Camino de Santiago Day 10: Pedrafita to Sarria, Spain

I stopped by this church to pray for a safe journey at the start of the day.
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Camino de Santiago Day 10: Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela

Day 10: Pedrafita to Sarria, 70 kms.

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The short 10km. haul to O Cebreiro was hard. I was thankful that I rested my body early yesterday. The town sat at 1,450 meters above sea level high up in the Cantabrian mountains. The scenery was magnificent specially on a sunny day!

Ponferrada to Pedrafita, Spain
The view of Sarria from the top of the hill. This town is 111 kms. from Santiago and most pilgrims start from here to qualify for their Compostela Certificate which is issued only to those who have traveled at least 100 kms. on the pilgrimage route. Ponferrada to Pedrafita, Spain

Pedrafita to Sarria, 70 kms.

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Corn plantation in the rolling hill countryside.
Corn plantation in the rolling hill countryside.

After about 6 kms. of undulating landscape with steep inclines, the road reached El Poyo where the fun part began. At first it descended slowly and then opened up for a sudden, exciting descent that went on and on and on……for 15kms. no less through hairpin bends and tight switchbacks. Wheeee! I felt like a kid once again and it brought back memories of long ago when I used to bike that long stretch from the top of Antipolo hills all the way down to Marikina.

This was part of the road that meandered down the mountains.
This was part of the road that meandered down the mountains.
Having soup while waiting for my steak to be served at dinnertime.
Having soup while waiting for my steak to be served at dinnertime.

I had to stop once in a while though to let the tire rims cool down since I didn’t want it popping up and giving me an unexpected puncture. At the same time, I wanted to shoot pictures but somehow felt that the best way to enjoy it was to just keep the scenes in my mind – perhaps I was just too exhilirated to care but now I wish I did.

This cemetery gave me the creeps when I passed by because it was so eerily quiet - not even a light breeze stirred the trees.
This cemetery gave me the creeps when I passed by because it was so eerily quiet – not even a light breeze stirred the trees.

I passed through the towns of Triacastela and Samos in a blur through a series of short climbs and swift descents passing by a delightful wooded scenery with cows grazing on hilly pastures. The road numbers kept changing between LU633 and LU634 which got quite confusing but in the end it all led to Sarria, my destination for the day.

Cows graze contentedly on the verdant slopes.
Cows graze contentedly on the verdant slopes.
Seems to be so far from Manila but San Miguel beer is also bottled in Spain.
Seems to be so far from Manila but San Miguel beer is also bottled in Spain.

No hotels for me this time but stayed instead in a small pensione called Ana with apples in the backyard. It rained later but I was already comfortably ensconced in my solo room after having a steak for dinner in the adjoining restaurant.

The Pensione Ana had a very homey atmosphere.
The Pensione Ana had a very homey atmosphere.


A cross at the top of the hill overlooking Sarria.
A cross at the top of the hill overlooking Sarria.

I am now close to my destination with two more days to go.  It got me thinking that all this would be ending soon. For ten days now, I had slogged through  various  road and weather conditions, gone through hardship and exhilirating joy as well as existential mind games as to why I was doing all this while at the same time rationalizing that it was something that I had to do because it was a promise I had to keep.

I stopped by this church to pray for a safe journey at the start of the day.
I stopped by this church to pray for a safe journey at the start of the day.
Fellow cyclist on the Camino.
Fellow cyclist on the Camino.

Which reminded me of the unforgettable lines in Robert Frost’s hauntingly beautiful poem…..

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

A peregrino contemplates the inner church courtyard.
A peregrino contemplates the inner church courtyard.

Note: This was my daily journal throughout the pilgrimage route which took all of 12 days from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostela.

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