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Cycling the Camino de Santiago - Day 17 (A long slog up to O Cebreiro)

I've noticed somewhat of a strange phenomenon taking place recently.

It seems the longer I go on for, the further I get, the less I seem to care.  

I haven't worn makeup properly in three weeks now, and I haven't washed my hair in about a week. My feet are covered I blister plasters, and my shoes smell like something died in them. I also don't currently possess any clothes that aren't damp and slightly smelly.   

And I couldn't care less. 

Right now I only care about the road - how long it is, what condition it's in, what weather is on it, and whether or not I can travel from A to B in one piece on it.   

Sideline cares include - Do I have enough water? Where can I get food? Where am I sleeping tonight? 

It's a basic existence and one that is, quite frankly, wearing on me. 

So where did the road take me today? 

I left at a reasonable hour from Ponferrada. 

I wasn't in great humour so I didn't stop to see any tourist attractions. 

I passed the main draw - a castle built by the Knights Templar - but I didn't go in. I didn't have the will. I just had to keep going while I was still able. 

After a long and mountainous, but relatively doable, road, I arrived in Villafranca. 

Again, I didn't stop. There was a castle that looked nice... But I was afraid that if I stopped then I wouldn't have been able to start again. 

That's where things got really tough. 

The road extended up and up and up and up... And I felt it would never come back down again. 

I can't even count the amount of times I had to pop off my saddle and just stop for a moment to catch my breath. 

The distance today was 50km, but the incline was steep. 

Great big viaducts loomed overhead, with cars and trucks zooming back and forth in the sky above. 

Eventually I did stop, however, at a lovely little stall by the side of the road. 

They tempted me with fruit bowls, of all things. 

As predicted, I was unable to get up for a while. I sat there, on the side of the road, my long empty fruit bowl in front of me, basking in the sun and saying Buen Camino to every passing stranger. 

Then I kept going. I had to. 

Almost eight hours of cycling later, I entered the final province - Galicia. 

A while later and I entered the town of Pedrafita Do Cebreiro... Which is often referred to solely as O Cebreiro. 

And I stopped at a lovely hostel, chatted with a Polish man and his French friend, and horsed into whatever dish I had mistakenly ordered in broken Spanish from the landlady who spoke no word of English. 

It was heaven.  

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