Day 19: Villafranca del Bierzo to O'Cebreiro

Mileage: 18

Highlights

Everyone knows that the first day on el Camino (climbing over the Pyreneese Mountains) is the hardest day. Not many people know that the second hardest day is climbing to O'Cebreiro. Well, at least we didn't know this. It was a beautiful day to be in the mountains. We stopped at every bakery we came across and smelled all the flowers we passed. We are truly living the dream.

My mom loves when people ask if we are sisters

My mom loves when people ask if we are sisters

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Today we met Eve, a witty, sarcastic British woman that we immediately connected with. Eve is a teacher on holiday who decided to hike the last ~100 miles of el Camino in hopes of getting herself beach-bod-ready to meet friends in Portugal the following week. Her boyfriend walked el Camino last year, so she felt mostly prepared for her first big walk (although she was slightly peeved he didn't spontaneously/romantically join her last-minute). Eighteen miles is a long walk- especially on her first day, so Mom and I were very impressed with Eve for being so positive all day.

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My mom and Eve, the latest solo hiker she adopted.

My mom and Eve, the latest solo hiker she adopted.

Bummers

While discussing places to stay, a pilgrim overheard us and recommended we stay in a new hostel across the street. It turned out to be opening day, which was exciting to know we would be the first pilgrims to sleep in the bedbug-free bed. We paid for our beds in the bunk room and it didn't take us long to realize that the place was far from ready for guests. We weren't even allowed on our beds until after 7pm because it was being used as storage area for mirrors that would later be taped to the wall (and glued at a later date lol). Only one shower was usable and there was a worker drilling away until 8:30pm. It was the first time on the entire trip that I could tell my mom was frustrated. It was unacceptable that we paid to stay in a "nicer" hostel that was not ready to be stayed in. To make matters worse, when my Mom mentioned turning off the lights (9pm is normal for pilgrims) a German girl snarled that it was "sooo early" and rolled her eyes to her friend when my mom turned away. I wanted to punch her in the face. NO ONE GIVES MY MOM ATTITUDE EXCEPT FOR ME! Jerk. 

A Trace of Grace

Notes from a trekking Mama

Make new friends! We have met a lot of fun people along the way, but today we connected with a British woman who was especially great. There were so many similarities in our lives and we spent a lot of our hike laughing over America and British stereotypes. It is good to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes.

My beautiful mother!

My beautiful mother!