When you finally arrive at the top of the climb in O Cebreiro, Spain, you feel a great sense of accomplishment. There’s such a beautiful statue of a lovely lady waiting to greet you. You feel like you have arrived when you get there, like you HAVE ARRIVED.
There’s nothing quite like it. It’s a moment of exhilaration on the Camino de Santiago. O Cebreiro is just after the boundary marker for the Galicia Region. Once you hit that marker, you know O Cebreiro is not far.
In reality, if you blink you’ll miss O Cebreiro. But if you arrive with your eyes wide open, you’ll realize how this tiny little village on the Camino de Santiago is such an immensely integral stop along the route to Santiago de Compostela.
The town has the traditional circular palloza homes, with their granite and stone walls and gorgeous thatched roofs.
Also in O Cebreiro sits a small church with a big story. It awaits your arrival. Santa María la Real. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s a must see stop. It is said that a miracle happened in this church back in the 13th Century. A priest had lost his faith and was going through the motions of performing the Eucharist to an empty church during a tumultuous snowstorm. A man from a distant village enters the church, after walking through the impossible storm, to receive communion. The wine transforms to blood, and the wafer to flesh…restoring the priest’s faith on the spot. A nearby statue of the Blessed Virgin is said to have turned its head to witness the miracle.
I wrote about the church and its miracle in my latest YA novel, The Camino Club. I couldn’t not. The wizened sage who befriends my little group of misfits tells the tale to the kids as they visit the church. It had to be one of the stops along the way. There was a modern day priest in O Cebreiro who did SO MUCH for the Camino that his legacy can never be forgotten.
Don Elías Valiña Sampedro (Born in Sarria, Spain on February 2, 1929 and died December 11, 1989) restored and revitalized O Cebreiro. But not only that, he’s integral to the Camino de Santiago’s recent revival. He was the creator of the YELLOW ARROWS that now mark the way for hundreds of thousands of Camino pilgrims every year. In his love of the Camino and its importance, Don Elías Valiña Sampedro has made O Cebreiro a treasure on the historic route.
If you want to immerse yourself into a fictional story that takes place with the Camino de Santiago as its backdrop, check out my recently released novel THE CAMINO CLUB. Here’s a LinkTree to buy options and reviews on Goodreads: https://linktr.ee/Kevintcraig
When you reach O Cebreiro, your journey to Santiago is far from over. The mile markers will tell you so. But have faith, it gets easier…