Today was a day of major accomplishments. Big things. We entered a new province – the province of Galicia. We are now in the last week of our journey. If all goes well we will arrive in Santiago a week from tomorrow. We are within 100 miles of our final destination. “Just 100 miles left!” It feels strange to say that! It was also a long day of more than 18 miles with a big uphill component. But we planned and executed it pretty well. We are glad to be here, and will head to the evening mass and the Pilgrim Blessing in a bit.
It was also a day for small things. Some small things really bugged me. I was prepared for all the uphill, but hadn’t anticipated all the flies that gathered around us. I suspect it may have had something to do with all the horses (and their poop) on the trail. Sounds like a small thing, but for a bit it had a big impact on us.
Then there were some other small things with a more positive effect. The “artisanal” bakery that provided us a marvelous lunch in a delightful setting. We planned an early lunch because of the big, long climb and this place did not disappoint. (Fried eggs and ham sandwiches are definitely underrated food items.) Another small but delightful thing was an uphill walk through the shady forest of chestnut trees. I have memories of chestnut trees from my youth. I always remember that after breaking open the prickly exterior of the chestnut how smooth the brown skin of the actual nut is. Chestnuts also remind me of my dad. I remember him roasting and eating them, especially at Christmas (“chestnuts roasting on an open fire”). Must have been an Italian thing…
Other little things also gave us energy. Eating a banana at the top of a challenging hill. A scoop of fresh water from the local water source. Finding out that after visiting the 10th Century church in O Cebreiro that our room for the night was only steps away. Small things bring so much goodness to a day.
Finally, and this is not such a little thing, we are getting our first real taste of the beauty of this region of Spain.