America (Colombian), Europe (two Germans), and North America (Canadian). It was an amazing experience and one on which the impact would be very difficult to ever explain. It was just a really special moment shared by our group of about 25 to 30 pilgrims. I also had a chance to play on the Dutch hospitalero´s guitar and that was great!
Today we continued up-hill from La Faba via O´Cibreiro on a fairly long day´s walk (or so it felt!) to arrive in Triacastela this afternoon at about 2pm. It was cold, cloudy and very windy today although no rain. If felt like the cold set into our bones!! It was also the day for encountering an assortment of farm animals in the small villages along the way. Horses, cows (messing up the streets!), cats, dogs, chickens, etc etc. I hope to post some more pics once I get the chance again, so that you can see the little villages´ streets. We are really experiencing rural Spain in all its splendour! 🙂
I also had to really check myself that I don´t get too irritated (mainly from tiredness) with the arrogant cyclists racing past the pilgrims on the very narrow footpaths!! Nearly attacked two with my walking sticks this afternoon. It was a long day! Can´t say I need a holiday as I´ve been having it!
Must close off – time running out. ADIOS ALL!!!!