Day 21: La Faba to Triacastela

What a wonderful day to leave Spain. Yep,  as we haven’t yet reached Santiago de Compestella, that was Frank’s surprised reaction, too! 

Actually, our location it is a matter of opinion. That is to say, we have officially entered the autonomous region of Galicia which has its own language, distinct culture, separate history from Spain, and other unique attributes. Similar to other autonomous entities within Spain such as the Basque Country and Cataluña, Galicia is home to a group of separatists who believe it should be an independent country. While we have been cautious in referring by name the place we are now traversing, the Galician independence movement is much less fervent and popular than in other regions. Sadly, we now find ourselves in one of the poorest regions of Spain and one that relies almost entirely on tourism – independence just wouldn’t work too well for Galicia. 

A last look back onto “Spanish soil.” We already see the green hills so iconic of the northwest.     

Mikey had to mark the crossing with a picture.  

While Frank was happy to have made it into Galicia, he was happier to have reached the day’s summit!  

 The Iglesia de Santa Maria Real dates back to the 9th century and is one of the oldest buildings on the Camino. It is one of the first sights as pilgrims enter the Galician outpost of O’ Cebreiro. 
   

 Guess what time we arrived in O’ Cebreiro?!

 As with many Galician churches, rather pronounced austerity separates it from similar-sized Spanish examples. This is a bust of Father Elias Valiña Sampedro. He was the local parish priest who played a lead role in restoring the Camino and popularizing it in the late 20th century. 

According to local lore, the priest of O’Cebreiro talked some road workers into providing him with yellow paint which he used to mark the Way of Saint James from France to Santiago. These yellow arrows are still used today in directing pilgrims. While Frank and Mikey have a guidebook, more often than not, these markers are all we really need. Thanks, father!

Speaking of signs, Mikey’s mouth began to water at the sight of this one! If you can’t tell, pulpo is Spanish for octopus – a Galician delicacy and favorite of we seasoned travelers.  

As we near the object of our pilgrimage, Camino markers are much more plentiful than at the start. 

We stopped for a rest with another pilgrim. This medieval traveler looks out over the vast mountain region of Galicia while Mikey looks wearily at all the hills we have yet to climb. 

   We definitely had clear skies for our introductory walk in Galicia.   

Although the main roads were rather warm, there were several segments that meandered through wooded areas like this. 

  
One of the more thrilling aspects of the day was Mikey’s close encounters with a few natives. Please note that Mikey lives in Los Angeles, so anything more exotic than a small dog is kinda rad. (Oh, and eat your heart out, Jack Hannah!)

  

 
 Well, moooving along….we ended our day in Triacastela where we got our first taste of Galician soup. More to come on regional food and our trip to Europe’s oldest and largest monastery. Hasta entonces. 

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