Pintin, a tiny hamlet, where we left in another cold starlit morning, two days ago. Having a private room and bath after 26 days with our pilgrim friends in all sorts of sleeping and bathroom facility arrangements was a piece of heaven. Clothes, plastic bags, toiletries, boots and poles spread out across the room with lots of space for just us!
Emily created a great idea for warmth after leaving the mountain top albergue the previous day. Getting in touch with her Arab roots, she suggrested to use our thin, black microfiber sleeping bag liners as a layer of warmth. We adorneded our heads with a turban wrap and leftover for a scarf, Camino Fashionista´s. Who said practical can´t be functional.
After our early morning tea we began to leave Sarria. Sarria is a very common starting point for the pilgrims who are walking the final 100km into Santiago to receive a compostepilgrim´s certificate. Rounding a corner where another road converged, we were met, at 7:15am, by a group of 100 lively and eager high school students. We were so not prepared for how this affected our emotional state. We instantly wanted to distance ourselves, eager for our solitude. Fortunately, hills in the near distance and weeks of walking prepared us to gain some distance. (but not for long) many more pilgrims all day long who began in Sarria. We had to accept that this is now a different Camino.
Amidst this wave of students, we reconnected with our friend Albert, whom we shared our light with the previous day to guide his Way. Seeing our pygmy pilgrimage signs hanging from our backpacks, Albert asked what it was. After sharing Betty and Margaret´s story that the pygmies need $50,000 to buy land. “That´s just 5,000 people, each giving $10”. Albert, without hestiation handed me 20 euros! Mucho, mucho gracias Albert!!!
Yes we have accepted that the last 100km will be different and how do we find our solitude and acceptance.
The last three days walking in Galicia have been our favorite. The mountains of Galicia are the first object in 5,000 km that the westerly winds coming across the Atlantic hit. Our guide book told us to expect an immediate change in weather with frequent rain showers and thunderstorms and thick mountain fog all feeding a maze of mountain streams and deep river beds. Not to worry, our royal blue ponchos are are the ready! And they are still at the ready. We have had the three most glorious days of beautiful scenary of mountains and pastureland, walking up and down to varied terrain, winding through tiny, quaint hamlets with bright blue skies and temperatures in the 70´s.
HIGHLIGHT OF THE DAY……somewhere about 5km before Portomarin, we stopped for a photo at the 100km marker post to Santiago. 27 days walking and 4 to go!!!
Arriving as our usual, ahead of the crowd, into Portomarin, with many albergues to choose, after 3 long days of 29km, 35km and 28km, we were ready for siesta. BLINDSIDED…every albergue was completly full and the next albergue was 7km away and still no guarentee there would be a bed. We had been traveling with 4 of us. Emily and I and Albert and and Kristine from Seattle. Our friend Albert to the rescue. Asked the right questions in the right language and we had an albergue 3km out of the city that they transported us to.
This moment in Portomarin was kaotic. There were pilgrims everywhere in the streets in dismay, scurrying for answers, not knowing where they would sleep that night. This was our wake-up call. yes indeed a different Camino to Santiago. Upon arriving at our albergue, I was anxious and wanted to secure sleeping arrangements. Municiple albergues do not take reservation, first come first serve. private ones take reservations. We never needed to reserve but now I needed the security. Our firend, Albert to the rescue again. With his cell phone and our guide books we were able to rerve beds in a pension in Palas Del Rei. I felt instant relief. We may have been Albert´s angels sharing our lightthe day before, but he has been our in helping us find restful sleep for the last 2 nights. Mucho gracias, again Albert.
A ride back into town by the local priest to get supplies and I was able to visit the local church, an austere Romanesque church of San Nicolas XIIth century. This church was painstakenly rebuilt from its original site now submerged by a reservoir and is ascribed to the workshop of Master Mateo who carved the Portico de Gloria in Santiago. (thank you, again John Brierley and his Guide Book)
Today: DAY 28!!!!! Left the albergue by taxi to the start of the Camino. Another glorious day and we rejoined our friend from Austria, Ricarda at our tea break. With her new friend franca from Germany, the 4 of us enjoyed the day walking together. And because we had a reservation for tonight, we truly enjoyed the Camino for another day. The days roll by effortlessly, just simply walking, enjoying conversation or contemplatively walking. One short walk with Parco, from Seville, Spain, dreams of coming to the US to ride across the country via Route 66. Of course he wants to drive it in a convertible with the wind blowing through his hair.
So here we are in Palas Del Rei. Emily´s having her beer and lemonade while waiting for me and her turn on the internet. Tomorrow we will again walk without reservation to a municiple albergue and hope to be one of the first in line for the 70 beds. Keep us in your thoughts. THREE DAYS TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!
Our FAITH was challenged yesterday. We must remember to trust the lessons that come our way on the Camino. My hope is that we will accept them and handle them with GRACE.
BUEN CAMINO and MUCHO AMOR,
Donna and Emily xoxo