Day 35, Friday, May 17: Lago to Cee + a walk to nearby Corcubión (30.9 km, 19.2 miles)

What an absolute blessing this entire day has been! From start to finish!

For starters

  • It’s a small thing, really, but… last night, in our very wonderful accommodations, with our lovely and lively hostess, I set up my bed for the night and… my headlamp wasn’t where I always keep it. Darn! Had I left it behind in Negreira?… In the morning when I was packing up, I saw one little dark spot in the back corner of the locker next to my bed (in which we’d been encouraged to store our packs). Sure enough, the headlamp. It had fallen out of its designated pocket when I stuffed the pack into the locker. Not lost or left behind after all. Blessing #1
  • “Bizcocho casera” (homemade coffee cake) was one of the choices for breakfast. “Homemade”… perfect, because our albergue hostess really did make us feel at home. Blessing #2 (the good cake and the homey atmosphere and treatment). So much like home was this place that I was out of the albergue and had made three turns before I realized that I had failed to pay for breakfast. About turn and back up the hill. I ran into Cindy on the way. “What’s the matter? Is something wrong?”. “No, I just forgot to pay for breakfast, so I’m going back.” “Oh, my, I forgot to pay as well!” We weren’t the only two! I asked the hostess: “Does this happen every morning?” She nodded. “But most people come back,” she assured me. Blessings #3 and #4: that most people return and pay and that most people–like this hostel owner–trust that other people are of good will and good heart.
  • I had the best “dump” of the trip while sitting on the throne in a small town bar/cafe after my mid-morning pick-me-up stop. You know the kind of “dump” I’m talking about: the ones about which you want to write home. That kind. Blessing #5.
  • How often do you see a baby calf out in the field with the bull and the ladies? Just enjoying the greenness of it all? This was one such opportunity. Blessing #6
  • And so, of course, I took quite a few photos–with my phone’s camera, right?–of said calf. And didn’t reach for my phone until about half an hour later when I wanted to jot down a note for this post… and my phone wasn’t in my rain pants where it belonged. I knew right away that there was no point in looking in the fanny pack where I keep the phone when I’m not wearing the rain pants. No point in looking in the zippered pockets of my jacket because I can’t get in those pockets when my backpack is on. I knew from the get-go that that phone was no longer in my possession. Jeannie came upon me during my moment of panic and I explained all of the above. “I’ll have to turn around and head back to the last place I know I had it, back where those cows were,” I tell her as I gesture back down the trail…. and coming towards me is a tall male pilgrim of unknown provenance who is waving a pink cell phone in his hand. We did not have the language for him to share his story of coming upon it, so whether there were other trail angels who might have been involved in the identification process, I know not. I know, from this and previous experiences, that we are each other’s angels and very much need one another. Blessing #7
  • And of course Blessing #8 is that it wasn’t raining during the time my phone was on the ground waiting for someone to pick it up
  • And Blessing #9 was that, in spite of how threatening the clouds had looked, the rain we did have, prior to the loss of the phone, lasted less than half an hour and wasn’t all that bad (plus, some of us were so positioned during the rain that we could duck under the covered porch of a bar).
  • My cup overflows: I was walking through gorgeous pine, oak, and eucalyptus forests where the argoma (yellow flowers bursting out of what looked for all the world like evergreen bushes) were vibrant with color. Blessing #10!

So how could I not be filled with gratitude? Many more blessings than I could possibly ever deserve or hope for. Humbling to have been given so much. And the day is still young!

As morning gives way to afternoon

After the coffee break there were still another 15 kilometers or so to go to reach Cee, which, along with neighboring Corcubión, is a bay town, tucked comfortably into the harbor free from the dangerous rocks and waves of Finisterre. Somehow I hadn’t really grasped Cee’s geographic position and so had no idea that I would be reaching “the sea” upon my arrival there.  Thus, when about nine kilometers before reaching Cee, I spotted “sea” way off in the distance, I wasn’t sure if I could really believe my eyes. I wasn’t going to arrive in Finisterre until Saturday, but I was going to get “sea at Cee” on Friday? An unexpected bonus, and so, the best kind!

At some point in the middle of nowhere, when coming around one of dozens of bends in the road, I spotted a fetching chapel dedicated to “Our Lady of the Snows.” Like most churches we pass along the way, it was locked, but I believe this was the first of those churches with an outside altar next to the entrance. Pilgrims had left mementos on the altar, and, on it a lit candle as well as a guest book to sign. I promise you: in the middle of nowhere. Very sweet. I busied myself taking photos. Right across from the church was a little picnic grounds. I was waved over to them by someone with a camera in his hand. It was clear: my services were needed to take a photo of his group as they finished their picnic. I complied, then I asked if I might sit and have my lunch. Of course! So… I was about to join the loudest and liveliest group I had come upon on the entire Camino. The five were not only good friends who were on their 5th Camino excursion together, but they were also Italian. Picture the tongues wagging and the hands waving. And the jokes being bandied back and forth. We managed to understand one another. A good time was had by all. I was able to ask these folks if I had seen what I thought I had seen some kilometers back. Was that the ocean I had spotted? They confirmed that it was.

This next “story” I just loved. For a while Jeannie (Korean, about 30 years old; only later did I realize that she spelled her name Jinhee) was walking at my side. “You are awesome,” she said. “What?!” I choked out. “The way you just get out and do this, in the rain or whatever comes, with energy. I want to be like you when I am older” (as in, “when I am old like you“). I really got a kick out of this. I have always felt like I was the one who thrilled at finding “older women” to be my mentors and models, women whose attitudes and enthusiasm for life keep them young and vital. It hadn’t occurred to me that I could be such a person for a much younger woman. Ok, so now I stand a bit taller. A “role model”? “Awesome”? Hmmm. If she says so….

With one kilometer giving way to another, I soon found myself at the albergue where I had reservations for the night. “Kati,” I hear a familiar voice call out when I enter. It is Cristina, the woman from Barcelona whose company I’ve enjoyed for a couple of days. We were to have bunks in adjacent “cubbies.” Once showered and “organized,” Cristina and I went out for a walk along the harbor where we saw a delightful array of boldly painted boats as well as typical Gallegan houses with glassed-in balconies from which the locals can watch the comings and goings in the bay while staying protected from the wind. Our walk led us to the neighboring town of Corcubión where we managed to find an open bar/restaurant (it was a holiday in Galicia) that would fix us some tapas to enjoy with our copas.

And then “home” to play catch up on photos and posts. (It never ends, and yet: it will soon, won’t it?) There’s the flurry of quick catch-up messages with other pilgrims. “I’m in_____? Where are you?” “Any chance you’ll be in [such and such a place] on [such and such a day]?” Knowing that time is running out. There’s finding out the latest from Ginny (a probable Monday release from the hospital). The days are full and quite long.

And there’s reflection about all the blessings of the past weeks. Beyond my wildest imaginings! Counting my lucky stars. And hoping the full moon doesn’t interfere with a good night’s sleep. I think I’m a bit behind….