Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Happiness is a Decision and O'Cebreiro

Even though we will taxi past this difficult stage,
it is important to me that you remember this is not a luxury tour.

This is a pilgrimage

Of course, each pilgrim is free to do their own Camino and there are as many Ways as pilgrims. Some stay at the Parador, and that's ok!

It is easy to find pages and pages of Camino tours offering beautiful 3 and 5 star hotel rooms - all you need do is Google 'Camino Santiago Walking Tour.'

You will pay a steep price, of course, usually about 3 times what we charge for the same number of days. But why shouldn't you?

 I want people to have the chance to walk the Camino in a more traditional way
with "just enough" support to raise the comfort level
a step above the experience of those walking on their own
 who sleep in refugios and albergues each night.

I want our walkers to experience pilgrimage
with a minimum of suffering and still be affordable.
It's important you remember
I am not a tour guide.
I am simply a pilgrim who has done this before,
and I'm helping facilitate YOUR Camino.
I do my best to meet those goals.

I hope those of you staying at Albergue de la Piedra last night
took advantage of the opportunity to rub shoulders with pilgrims
who do their pilgrimage in a more primitive way.
I hope you were able to share stories of Camino magic.

I hope you peeked into the dorms and felt the difference
between sharing a shower with one person of your own gender
and sharing a coed shower facility where there are no towels
 but the one you carry
and where there is no real privacy.

I hope at least one pilgrim shared with you
the experience of sleeping in rooms full of snoring, coughing, sneezing,
talking, farting strangers with no place to spread out your belongings,
no locks on the doors,
and no place to dress except in public.

The option of choosing to sleep with a door open (or closed)
 or choosing what time the lights go out
is soon recognized as a precious commodity.

Do we, in fact, need privacy to be whole and happy?
You must decide for yourself.

Some are happy with sunshine, a good trail, a clean, warm bed,
a few fresh-picked cherries, a crust of bread,
 and the company of a diverse but like-minded group of people
with one common goal - reaching Santiago!

Happiness is a decision.
We have a choice.

* * *

Everyone was up early for breakfast, served downstairs in the kitchen.

We used Brierley to explain today's walk.

Joe and Brenda are enjoying their coffee!

Our taxi picked us up early this morning for the ride to O Cebreiro.
A beautiful hillside village, with thatched roofs,
O Cebreiro is like walking back into the past.

In the tiny church in O Cebreiro was this Prayer of la Faba.
I thought the words were beautiful!

Prayer of La Faba

Although I may have travelled all the roads,

crossed mountains and valleys from East to West,

if I have not discovered the freedom to be myself,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have shared all of my possessions

with people of other languages and cultures;
made friends with pilgrims of a thousand paths
or shared albergue with saints and princes,
if I am not capable of forgiving my neighbour tomorrow
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have carried my pack from beginning to end

and waited for every Pilgrim in need of encouragement,
or given my bed to one who arrived later than I,
given my bottle of water in exchange for nothing:
if upon returning to my home and work,
I am not able to create brotherhood
or to make happiness, peace and unity,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have had food and water each day,

and enjoyed a roof and a shower every night:
or may have had my injuries well attended,
if I have not discovered in all that the love of God,
I have arrived nowhere.

Although I may have seen all the monuments

and contemplated the best sunsets;
although I may have learned a greeting in every language
or tried the clean water from every fountain;
if I have not discovered who is the author
of so much free beauty and so much peace,
I have arrived nowhere.

If from today I do not continue walking on your path,

searching for and living according to what I have learned;
if from today I do not see in every person, friend or foe
a companion on the Camino;
if from today I cannot recognize God,
the God of Jesus of Nazareth
as the one God of my life,
I have arrived nowhere.

The thatched roofs here are so pretty!

Mimi and Catherine share a moment.

Maeve poses in front of one of the round stone houses.

Maeve and I really enjoyed O Cebreiro this morning! 
We had our taxi drop off the group for an hour 
before continuing on to Triacastela, 
where we began our day's walk. 
This village is so interesting with its round stone houses and thatched roofs. 

If we had been there for lunch 
we could have experienced pulpo and caldo gallega!

The entire village is of stone, even the streets.

This statue is on the altar in the church,
which opened at 9 am

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