The Man with the Yellow Arrow


Friday, July 8, 2016
Las Herrerias to O’Cebreiro
Day 38

After breakfast, I settled down to work on catching up on my blog posts. The WiFi wasn’t very good, and I found it very frustrating. I couldn’t get anything to upload. I gave up after a while. I have my travel journal, and so long as I keep that up to date I can always catch up on the blog when I arrive somewhere with good WiFi.

After lunch, we took a taxi to our next stop on the Camino, O’Cebreiro. This is a very old, tiny, quite famous village, thanks to a miracle that supposedly took place here. Michener wrote about it; he had a wonderful, mysterious, and somewhat scary experience here.

O’Cebreiro is also the highest point along the Camino. I’m glad I didn’t have to climb the hill to get up here but instead was able to ride on four wheels in comfort. Not a very pilgrim-like thing to say, but the truth. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

At the hotel, I was very disappointed to find out that there was no WiFi whatsoever. What a bummer! To assuage my resulting bad temper, I went out to visit the local church, Santa Maria la Real.

Santa Maria is supposed to be the oldest church on the Camino, dating all the way back to the ninth century, when pilgrims first starting trekking to Santiago. The church is very simple and plain, but beautiful. I bought a postcard of its huge twelfth century baptismal font. By the looks of it, new Christians got a full immersion in the baptismal water rather than just a sprinkling of water on the forehead.

I wandered into the side garden where busts and plaques honoring Father Elias Valiña, the Spanish priest who re-popularized the Camino in the 1970s, have been placed by Camino associations from around the world. (See Chapter 21, “Father Elias Valiña,” on page 108.)

I searched for a plaque, or memorial stone, or other monument from APOC, but could not find one. Back at the church, I asked the clerk on duty at the small shop selling religious items whether there was something from America in the garden.

“No, there isn’t,” she said.

“Why not?” I asked. “Americans make up the largest national contingent walking the Camino. We should be represented.”

“I don’t know,” she replied.

“If APOC offered a plaque for hanging on the wall, would it be welcome?”

“Of course. As you can see, we have items from all over the world.”

It made me sad that we Americans had failed to offer homage to this remarkable man. I’m going to ask my Houston chapter leaders why not, and maybe post a query on the APOC website.

James says we are eating too much. He’s right. On days when we walk a lot, eating big meals is fine, but on days like this one when we are mostly physically inactive, we need to cut back. We decided to skip dinner.

3,793 steps today

See more photos at July 8: Las Herrerias to O’Cebreiro


Author: Camino for Boomers

I am the owner and editor of Bayou City Press in Houston, Texas. As a Foreign Service Officer, I lived and traveled all over the world for 33 years. My new book is "Savoring the Camino de Santiago: It's the Pilgrimage, Not the Hike."

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