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Monday, 24 June 2013

24th June Maeves Birthday

Last night was a lovely night spent in the square in Villafrance sharing good food and drink with friends, some old, some young.  This morning we left fairly early for the trek to Herrerias where we would encamp before the big push tomorrow to the top of the Galician mountains and the village of O Cebreiro. We could have gone over what is called the Dragonte route which is difficult, remote and poorly sign marked but we left that to the younger and fitter walkers. Our good friend Shane and several others have decided to do that route but even they got their bags carried on to their next stop. Our walk today was extremely hot and tiring. We passed through a variety of mountain villages. Our route followed the river valley and passed through Pereje where we stopped for a quick coffee stop. We then made our way to Trabadelo where we stopped at the little 9th century church and were fortunate to come across a service for the celebration of the feast of John the Baptist. The long road to Herrerias was very, very warm but we arrived by mid afternoon.  Where we are staying, El Paraiso del Bierzo, is about the best Posada Rural on the whole Camino. Mary and I stayed here last year and I am glad to say that our opinion hasn't changed and has indeed been endorsed by Austin and Pauline.. It is set in glorious countryside surrounded by high mountain ridges and would remind you of a Swiss chalet. Mind you the mountain ridges are a constant reminder of what is in front of us tomorrow. The big Camino climb into O Cebreiro. Tomorrow we break into the last 100 miles. It is hard to believe we have walked almost 400 miles and it has been your fantastic support, the support from fellow pilgrims and the support from within our group that has kept us individually strong. For the first time I feel that we will be able to complete what we set out to achieve and highlight the fabulous work of our designated organisations whilst at the same time offer some monetary assistance.  C.

Tomorrow is Colin's birthday.  He tells us there is an ancient and historic tradition of having your backpack carried by friends and family on your birthday, rather like the tradition in my family of never having to put coal on the fire. Seeing as tomorrow is a 10 km sheer climb, Pauline and I offered  to accompany his bag in a taxi, but apparently that is not the traditional route and we all know about traditional routes!
Happy birthday Maeve! You have been in our thoughts all day.  M.
pps. " if a pilgrim on his birthday doth travel then it is deemed that his fellow pilgrims on that day will his possessions carry."  This was an early Camino ritual I unearthed in an ancient manuscript.  C

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