Time: 5 1/2 hours, 9:00 am to 2:30 pm
Terrain: Some quiet road, some rocky and muddy trail, rolling hills, some short but steep downhill
Weather: Overcast, light to heavy rain, later it cleared up, some sunny breaks
Total distance to date: 637 km (+12k taxi, 14k bus, 15k bus, 20k taxi = 696km)
Erik had a good sleep and woke up feeling much better. I had trouble falling asleep until midnight because there was an hour of really loud bangs between 11-12. I don’t really know what it was but I think it may have been some sort of fireworks being set off. Erik thought it might have been some construction explosions. Who knows?
Anyway, we got up and dressed at 7:30 but all the local coffee shops were closed (it’s Sunday) so we packed our bags and headed out of town then stopped at a coffee shop on the way out and also bought bananas and peanuts at the supermercado. We took pictures of the finished Corpus Christi floral carpets on the way out as well.
It was heavily overcast and just starting to rain as we left town so we geared up with raincoats, waterproof mitts, and Erik wore his rain pants for awhile until he got too hot.
We hit a lot of mud today and the trail was challenging in spots although we managed to keep a really good pace overall today.
There were also hordes of newbies to the Camino. Sarria is the starting point for many people who want to qualify for a Compostela but don’t have enough time to walk a long distance. The minimum you must walk is 100km so they all start in Sarria and the number of pilgrims on the trail doubles.
And it was crowded! Man. I know everyone ‘does their own Camino‘ and I’m not supposed to judge, but it is hard not to feel a little frustrated when you can’t get by a big group and you can’t find a peaceful place to walk.
And many of them as touristy types who are walking without a backpack while a support van meets them at every village to provide food, drinks, access to clothing etc, or even a ride if they are tired. Anyway, enough complaining. Eventually we managed to gap the big crowds and find some peace. Thank goodness.
We walked for three hours straight without a break then stopped to stretch for 5 minutes before walking another 90 minutes or so where we stopped at a cafe to use the bathroom and have a cold drink. There we once again ran into Chantal and Phillipe.
The last hour or so of walking was warmer as the rain had finally stopped and the sun came out. When we were within 2 km of Portomarin, we took a different route from the other pilgrims because we’d read online that the new trail was steep and rocky and awful when it had been raining. Our path turned out to be paved and easy to walk and soon we were crossing the bridge into town.
Portomarin was once a valley town but when the govt decided to build a damn and flood the valley in the 1960’s, they moved the entire town up onto the hillside including taking down and rebuilding the church. You can see where the church stones are numbered so it would be easier to rebuild.
We checked into our hotel, had a quick shower, and found a restaurant for a beer and a pizza. It was after 3pm and I was starving having eaten only one banana all day.
Now we are back in our room relaxing as we always do. I am amazed at how I can lay on my bed for hours on end and do nothing but read or write after I walk for 5-6 hours a day. I’m usually terrible and sitting around and doing nothing. 🙂
We might get something more to eat later or just eat snacks in our room. We have a rolling 25k to Palas de Rei tomorrow and there’s only a 30-40% chance of rain so that will be nice.
My legs are feeling strong and I have no pains any more. Interestingly enough, I did get my first small blister today. I’m sure it was from walking in wet socks and shoes all day. It’s very minor and I just put a bandaid on it for now.
I can’t believe we will be in Santiago in only a few days – it’s going by so quickly now. This time next week we will be in Italy!
Lots of pretty pictures for you today. Thanks again for all the comments and Facebook posts. They are much appreciated!