I left Lilly at the crossroads of our mutual future directions, she to go to the train and I to find the Portuguese Camino. The day broke clear and it was sweet to be exiting Santiago on sun rather than rain. Our goodbyes were brief as we had been transitioning and completing our journey since arriving in Santiago. I felt a sadness yet no grief on parting.
Getting out of town was challenging as I couldn’t follow the guide book’s instructions backwards to exit town. So it took me an hour to find the Camino again by asking directions repeatedly. I finally came into it at 9:05 just when Lil’s train was leaving for Madrid, about 6K from where I started.
I saw a number of pilgrims coming my direction but nothing like the waves coming into Santiago on the Camino Francais. A few I spoke with as they were interested in why I was going the opposite way. One couple was from Seattle and had come from Porto. A few Spaniards smiled when they saw I was walking south and asked if I was heading home from my pilgrimage. Yes, I was, I replied with the smile of a pilgrim who’s completed his pilgrimage.
Following the signage was much more challenging than the previous walk as the arrows of the Portuguese Camino are blue not yellow and far fewer in number. However, between the arrows, the guide book’s maps and seeing pilgrims walking I was able to stay on track though I missed the mindlessness that comes with not having to pay attention to the route.
The villages were different yet to any others yet seen on the Camino. More “tight,” compact hamlets with the path meandering through. Also new were little mini chapels that were build on elevated structures and seemed to go with individual homes. They looked like rectangular boxes with doors on either end with no access them by either stairs or ladder.
The weather which started out clear skied began to change around 10:00 and I thought rain might be coming. However, after I stopped for lunch it cleared up again and was sunny by late afternoon. Lunch was at a cafe where I treated myself to fried eggs, bacon, and french fries. I even had a beer to top it off.
What was also notable today was the number of barking dogs. On most of our journey through Spain the dogs have been quiet usually because they were leashless or not behind a wall. Today every house it seemed had a barking dog. I wandered if the folks here are more fearful than other parts of the country?
Several times today I felt a strong connection with Lilly and thought she was also thinking about me. It is a different journey now, walking alone and I miss her company very much. When I got to my hotel this afternoon and did my routine it felt a bit empty without my companion. Walking alone too for the first time since my journey in France brought up some of the feelings of insecurity I experienced then. However, this time I’m a different person and have learned much since then. I think this journey alone will be wholesome and healing for me.
I took a bath and nap before coming down for dinner in the hotel restaurant. It was quiet with only one other table of pilgrims. The meal was excellent and I started a new book about the history of the Byzantine empire.
Though I hadn’t planned to write a blog on this part of the journey I’m enjoying the writing and will do so when the muse calls. I’m writing this on my phone as the keyboard is defunct for now. Ok friends time to say:
Hasta Luego! (see you later!)
Baroque church. Towers. First sign to Portugal in Milladoiro.
Leaving Santiago. Mini chapels.
Gallacian hills. Gallacian scarecrow. Grape Alley.
Village washing. St. James and a for sale sign. First caf? with Portuguese Camino name.