Cold and wet – these two words pretty much sums up our 7th day on the Camino. But we weren’t going to let a little rain stop us, we can’t stop and we won’t stop. We would walk on, especially since we already arranged to have our bags transported to the small town of Triacastela, 20 km away.
We stepped outside, all decked out in our rain gear. The small town was already buzzing with pilgrims heading onto the road, ready to follow those little yellow arrows. The arrows would take us from 1,330 meters above sea level in O’Cebreiro to 670 meters in Triacastela.
Less than 5 km away we reached Alto San Roque, with a statue of a struggling pilgrim leaning into the wind. The rain and wind grew stronger, and we all joined the statue in its struggle. I was grateful for all the little Galician towns serving cafe con leche, it was the perfect way to warm up. I was grateful that each town was less than 5 km away, providing plenty of opportunity to rest. I was not grateful that each town welcomed you with the smell of horse or cow manure.
I got used to the rain, but I was struggling with the cold. It made my knees hurt and difficult to hold my hiking poles. 17 km later, we passed Alto De Poio, and reached the small town of Fonfria. We stopped at a bar and decided to cheer ourselves up with some cake. I had a delicious chestnut cake, and fresh orange juice. At the bar we ran into an Italian pilgrim that was having issues with her knees. Her red coat was soaked, and she was contemplating taking a cab to Triacastela. This would not be the last time we saw her.
We changed into some dry socks and went on our way. It was still raining, making the steep downhill from Fonfria to Triacastella a little tricky. Along the way we stopped for more cake in the town of Filloval. I had a delicious apple cake, and the famous Santiago Cake. In the corner of my eye, I saw a familiar red coat standing by the fireplace. It was the Italian pilgrim with the bad knee. She was just 3 km from Triacastella , but she said she couldn’t keep walking, she had already called her taxi. On the Camino it’s very important to listen to your body.
The rain finally stopped as we walked the last 3 km to Triacastela, we found our bags in a cafe outside of the Municipal Albergue. The front of the café was lined with pilgrim’s bags and it was a wonder that nothing was stolen.
The rain started up again as we were looking for somewhere to stay for the night. We spoke to a lady about getting a private room, and ended up having to take a short ride with her, to a place called Casa Olga. It was all very confusing, and went against our “don’t get in a car with strangers policy.” But in the end it all seemed to work out.
Olga was a lovely host, and the shared bathroom was very clean. I was grateful to be indoors, and to change into dry clothes. It was relief to lie there in my sleeping bag, dry and warm. There was no dinner offered, so we walked around town. We ended the day with a delicious pilgrim’s meal including soup and paella. The perfect close to a cold and rainy day. Tomorrow we would be heading to Sarria. We were closing in on Santiago. There would be no more possibility of quitting. The game is on!