Villafranca del Bierzo to O’Cebreiro (Camino de Santiago)

June 1, 2012 Our room at the alberque only had four beds  and the sound of the river below an open window made the night’s  sleep wonderful . The morning started quite cool as we followed a paved road along the river for the first 11 miles of the days walking. We stopped twice for coffee. One of the cafes that overlooked the river (Rio Valcarce) had the most amazing fresh baked pastries, the highlight of the day for me. As we left the pavement  the path became a dirt trail as we started our 2300ft climb upwards into Galacia. The trees gave way to open hills with incredible views. Our cool morning changed dramatically as the heat became oppressive. A small lavender butterfly hovered around me and I viewed it as a good omen as well as a distraction from the heat and exhaustion. Nearing the top on another ridge we encountered a large group of German tourist who had been bused to the top and walked in front of us for a couple of miles where their return buses waited. I felt a bit of resentment at their fresh clean clothes and happy chattering dispositions as I stumbled along. I don’t recall how long it took to reach the mountain top village of O’Cebreiro but I was quite happy to be done. The one alberque (which had 100 beds) already had a long queue of backpacks and tired pilgrims. We waited over an hour in the sun to get registered and assigned a bed. I felt sick from the heat. Once settled, I took a nap, shower and found a small cafe/bar for an early dinner and several cold beers. Thunderstorms rolled through one after another unleashing waterfalls from the sky. At least it was cooler. During dinner one of my lens of my eye glasses fell out. The small fiberglass wire that held the bottom of the lens broke and there was nothing to hold it in place. It became a crisis as I really cannot see very well without them. The engineers, Mike and Tim, acquired a project. They took my clip on sunglasses and with a little duct tape were able to attach the lens, at least temporarily. The only problem is that I had to wear the sunglass lens and as night approached it was a bit difficult to see. Journal: ” Passed two elderly women dressed in all black walking along the road. A mile or so beyond a small village appeared and a weathered stone church beckoned. We entered the dark cold interior and appreciated the simple place of worship. A more pure place of prayer than the grand cathedrals of Leon and Burgess.”