It was raining really hard this am when I woke up – at the luxurious hour of 8:15.
The weather report on the tv in the bar during breakfast was dismal, icons of rain over the entire map of Spain. They only ever give today’s forecast, so I’ve no idea of what to expect tomorrow. But it had tapered off to a light rain by 9:30 when I finished my fresh squeezed orange juice and toasted croissant with Veera and Jonathan.
I have yet another new poncho bought yesterday. The last one ripped in the wind, and since Galicia is famous for its rain and there was a great outfitters store on the corner I stopped for the poncho and Nando bought rainpants. It is so good I didn’t need to wear my rain jacket under it.
LOTS of groups of Spanish students doing school outings this week walking the last 100k to Santiago. Met a group of 15 year olds from Madrid (and wished Jillian were here, she would speak really good Spanish after a week of walking with them, and have fun too.) There are also several packs of younger boys – maybe 12 – who haven’t a clue that anyone else is on the Camino. They are a lot bouncier (and fresher) than the rest of us! They and a number of other 5 day walkers have changed the tone on the camino and it felt disconcertedly busy.
The path continued to wind between verdant farms, and modern and traditional farmhouses (4 o’clocks in many gardens. Haven’t seen them for years). And (except for the trees) looks more like what I imagine Ireland to look like than Spain. Blooming heather.
Today we walked by lots of traditional hórreos, long thin raised sheds for drying corn and storing grain.
The smell of cows and cow manure is ever present, as it is used in the fields for fertilizer.
Attached to the side of one barn was a small stone room with benches, open to the path, a shelter for pilgims. A sign invites us to rest there, and also to keep it clean. At the rear is a raised fire place and by the smell of the ashes I think there had been a fire there this am. Another one of those unneccessary but thoughtful touches that have littered this camino and reminds me how easy it can be to do an unexpected little something for others that can brighten their day. Like the coconut cookies. And the fresh squeezed orange juice at Granon. The tea at La Faba offered before credentials were examined. Veera drawing my warm bath. Nando blowing kisses.
Surprisingly, the sun came out, and brilliantly lit the gentle hills and farms. Stunning views coming into Portomarin. A very high bridge across the river gives you a fantastic view of the ruins of the old city of Portomarin. It was abandoned to be flooded by a dam in the 60s, and its momuments moved to the top of the hill where the city was rebuilt.
Hundreds of swallows were wind surfing in the draft under the bridge.
Quite a day for running into folks, Manolo from before Astorga, Karl the older German from about that time, Marie-jo, Quittarie, Olga and Edurne! We all had dinner together. (Veera and I were the first at the restaurant, so became chummy with Abdul, our waiter, from Morrocco, who also teaches French. Reminds me, a dessert listed on yesterday’s English menu, any guesses?: ‘Glasses from the letter’)
I am again sleeping in the midst of my favorite Koreans, who are very dear to me. (There are also another 30 plus people in this room). And above me is Andy/Chip, a nice guy from England who I have run into a couple of times. (I will say however, of all of the albergues I have stayed in so far, this is my least favorite. I was contemplating finding another place to stay when I ran into the Koreans, and Seo Yeon did the remarkable, she offered me her bottom bunk).
However, I think we lost Nando. He is not at the albergue and I know he has a very tight schedule if he wants to walk on to Finisterre and be in Madrid on the 28th to catch a plane home to Brazil; so I hope he is ahead of us.
Even though the walk today was shorter I still felt very tired at the end of the day.
Everyone is becoming very sensitive to the fact that Santiago is now less than 100k away, our walk together is changing and ending. People are starting to worry about post camino business – like flights or trains, home and work. The bittersweetness of fall. The anonimity of a more crowded world.
20 Oct 2009