October 25, 2018
22.7 (Phone: 24.9 km/ 15.5 miles)
So I finally made the call to transport my backpack so that I would not injure myself. As such I decided to walk a little longer distance and made a reservation in Portomarin at a pension. It took a long time to walk the 22 km in part because I was enjoying not having the pack. My legs, lower back, and knees started to feel better.
Sarria is the starting point for many pilgrims because it is about 112 km from Santiago and to get a compostela (certificate) you only have to walk the last 100 km. So everyone talks about how much busier it will get and even the guidebook had a reminder to be patient with the new pilgrims. I actually didn’t notice an increase in people, but at my first stop for coffee, I did help a man from the US with putting a stamp in his and his wife’s credentials. Plus I made sure he dated it in the right way – day/month/year.
There has been a very noticeable increase in souvenir stores and the cafes and bars all have more items on display. I gave in and bought a pair of shell shaped earrings with my coffee. After I started walking again, a salesman outside a souvenir store was peppering me with question – if I needed water and where was my shell? I almost stopped to politely inform him that I was not a new pilgrim and that I had a well worn shell on my backpack. I just waved and said I was doing good, but it was annoying that the first day I was walking without my pack was the day many people started as I didn’t want to be mistaken for a newbie.
Not long after that, I reached the 100,000 meter marker (photo above). It is covered in graffiti unfortunately. It took awhile for it to sink in that there is only 100 km left as in my head I kept adding a 1 in front of the distances. I took a few more stops during the day and drank a couple of Aquarius Limon – something I’ll miss back in the US. I didn’t each lunch so stopped just 4 km outside of Portomarin for some croquets.
So with my push to walk a little further (and because they did a shorter day) I caught up with Melody, Alfred, and Laura! I received a little bit of teasing as the day before I had said my sad goodbyes convinced I would not see them until Santiago. I joined them for dinner at an Italian restaurant along with Praia who they had met that day, and Sheri-Lyn from Canada who was with us way back at the San Nicolas albergue – the restored church without any electricity. During dinner I looked the guidebook and decided to take five days to do the rest of the route even though the guidebook had it marked for four. So for sure I will fall behind the group, but with my extra days in Santiago, I should be able to see everyone before I fly home.
(Walking into sunlight.)
(Another misty morning.)
(A group of schoolgirls descended on me just outside of Sarria. They were chanting and singing and carrying their school flag.)
(My late lunch.)
(The church window in Portomarin.)