Day 3 Ponferrada to O’Cebreiro

The hardest bike ride of my entire life. The climb up to O’Cebreiro had grades of up to 23%. I was able to stay on my bike for the first part of the mountain climb, but after that had to mostly walk and push the bike. It was brutal. 

Iglesia de Santiago de Villafranca This church was founded in 1186, the north portal is called the Puerta del Perdon. According to tradition, pilgrims too sick to continue on the Camino could enter through this door, take communion, and receive pardon for their sins.

Albergue Ave Fenix Albergue that was rebuilt over the years by visiting pilgrims. It is run by Jesus Jato whose queimadas have become famous.

The path up to O’Cebreiro splits into a walking and biking path at this point. The walking path goes through La Faba.

The way to O’Cebreiro has incredible views of the mountains but it was hard to enjoy with such a difficult climb

Church of Santa María la Real Cebreiro O’Cebreiro is the site of a supposed 14th century miracle: A peasant from a nearby hamlet came to O’Cebreiro in the middle of a snowstorm to hear mass. At the moment he came in the priest was raising the sacred host for the consecration. The priest berated the peasant for coming all that way in the middle of a storm just for a bit of bread and wine. At that instant, the bread and wine literally transformed into flesh and blood. The particles remaining from the miracle were eventually placed in a silver reliquary donated by Queen Isabel. The church’s Virgin Mary statue is said to have inclined her head so as to better view the miracle. In 1962 excavators found the foundations of a pre-Romanesque church under the streets of the village. Through 1971 the church was rebuilt from the ground up. All that remains of the medieval church are the Romanesque baptismal font and the chalice and paten. The statue of Christ on the altar is a reproduction of the original which is in an archeological museum in Madrid.

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