2014 Walking the Way

Day 34: The Queen Loses Her Crown Day Portomarin to Palas de Rei – 24K

Lilly Barb woke up early today around 5:30. She practiced healing herself until I awoke at 6:30. This was the first morning that on waking I thought I wanted to sleep in and didn’t want to walk another 24K. However, soon I was up and by 7:30 we had left our hotel for the coffee shop where we had our morning joe. While there eating our snack of raisins and nuts Lilly stuck her hand in her mouth and pulled out a gold crown that had just then come loose. We laughed and joked that the queen had lost her crown and pondered on the metaphor of this happenstance. 

Loss of crown and all we were on our way by 8:00. As with the day before the wave of pilgrims was ongoing from the time we crossed the bridge leaving town. The morning was cool no rain was in the forecast and we hoped for another pleasant day on the Camino. 

The walk was hillier than then previous days so we had a lot of good cardio workouts going up inclines. We stopped for a break and hot chocolate after the first 2 hours which had flown by. This time the hot chocolate was an instant mix, and though still good was not what we had come to expect by way of drinking a hot liquid candy bar. The cafe was packed with pilgrims, both coming and going and the proprietors were very efficient in getting everyone food and drink in a timely manner. One thing we have noticed is that pilgrims have a good appetite and like to eat. 

We contemplated our food and decided that we were done with tuna, rice crackers and goat cheese for the rest of the journey. These staples had served us well but now their time had come and we were moving onto something else once we finished up our current supplies. For the remaining few days we would buy ready made food again from the cafes we stopped at. I think all this points to our ending the Camino soon. We are ready for a change of routine. 

After our morning break I had a great two hours of walking. The food and a long up hill trek right after eating helped get me into a pace and stride that was pure joy to walk. There was a long trail of pilgrims ahead of me and slowly and surely I passed them all until I was again walking in peace and quiet. 

One of the differences I notice between the 100K walkers and the long distance pilgrims is that the short walkers tend to walk in groups at a slower pace often chatting as they trek. Those who have been longer on the Way tend to walk alone and at a faster pace. Certainly we are in better shape and, yet though 100K seems a short distance compared to 900K, the walk is still challenging and I have now more compassion for these new walkers than I originally felt. 

A few hours later we stopped again this time for a bowl of the famous Caldo Gallago soup that we like so much. The temperature had been fluctuating in the 40-50’s and when the sun was not shining it was chilly. The soup was hot and nourishing. As we sat there eating our soup and finishing the last of our cheese and rice crackers we noticed a number of pilgrims crowding around the counter stamping their “Credential” with the stamp of this particular establishment. This is the document the pilgrims carry and usually get stamped with an individual stamp of the hostel or inn showing that they have indeed been there. In order to get the Certificate of Completion for walking the Way, the pilgrims present their Credential, with all their stamps, on arriving in Santiago proving that they have walked at least the 100K. So these pilgrims, who must have been short walkers, were trying to get as many stamps on their pilgrims’ passport to show that they had traveled the requisite kilometers. For Lilly and I our Credentials have stamps going back to Geneva so we have no concern about having walked far enough to get our certificate. 

After lunch we still had another 8K to go and that passed quickly. Lil and I walked together the remaining distance which is unusual for us. Our normal practice is to start out together and soon will be walking alone with our own thoughts and musings. However, this afternoon we were enjoying our mutual company and by 3:00 were entering the town of Palas de Rei, translated as the palace of the king, which we thought ironic as the queen had just lost her crown that morning. 

Our Pension was a bit off the Camino but we found it without trouble. We had another clean and modern place. The only issue was that the room was chilly and I asked the person who checked us in about it. She said she would take care of it but then only the bathroom heater came on. Later when we came back from dinner I mentioned it again and she came up to see what was up and then of course the heat was on. Now as I write this it is off again. Ah well…. 

Lilly and I both took long naps. Lilly who has not been a nap aficionado like myself is starting to see the joys and benefits of an afternoon snooze. She now wakes up saying, “that was delicious.”…… a sure sign that a nap has been a pleasure. After stretching we went out in search of a place to eat. The town which looked quaint on entering soon lost its charm on closer inspection. There were a few places to choose from and we found one that looked quieter and less frequented by masses of pilgrims. 

The menu was standard pilgrim’s fare but with a few different items. Lilly had a salad, I creamed asparagus soup, Lil had a Spanish Omelet, our first in almost 3 weeks and I had fried fish that were little fish fried whole. Quite good. For dessert Santiago cake. There were other pilgrims eating there too, ones we recognized from our walking the last two days, seeing many of the same people over and over again. We guess this group of strangers will be our company when we arrive in Santiago on Wednesday. 

I didn’t take many pictures today so there are only two: one of a statue of an Angel in an unusual pose and one of a herd of sheep making their Way. 

Tomorrow we have our last long day, almost 29K. We are hoping the weather will hold out a bit longer. The prediction is for rain on Tues and Weds. 

All right it’s now 10:15 an early finish for me and so I will say: 

Hasta Manana Amigos!


Angel who has seen too many pilgrims go by. Sheep on the Way. 

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