From Melide in Galicia, Spain
June 11 - Melide - Day 35
Stops since last update in Molinaseca: Villafranca del Bierzo - La Faba - Tricastela - Sarria - Pontomarin - Palas do Rei - Melide
Distance walked so far: 769 kilometers - 476 miles
I have divided the original Melide page into two, this one updating from Molinaseca to Melide and another from León and Molinaseca. This new page includes several items not in the original page because I was more interested in walking and eating pulpo (octopus) than in updating this web site then. Now I write from sunny Desert Palm Springs in an 80-degree breeze when the rest of the country is getting ready for the snow and ice of winter. It is almost exactly one and a half years since I walked into Santiago. And though I have long since ended the Camino de Santiago, we have continued to travel on what is surely a pilgrimage to find the truth and sacred in our world. So enjoy the additions.
As on the original plan, the following pictures are mostly in an order as I took them walking down the camino.
In Ponferrada the Knights Templar built a castle. It still stands as a testament to those ex-crusaders and their descendants who felt called to protect the Pilgrims who passed here and to take part in clearing the Moors from Spain.
Ponferrada begins the wine country of the Bierzo. This valley vies with the Rioja region of the east for the best wine. Both had great vintages. I tried many. This vineyard borders the Camino as do many others.
A house and its vineyards near Villafranca on the western edge of the Bierzo region. It looked like a fine place to spend part of a lifetime.
The old merchants's center in Villafranca. The Camino passed here. What were once prosperous shops and upscale homes with coats of arms are now but shells of buildings with decaying interiors and For Sale signs on the outside. Nothing is permanent.
The Camino climbs steeply above Villafranca taking us on a journey over the mountains just for the joy of the walk for we could easily pass up the valley without the thousand-meter climb.
Villafranca from above with the lower camino path through the valley below. This is the end of the Bierzo region that begins only at the far hills in this picture.
On top of the mountain chestnut orchards were filled with ancient trees.
After a night in La Faba and a long morning walk up the mountain, I arrived in mid-morning at the Galician frontier and this impressive stone. Markers counting off every half kilometer began just before the border. The one nearby said 153.5 kilometers (95 miles) left to Santiago. If you want to see my face more closely than the above picture, click here .
Looking back towards León from O Cebreiro just inside the Galicia-León border. O Cebreiro ("February") is so named because at 1450 or so meters (4760 feet) it is not only the highest but also one of the coldest and windiest places on the Camino. Hence the name after the coldest month. By here I had walked almost 680 kilometers (421 miles) and I felt a veteran indeed.
With all the cathedrals attracting the attention of many walkers, I was taken by the simplicity of this simple sanctuary in the village of Hospital west of O Cebreiro.
The Benedictine monastery of Samos, burnt out in the 1950s and now rebuilt, is residence to but a few monks. Beautiful paintings decorate the cloister.
Pack and stick at the back door often tell a pilgrim is visiting the church. This one is mine in Samos on Pentecost Sunday.
Galicia is a beautiful green. This is along the road west of Sarria. If someone were looking for a pleasant place to live and had the inkling to relocate, Galicia would be a good destination.
Flowers continue to line the road. This one dominated for a few days.
This sign tells Galician drivers to look out for us crossing the road. Most drivers were quite courteous often slowing to shout good wishes to us.
Stay tuned for more. Only 51 kilometers (30.6 miles) left till Santiago according to the kilometer markers. Much more to happen.....
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