We both selpt well although not much as it was past midnight when we turned out the lights. The morning promised a day without rain, the first in four days and we were excited to have a dry walk and even perhaps some sun. We left our lodgings at 7:30 and after a morning coffee, were on our way by 8:00.
The morning began with a wave of pilgrims leaving town and it never stopped all day. Today we saw more pilgrims than any other so far on the Camino. I would venture that most of them were over forty and of those many over sixty. It’s hard to know who has just picked up the Camino and who has been on it for a while though my guess is those with new shoes and packs may be recent additions to the Way.
The walk itself was beautiful and we were grateful for no mist or fog which had obscured the fields and countryside traversed yesterday. Today we could see far and wide. The charming paths through enchanted forests, along stone fences and over streams and creeks were delightful. We were still in the foot hills of the mountains we crossed last week and the trek took us up and down hills all day. The temperature was variable and so it was another day of putting on and then taking off or switching layers of clothes.
I had wondered how it would be to be in the flow of so many pilgrims as we approached Santiago especially as I love the quiet alone time that I have gotten to experience so much of this journey. I had decided to accept the situation as it was and find my peace amongst the masses. For the most part it was fine. There were times when I wished for alone time and quiet space, and often when so the crowds would magically dissolve and I would be walking alone or near alone. Today there was a cacophony of different languages being spoken around us, certainly a good cross section of the globe was represented. Besides missing alone time I also I experienced the joy of so many people going to Santiago and the sense of excitement of us all getting closer, in 5 days we will be arriving. Lil posed an interesting question where she wondered about the experience of the farmers and locals who see streams of pilgrims passing by day after day from April through October. My sense is they like the pilgrims for they often wish us Buen Camino or Good Journey as we pass by. It must also be good for the economies of these villages, yet it may also seem an intrusion into their rustic pastoral existence.
We stopped for lunch and had a feast of rice crackers, tuna, goat cheese, carrot, cucumber, the sweetest pear ever, and chocolate. This gave us the fuel we needed for the afternoon. While eating we spied Judy, the pilgrim we had met several days prior when climbing the highest point of the Camino and whom we had taken pictures of laying her prayer stones. She had been incapacitated for several days due to feet issues and was now back on the Way again. Later we stopped at a cafe and had our new favorite, a cup of hot chocolate. Oh so good on this chilly afternoon.
We arrived at Portomarin about 3:00 and though tired we were not beat as we have often been at the end of a day. We found our way to the Posada de Portomarin a three star hotel that had once been the bell of the town. Now it was a bit worn on the edges but still very comfortable and welcoming. We changed from our initial room for the bathtub looked like it had mold around the edges. The management assured us it wasn’t and still gladly gave us another room. Being hungry and not wanting to fill up on nuts before dinner we went to the town square and found a restaurant still serving lunch and each had a bowl of the wonderful Gallacian soup that we have come to love.
Back at the hotel we took baths and naps. Lil’s foot had been bothering her more this afternoon so we decided to eat in the hotel restaurant rather than going out and walking on it. The dining room was beautiful with elegant place settings on each table. We both had fish dishes for dinner, Lil, Seabass on a bed of turnip greens and I, turbot with grilled veggies and creamed pumpkin sauce. Both were delicious. While we waited we read past blog postings from this trip and played a game of trying to remember where we had stayed each night since starring in Pamplona. In looking back we’ve had a remarkable journey. One of the things we noted, and were sad about, is that we met many interesting people the first few days of the trip and then few there after. Sadly most of those early folks were fast walkers and have completed the journey by now and we won’t have the fun of meeting them in Santiago to celebrate together our accomplishment. However, at this point we are grateful to be getting there ourselves and that, in itself, will be plenty to celebrate.
Well it’s late and Lilly is asleep so I too shall now say:
Buenas Noches Amigos!
Misty morning over Sarria. Pilgrim wave. Galacian fields.
Galacian stone village. Will in Galacia. Pilgrim on enchanted path.
Magic waterway on the Way. Dinner setting at Portomarin.