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
A beautiful experience last night! There are some really exceptional places where artisanal souls establish hotels/pensions/Albergues which make the traveler feel welcome, feel at home, and feel a bit coddled. Such was the Casa Morgade. Thanks and a tip of the wine glass to the amazing proprietor Paco.
A nice 12 km walk today mostly flat, and our entire troop recovered and made the walk. Not easy…especially the stairway into Portomarin…but accomplished. This was the kind of day I had in mind when I envisioned “walking a short Camino.” Really a stroll through the green rolling hills of rural Spain. A little Tienda was open selling everything the modern pilgrim might desire. Personally I probably have too much stuff and need to shed rather than add.
Portomarin is a nice town where I stayed during my last Camino
An insightful and meaningful day today as I began my 3rd Camino. The train ride from Madrid started at 200 km/hr but ended up winding through the mountains to the town of Sarria. My Meetup group of four Camino walkers had a celebration pizza last night, got pilgrim passports, and sorted out packs.
Off in the morning with high hopes and light day packs, we soon found that this section of the Camino Santiago is steeper than I remember, and steeper than some of us were prepared for. A very nice local farmer who doubles as a taxi driver saved the day, and there was some definite limping going on before completing the 12 km trek.
Beautiful farmland, shaded rocky/cobblestone paths and nice temperatures could not mask the fact that Camino walking is difficult. At times it seems like it is all uphill and the towns are built on canyons carved by rivers with lots of stairs and it takes a lot of climbing just to get through. Younger people who are not fully fit can compensate for the climbing and constant adjustments to rough ground, but people slowed by injuries, surgeries and aging knees and backs can find it overwhelming. Such was the case for some of the group today.
Still, we are all together in the little village of Morgade. Some will keep walking, and others will combine riding and walking to suit their level of fitness. We are all happy to be with other pilgrims from many nations and sharing a pilgrim meal tonight.
One moment for me came when I leaned against a marker. I didn’t notice right away that a nameless person had written a message that I really needed to hear. Thank you to the universe!