Days 20 - 22
July 15 - 17

  
   216 km.
     In a little town I stopped in for supplies.  Many churches had a clock on the tower.  This one had a sundial.  I checked the time and, sure enough, it was after five o'clock, just like the sundial said.  But how does it show 12 pm?  The sun would be directly overhead.
   The arch way of a house near Vega de Valcarcel.  After I passed this point the way go tough.  I was entering mountainous Galicia Province.  The next 9 km were the steepest of the trip.  I acended for a full kilometer.  Since the map I was using went by 'sky miles' and didn't include the distance up the hill, I don't know how far I actually traveled and I didn't feel like doing trigonometry to sort it out.  I would guess it was about 15 km, up.  I made it, but not without a few long breaks in the three towns on the way up.   
   The oddly named town of O Cebreiro.  This was my first experience with the crowds that were beginning to build.  This little tourist town was packed.  The one albergue was overcrowded, but I managed to get them to let me sleep in the kitchen after slowing down the rapid talking hostess.  There were hotels, but they were expensive.  One Spanish lady must have seen me looking pitiful while I waited for the kitchen to clear out.  She said she was leaving and gave me her spot on the floor downstairs.  So I got to sleep earlier, but it was freezing down there.  It was better than sleeping outside again.
  I sat and listened to this guy for a while before I went foraging for food.  He was sitting there playing with all this might.  I thought it must be some traditional Spanish ballad or maybe a folksong of the Celtic Galicians, but no.  He was singing 'La Bamba.'
This is one of the greatest and most beautiful things I've ever seen.  I had just come up to the top of the hill, I hadn't slept much that night, the road was crowded, and I needed inspiration.  I looked down at the valley, and with the mountains ringing this thick mist, it looked like a bowl of clouds.  

 

    Sometimes when I've been traveling I wake up not knowing where I am.  Sometimes it happens when I'm awake.  That was the case in this place.  I came to a point in the Camino where it split off and went two ways.  One way, San Xil, was listed on my maps, the other, Sames, wasn't.  I wasn't sure which to take.  Sames was closer, but it could be a lot farther to connect with the Camino.  San Xil was listed on my map, that made it a safe bet, but it was on top of a hill.  Finally I decided to go to Sames.  A little adventure sounded good, and I thought that it would be less crowded than the other places, and I really wanted a bed.  That's what I was hoping as I decended into this town where the monastary took up about 1/4 of it.  The albergue was inside.  I was right about it not being crowded, how ever I got there so late that the albergue was full.  Fortunately there was a tent set up just outside town, so I slept on a hard wood floor.  Not the best sleep, but I'd had worse.

 

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