The great thing was that my extra slow pace on this grueling day allowed Mark and Barbara to catch up after a week. We all stumbled into a weathered miedeval pub in the mountains at a remarkable village named O´Cebreiro and devoured some local food from the newly entered province of Galicia for lunch. I had a very hot stew of pork ribs and carrots and felt completely confident I could find something to do for a living and stay here rather than continue climbing.
I guzzled some agua con gas at the pub and caught a glimpse at a flat screen TV that was on the wall. Images of Michael Jackson were flashing and the word muerte was there in the banner. Muerte, muerte? Then when I saw a picture of an ambulance I determined what muerte meant. Not long after, there was a clip of Farrah Fawcett as well – again the word – muerte.
I felt a renewed since of appreciation for my life and suddenly didn´t care so much that I had hours of more climbing. Still slow but all the while thinking of the many remarkable things I have to be grateful for, I finally reached the stopping point at Fonfria in the early evening.
High in the mountains with the aroma of fresh, moist cow pies every where you turned, I checked into the extremely crowded alburgue. With only a few makeshift spaces left to sleep, Mark asked if I wanted to pay a bit more and see about getting a double room that was available.
We both jumped at the chance and I loved having a private shower after that day.
With nothing else in town, we sat at long tables and ate family style; vegetable soup, and hunks of meat and clumps of potatoes – yes, you read right hunks and clumps, making me wonder if they slaughtered those cows right out back. The Galecian wine tasted like vinegar but the local dessert, a torte made of nuts, powdered sugar and spices was delicious.
Free from a night of “auditorium” snoring, I savored the chance to sleep well but my brain had other plans and I was an insomniac for most of the night. The hunks and clumps probably contributed for there was also a bit of heartburn starting and I propped my pillow and sleeping bag up behind me to help ease the discomfort. Still, only catching minutes of sleep at a time, it was a long lingering – and, oh yeah, with all those cow pies – a muy fragrante night.