A continuation of rolling farmland with tree-lined trails up and down hills approaching Santiago. We’ve managed to avoid the rain so far, but Shirley and I had just a bit of moisture late in the afternoon. 14 km today followed 18 yesterday. Now only around 23 km to go to the cathedral. Date palms, hydrangeas, and fuschias in one yard. My mother would h ave loved it. We keep meeting the two nuns from San Jose. Their spirit and compassion are apparent to everyone they meet.
I was reminded of the mixed emotions and thoughts most pilgrims have as they walk along. Plenty of time to think of the lives we have lived and to dream of the lives we hope to still live in the future.
There were two memorial sites right along the trail honoring the lives of pilgrims who have passed…too young. A wall of wisdom farther along cited quotes which would likely be considered trite or simplistic in our modern world, but pilgrims lined up to reflect and consider. I have to say I like the person I am as I walk, and I try to retain a bit of the idealism I recapture when I’m here.
Good pulpo and lots of laughter last night at dinner, as we celebrated half way on our little journey.
Today off before dawn, and a good thing since the combination of long up-hills and warm weather made for tough going. Saw a palm tree today 😎 but mostly just gorgeous farmland with small creeks running through.
I’m seeing the Camino through the eyes of walkers who are having difficulty with the terrain. This has made me appreciate the need for real fitness for those who undertake this adventure. Even though the distances are shorter than my previous walks, the hills are still there and they need to be climbed and descended. If one is very young it’s possible to muscle through on general strength. For those who are carrying a few more years, regular walking up and down steep hills must be added to everyday flat walking for proper preparation.
For our group a pretty long 17 km day with a lot of downhill and uphill. We started out in the dark with a dramatic statue of Santiago, and finished in the heat of Melide.
This was the first day where I felt weary at the end of the day. I am very proud of everyone for hanging in and completing the day.
Tonight Pulpo (Octopus) a specialty of this city.
A successful 13 km moderately hilly walk with everyone able to complete the trek, and a wonderful Meetup with a Canadian couple I walked with last year. Clouds and mist made for cool walking up and down lanes shaded with canopies of trees. We had coffee with some Americans working for their church at a way staton, and kept going steadily through to lunch.
My brother continues to amaze me. A year ago he could barely walk a quarter mile, but after making the decision to live a better quality life he began daily walking. After getting up to 6 miles (and more) a day he decided that he could do a short Camino walk with me. It had to be disappointing when his surgically repaired back acted up on the first day, forcing him to finish with a cab but he has continued to walk. Today had some pretty stiff uphill sections, but he powered through. I believe his already good fitness has improved as we all have adjusted just over the first few days on the Camino. He may yet have some sections which may be too tough, but he can now see that with better training, anything is possible.
At lunch, I heard someone call my name, and it turned out to be Ken and Ruthie. I got a chance to walk with them last year in France for a week or so. We are both stopping in the same town tonight so I hope to see them again.
I love the gatherings at stops along the way. Last night at dinner, in addition to our California 4, we had a nice couple from Denmark, two Dominican nuns from San Jose, and an American couple from Ann Arbor who started their lives in India and Guatemala. I wonder what tomorrow will bring?
Everyone was feeling good in Portomarin after successfully completing our route. Wine, beer and (otc) pain pills made for a lot of laughter and even a little singing “Unchained Melody” at dinner. I don’t think anyone suggested it, but everyone seems to be maintaining a ‘no whining’ policy.
A difficult mostly uphill walk today led to another partial taxi ride. A couple of steel rods in the spine can make even the best of intentions irrelevant. 13 km got us into a beautiful Albergue/hotel before 2 pm. Plenty of time to siesta, do laundry, write blogs, and appreciate a perfect early fall afternoon.
Wonderful group of hospice workers from Ireland and our little group