I had a really good night’s sleep last night. It was so nice to be in a bed that wasn’t a bunk …and our tiny dorm (four women, two men) was really quiet. If anyone did get up in the night I didn’t hear them … and when people were getting up this morning they were still really quiet. Bliss!
The skies were clear when I set off this morning (around 7:30pm) and it was wonderful to see the stars again, though the moon wasn’t visible! Sadly it didn’t last as the valley was having a pea soup of a misty day … and it was already noon and up the next mountain before I saw the sun …but it was worth waiting for!
As I write this I’m sitting outside the albergue, and both me and my washing are enjoying the strong sunshine!
I’m less than 80 km from Santiago …
(Will upload photo later if I can!)
Though I’m less than enthusiastic about the Galacian waymarkers. In some of the cities they had a similar countdown system for the pedestrian crossings (wait 55 seconds more) and then it gave you up to 75 seconds to cross. Somehow these countdown km to Santiago feel a bit the same … and so I’ve mostly been ignoring them, other than checking that I’m still walking in the right direction!
That’s not always as easy as it sounds and Portomarin was particularly confusing. First you crossed almost into the town over a very very high bridge (terrible for those with vertigo) and then the sign mislead you into going up a steep flight of stairs into the town, whereas actually the Camino more or less avoids the city, taking you back across the water on a smaller, lower bridge.
It was there I sort of met some very lost Americans. I could hear one saying ‘it must be this way as the sign says santiago’ but actually it was a road sign … I consulted my map, realised we had to recross the water and when I finally found a waymarkers to confirm the route signalled that this was indeed the way to go.
I loved the hike out of Portomarin, the fog slowly cleared as I climbed and the terrain was nice too. I kept bumping into Owen from Ireland (from dinner last night) and we had some interesting conversations. But eventually he pressed on!
Then I met an Australian couple, the lady (Rosemary) desperate to talk about her Camino experiences (they started yesterday in Sarria) but what was interesting was they’d first visited the first and Second World War graveyards in Europe, which was, for her, also a Camino pilgrimage of sorts.
What was funny, however, came to light a bit later on. They (and a whole heap of others) were part of a group. They all had matching day packs, and at strategic places there was a guide who cheered them on and made sure they were on the right path! Then at Gonzar they were all directed into a bar for lunch …and a few km on there was an air conditioned WiFi bus for those who needed it. Definitely a Camino for softies but an important one for them none the less.
Now, while I’m sitting here a family from New York (who as the daughter said, doesn’t travel light!) I think they think they are slumming it staying here in this beautiful Casa, and worrying that no one was watching their stuff … and now the young couple skipped off again to the other albergue, dragging their suitcases! It’s hilarious in a way, but yes, it’s their Camino (they are going from Sarria to Palas de Rei (around 45 km in total)
As for me, well I’m less than 80 km from Santiago de Compostela! Imagine that. And in only five weeks I’ve walked across most of northern Spain. I’ve seen and experienced things that have made my heart sing … and the walk has been a joyful one.
Today I’m thankful for the return of the sunshine, the opportunity to sit outside sipping a beer,and for the warmth to be drying my clothes again. I have a clean, comfy bottom bunk to sleep on, and tomorrow the Camino will call once again.