Thursday, June 25, 2015

Amigos de Santiago on Camino -- Day 1 Triacastela to Furela

Day 1 of the Camino and I woke up early and with much trepidation -- what did I get myself and my amigos into? A 134 km walk sounded daunting, particularly for unfit, unready me.

But it was too late for second thoughts.  Putting myself and my amigos in the hands of  Santiago, we set off in the still cool Triacastela morning.  

First of all, I had to make sure my little henro was on board for the journey.  This is a little 
wooden charm of a traditional Japanese pilgrim, called a henro.  I found him on a pilgrimage 
to Koya-san, most sacred Buddhist mountain in Japan.  He would be my good luck charm, 
looped around the strap of my trekking pole.   Together, we would walk and finish this Camino.

A few hundred meters after we started, I came upon this shoe placed on one of the ubiquitous camino markers we would see all throughout the way.  Someone had written on it -- Santiago or Bust.  I took as a sign from Santiago -- whatever happens, we would get to our goal!

Day 1 took us from Triacastela, passing first through the small village of  San Xil.  We saw this lovely stone chapel along the pilgrim road.  Unfortunately it was still closed so we were not able to get our sello or stamp for the day.

The scallop shell is a symbol of the Camino. Along with yellow arrows and camino markers, scallop shells guide pilgrims along the way.  We came upon this giant scallop in front of a water trough and surprise, surprise,  we met a fellow Filipina,  walking the Camino by herself.  She quickly became an honorary Amigo.

The scenery along the way was just breathtaking.  Galicia is known for its lush greenery --  due to the cooler climate and frequent rainfall.

The uphill climb on the first day was gradual and as I took frequent short breaks to catch my breath, the view uplifted my spirits as well.

These centuries old stone farmhouses blended so well with the backdrop of rolling hills and woods.

I was completely awestruck by the marvellous Galician countryside.  I kept stopping for photos and that kept me well behind everyone else.

The cloudy morning made for a cool walk -- which certainly helped me as I huffed and puffed along.

Part of the walk included climbing the Alto de Riocabo and we moved onto dusty paths.  Beautiful yellow blossoms called Scottish brooms lined our way.

Halfway through the walk, right in the middle of nowhere, it was a surprise to see  this familiar vending machine signalling  that it was time to take the pause that refreshes.

There were benches and a long table -- time to bring out the various "baon" ... energy bars, nuts, candies, cookies ... you name it, the Amigos had it!

Then it was time to press on -- now through more dirt paths and tree lined narrow walkways.

Cows would be a constant presence, particularly in the early days of the walk.  I always marvelled at how fat and contented they seemed to be.

We crossed a pretty little stream, stepping over a stone path.  The cows watched us, perhaps hoping one of us would take a dunking and they'd have something to get excited about.

We made it to the 120 km mark!  At Triacastela, we had started off at 130 km so we were now 10 km closer to Santiago de Compostela.

San Miguel Beer!  There was much joy and exultation at the thought of a cold cerveza at the end of the 10 km walk.

We stopped at Casa Do Franco,  a charming albergue with food and drink for passing pilgrims.  Of course most of the pilgrims would be going straight to Sarria but for the Amigos, this would be the end of the walk for the day.

The long slate table was a picturesque spot for our al fresco lunch at Casa do Franco.  The scenery certainly helped improve our appetites.  Whatever calories we had expended after the 10 km walk were definitely replenished by all the cafe con leches we imbibed.

My little henro looked on, enjoying the cool weather and the lush green views around him.

We were also observed by this quiet and friendly perro -- who looked quite puzzled at the merry making of the Amigos.  Who were these noisy, laughing people -- were they really peregrinos? 

No comments:

Post a Comment