The day stated off like usual. I headed out at 8:15, first light. I had taken about 20 steps when my one walking pole bent. Disaster!!! I love my stuff, I have nothing I want to leave behind. I stood in the near dark trying to fix it. I figure this was it, I’d have to learn to walk without a pole. Suddenly I was able to get the bent part back into the next telescoping piece. Hallelujah, Santiago has saved me. I continue happily on my way. (Ironically at a stop later in the day I left the pole behind and had to hike back a little way to retrieve it. I’m not sure it’s going to make it to the end). The walk toward Sarria was pretty. The sky was clear but mist was settled into the low places.
I walked on about 45 minutes to Sarria. Sarria is significant on the camino. In order to get a compostela (certificate of completion) in Santiago you must walk at least 100km. Sarria is the town that is closest to the 100km mark. So a large number of pilgrims start the camino in Sarria. Sure enough as I left Sarria the way seemed more crowded. The pilgrims seemed chipper, cleaner with more and nicer stuff. But as usual as I walked the people thinned out and before long I was walking alone.
Twice as I walked I came across pilgrims I knew that I hadn’t seen for about 10 days. It was fun to catch up and hear about other pilgrims we knew.
Yesterday the walk was in the low mountains with lots of vegetation but all along I noticed the beautiful stone walls. Today the walk was more in farmland (cattle). But still there were these amazing walls. The lined the path, they outlined the fields, they were everywhere. It is hard to imagine how many centuries it took to build them and how many centuries they have existed.
As I walked today I saw an odd tall skinny building. Before long another, then another. I’ve not seen them before and wondered what they were.
I asked a couple of people but no one knew. At one point I saw one with a door in the side that was open. Inside it looked like beehive boxes. So I’m guessing they are for bees that help pollinate the gardens. I’ll keep researching.
A few other odd sightings today. First an ostrich looking mean and pecking viciously at the fence.
Then I saw a camino traffic jam. I definitely yielded to oncoming traffic.
Today I also passed the marker indicating 100km to Santiago. It’s hard to believe I’ve come 700km and the end is approaching.
The albergue I wanted to stay in tonight was full (the first time on my camino). Probably because of the Sarria pilgrims but it was small only 8 beds. Instead I went on to Portomarin. The albergue was ok but nothing to be excited about. At 6:00 I walked up to town for a beer. I sat out on the church square where the local action was happening. The place served pizza ao I decided I was ready for a change in menu and stayed for dinner.
A group of pilgrims asked if I wanted to join them inside but I declined saying I was working in my blog (plus outside was much better). After a bit a very attractive man and woman asked if they could share my table. I said of course. They had great Italian accents. We talked and they were from the Republic of San Marino. Its a small country totally surrounded by Italy. We talked about their history, their politics, U.S. Politics, George Bush 43 and the equally questionable Italian government. They had seen the movie The Way (unusual for people from non-English countries) and wanted to go. They only had a week so we’re on their first day having left from Sarria this morning. They were sore, happy and excited. It made me realize that the Sarria pilgrims are looking for the way just like everyone else. The Sarria pilgrims made me come to Portomarin and I’m glad they did. I left the San Marino couple with a handshake and a Buen Camino.