Little Things and Big Things – Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro

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.

Author: Jim Zazzera

I find myself thinking about the past, wondering about the future, and doing my best to live in the present.

6 thoughts on “Little Things and Big Things – Villafranca del Bierzo to O Cebreiro”

  1. Jim, you are so right. Life is all about the small things, and sometimes we cannot see that until they are right in front of us. Thank you and Lena SO much for sharing your journey with us. It is inspirational in ways you cannot imagine.


  2. You are living the “it’s the little things that count” saying. Fried eggs and ham on a bagel were our favorite lunch treat after a morning of skiing at Heavenly, definitely not underrated by us. It is a beautiful country, thanks for sharing the pics.


  3. Jim and Lena — Following your walk vicariously through your daily reflections and wonderful images in pictures and accompanying words has been a spiritually refreshing experience from eight or nine time zones away. Your selfie today with the Galacia sign behind you is one for your family wall of fame. The picture in the barrel ceilinged chapel is especially striking with the crucifix shadows on the stone wall making three crosses with the one in the center bearing the body of the lifeless Christ. May your final week on the Way be one for your spirit as your path leads you to the Cathedral and your certificate of completion. Welcome to Galacia!


  4. Beautiful countryside. Sometimes the one fabulous big thing or all the great small things make up for the nasty bad things. It’s amazing that you are almost at your destination. How exciting yet maybe a little sad that the journey is almost over. Thank you both for the journey with you, it’s been amazing. Buen Camino 💞


  5. Less than one week left. Hard to believe! I hope you have noticed how much more you are seeing the “small” things as you travel along. Your observations are different than the first part of your trip—much more sensitive and observant of details. What an accomplishment and gift as far as quality living. It is a joy to read your reflections. And, yes, those chestnuts are an Italian (Scranton?) celebrated thing. Joe’s father cherished roasted chestnuts every fall and Christmas.


  6. Thank you for sharing this journey with us. Your photos and reflections have been such an inspiration. Now with only a week left in this journey, I expect it will never really leave you. That humble 10th century church is my favorite photo of all! The way the lamplight is cast on the crucifix creating 2 shadow crosses on either side of our crucified Lord. Beautiful in its simplicity. Peace to you as you go.


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