Sunday, June 20, 2010
Camino lesson #4: Everyone's truth is not the same. We met the Dominican sisters again at a bar in La Faba, one of the small villages on the way to O Cebreiro. As we sat having coffee before the final 4km climb to the top, I asked them how hard the path would be. Mercedes laughed and said, "It depends on who you ask. If you ask one of the people who just got off the bus in Villa Franca, and still has the kitchen and bathroom sinks on their back because they think they need them, it is very hard. If you ask someone who went over the Pyrenees, and has already sent the 5 kilos they realized they didn't need home, it's easy!" With a wave of her hand, she said,"It's easy!" And it wasn't bad at all. I don't know if you can tell by the photo, but the views are magnificent, and we are very lucky to have a clear day to see it all. It is a strange experience to enter the town from a rocky dirt track and come upon a bustling town full of buses and tourists. There are a lot of senior citizens walking around with peregrino staffs and scallops, soon to hop back on the bus and go down the mountain again, I suppose. I asked Maitreya what it is like in Sarria which we will enter in a few days, and is the entry point for many peregrinos who want to walk the minimum distance to get a compostela. She said there will be many "sportifs", people in clubs who are very fit and fresh as cucumbers. She said when they walked the camino in 2007, when she and Mercedes came in to town, one of the "sportifs" got in front of them and started running backwards. He laughed out loud at them, called them "turtles" and asked them if they really thought they would ever get to Santiago. She said it really hurt to be called turtles and she cried on her sister's shoulder. But she is wiser now and doesn't let that stuff bother her anymore.
O Cebreiro is a pilgrimage point in itself. Here is buried the man who was very prominent in bringing the camino back to life. His name is Don Elias Valina Sampedro, and it was his idea to mark the camino with the yellow arrows that have guided us all the way. We will soon go to the church and pay our respects.
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