Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jose Antonio Garcia

Some more thoughts from Tuesday night in O'Cebreiro, population 50. . .

Before I forget yet again, four days ago we passed through the hamlet of Manjarin, population ONE!

Lots of cow bells surround us as we are back in farming country.

On the way up the steepest part of the mountain today, when I was dripping with sweat and dead tired, I looked up to the top of the path and saw the Blessed Virgin Mary's outline urging me to the top. When I got there it was actually a woman names Isabel, a native of Madrid who has lived the past 25 years in Miami, Florida thus making her a Cuban. She is walking the Camino with her daughter Lucia. Still. . .

I should mention David and Michael from Canada who are traveling the Camino, and life I think, together. Both are good hearted guys who add a lot to our group's dinners and shared Camino experiences.

O'Cebreiro is the top of the world in these parts and treated us to an incredible sunset tonight.

O'Cebreiro to Triacastela
20.7 km/12.9 miles
Time Walked, 5:35

Total Distance Walked, 655.4 km/407.3 miles
Total Time Walked, 158:13
27 Nights in Albergues, 153 Euros

Distance to Santiago de Compostela
143.2 km/89.0 miles

Team North America was out the door at 7:00 a.m. sharp minus Greg, Kim and Ruth who all decided to stop yesterday in La Faba, five very rugged kilometers behind us. We should all meet up again today at our destination city, Triacastela, population 900. Also in Triacastela we were reunited with Ste. Trine from Denmark who has been ill for a few days now since we left Astorga and rode on a bus to catch up with us.

It was easy to identify the new walkers in the morning who are just now joining the Camino. They are the ones who reek of BenGay and walk funny.

Lots of cow manure on the path today accompanied by fly colonies. I'm getting used to the aroma again.

We walked through beautiful mountain side farms today where I half expected to spot Julie Andrews spinning around singing "The hills are alive. . ."

Along the way in a random medieval village, a woman was giving out crepes to peregrinos sprinkled with sugar for any donation you were willing to give her. Best investment I've made to date on the Camino!!!

We passed a guy walking the Camino in the opposite direction this morning wearing a lycra Halloween skeleton outfit. I thought it was death coming to get me but no, it was just another goofy Spaniard having fun.

I need to mention two more of our Camino mates, Keeley and Anna from Portland, Oregon. Two fun loving girls with a passion for life. Today Keeley passed me going downhill running!

I had lunch today with Julie in another of these truly ancient Spanish bars. I can't get enough of their food or ambiance, just wonderful places to hang out with friends.

We now have added Homer and Avital to our entourage. They are from Israel and started their Camino in León. Speaking of Israel. . .

That brings us to one Jose Antinio Garcia. In Villoval today, on my juice break, we met this incredible peregrino. He started this latest pilgrimage in JERUSALEM! He walked all the way to Finisterre which is three days past Santiago de Compostela and is now retracing his steps and needs to walk into Rome by December 24th when the Pope will receive him!

Jose Antonio showed me a copy of the newspaper "La Voz de Asturias" from earlier this month that did a front page story on him claiming that the several pilgrimages he has taken in his life have taken him over 9,800 kilometers!!! Jose Antonio is from Andalucia in southern Spain and definitely made me feel humble at our now relatively meager accomplishments.

That being said, WE BROKE THE 400 MILE BARRIER TODAY!!! Only six days and 89 miles to go.

Vamos Bien!



David said...

I'm wondering if you've doubled the mileage walked during your life on this trip. Great job ... looking forward to seeing you on your return.

steveswindle said...

Jose Antonio Garcia is AMAZING!!!!!
Puts your stroll in perspective, no?
Keep up the good work and savor these last kilometers, you'll be home and back to the rat race before you know it.
Which got me to it difficult for you to adjust to being back in America after being gone for so long?
I know for me it was....the pace of life just seems so fast compared to Europe.
And Spain sounds like heaven to me....lucky dog!!!!

George said...

Can't wait to get home and, yes, it is a little hard each year to return to the American pace of life.