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    • Day 21


      June 8, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 66 °F

      Much quieter start today. Ancient road with walls on each side and trees grown into the walls. I get that twitch I get and break out my rain gear. Other pilgrims smirk and shake their heads, but in 200m a light spritzy, evanescence, just enough to wet you through hits and I hike on by as they dig out their kit. More ancient stone farm buildings. I meet an older man having a pipe while leaning on his bike. I see that he has an artificial leg, a really expensive metal one with an articulating knee joint. As I climb the steep hill, he hops on the bike charging hard and passes me. An inspiration. I link up again with Dave and Gerry Jones. Before reaching the bridge to Portomarin I face three choices. The choices are borne out on a board.: go right and stay safe, go left (the ancient way) which clearly leads to injury and death and a further route in green. I go left and where the two part are more indications of death with pictures showing a narrow steep slot canyon with no steps on the ancient middle way, I stick to the far left green route and am rewarded with life. I reach the bridge and ring the Liberty Bell, then I read the sign indicating that if I ring the bell, I am morally obligated to visit the sister city of Portomarin. Dave and Gerry wait for me on the other side. The bridge spans 500 over a fjord of water from a vast lake to the north. I arrive too early for checkin and wind up chatting with Dave and Gerry over a long 2 beer calzone lunch. Check in, shower and a machine laundry wash and dry set up in a garage in the hotel parking lot. This is the swankiest place in Portomarin a three star Parador called the Pousada de Portomarin…a nice treat. Laundry is 4€ with automatic soap, dry for 3€, the cheapest so farRead more

    • Day 41

      Sarria to Portomarin

      May 31, 2022 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

      I had an early start with the sun just rising again. The first hour was hard while my body woke up and I argued with myself whether I could do this or not. But then things got easier and I began to enjoy it.

      I think some of it may have been the large and noisy groups (even at 6am) racing past me. There are so many who began their Camino today and I felt old and slow and dusty beside them. But they did slow down as the kilometres added up and their feet began to hurt like the rest of us.

      I had a delicious pizza for lunch when I arrived and I’ve got another private room which is bright and airy.

      Unfortunately I’ve developed a reaction to the strapping tape and my calves are a bit of a mess. But luckily I met up with Nicole the physio from Brisbane this evening and she had a few ideas for me to try.

      It’s raining now and the forecast for the next few days is rain. Hopefully they are wrong but we are in Galicia now so it is to be expected I guess.

      Albergue-Pensión Manuel
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    • Day 32

      Day 29 - Slow, Rhythmic, Strong, Repeat

      October 14, 2022 in Spain ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

      "Jobs fill your pockets, but adventures fill your soul." - Jaime Lyn Beatty

      Day 29 - Outside Sarria to Vilachá- 22km - 5hrs 45min.

      Today was a long, drizzly but rewarding walk.

      I headed out at 7:15am and consciously left my rain poncho in my backpack that was being transported. I am trying to have a positive attitude and manifest happiness. So, there was not going to be any rain today! I was meeting Annette near her Albergue in Sarria so we could walk together and as I had a total of 22km to do today, I was very happy for the company. I made it to town in 25 mins and got settled for a cup of tea. After Annette joined me, I realized my manifestation was not working and it started to rain - fairly heavily. We waited it out a bit and left around 8:30 am after it had slacked off somewhat. I was going to buy a cheap plastic poncho but as “cheap” was 12€, I decided I’d get wet. And wet I got!!! A light mist and drizzle followed us for the first 7km. Lovely. Thankfully I was wearing my merino wool tank and long sleeved shirt so I was never cold. And I knew they would dry with my body heat and there was lots of that from the hills!

      There were SO many people on the trail. School class groups, long distance pilgrims and those that had just started. All day there were crowds of people and it was kind of weird to see and honestly, a bit annoying.

      Shortly after leaving Sarria, a Camino friend of Annette’s named Kate, joined us. On one of the fist uphills, Kate told me her grandfather “Poppa Roy” ( Rot was also the name of one of my own grandfathers!) used to be a long distance swimmer. When he had a long swim, he had a mantra that Kate has been using on her Camino and especially for going up hills. She also uses small steps, tries to glide rather than plod, and go slowly. The mantra is ‘Slow, Rhythmic, Strong’. I used this and added ‘Repeat’ to the end. So every hill after, I was invoking Poppa Roy to help me up the hills. Head down, don’t look to see how long and steep the hill was and just go at my own pace. Annette and Kate let me lead, even though they are both faster walkers than I am. We had a nice tea rest break after about 8km and Annette had bought a lovely cake slice that she shared. Bit early for me, but holy heck was it ever good! While we were there it decided to stop raining, which was lovely.

      On we went. We were going to be hitting the 100km marker this morning and were a bit pumped. This means there are only 100kms to go until you reach Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Between the towns of Ferreira and A Peña, we found it. The 100km marker! Like almost every other pilgrim, we decided to take photos here to mark the occasion. We only had to wait for two people in front of us, thankfully. But due to the crowds, after the 3 of us had our turn, there had to be over a dozen people waiting. And they kept piling up! We got out of there quickly and continued on our way. We were actually able to do over 1 km with almost no one around, at one point. And it was very peaceful for the first time today.

      Last night at the Sarria pilgrim office, I had been told about an amazing bar that did the best hamburgers in Galicia. I had mentioned this to Annette and Kate so when we saw the bar, it was a foregone conclusion that we were stopping! Best sangria and burger I have had since….well, at least since the other great one in Pamplona :-) After eating, we hit the road for the last push and were able to strip down to bare essentials as it was now hot, hot, hot. I only had 1.5km to go to my Albergue and they were closer to 4km to Portomarín where they were staying the night.

      We finally arrived at my Albergue Casa Banderas, just before 3:30pm. Not bad timing for the day - just under 6hrs total walking time for 22km. I’m happy with that! This Albergue is run by a couple from the US and is a converted barn, as many Albergues are. Ray and Dominique great you with a small charcuterie board as there are few places to stop on the way here, and pilgrims are always hungry on arrival. As I had just had this massive burger, Dominique waited a bit and then brought me wine and a lovely fruit and nut board. Perfection! The Albergue has a washer and drier so I was able to pay for the luxury of a wash and dry for all the clothes I have - with the exception of those I needed for modesty! I had a shower in the outdoor shower area (so cool - like being in the Caribbean) and then did more planning as I have nothing booked after this point. Dinner was homemade vegetable soup, spaghetti bolognaise and a butternut squash bolognaise, triple chocolate brownie with homemade vanilla ice cream with blackberry jam. I’ve had WAY more food than I needed today!

      Looks like tomorrow is another 20km day with the first 10km all uphills again. I’ve got this (I hope!!) Slow, Rhythmic, Strong, Repeat.
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    • Day 41

      Sarria - Villacha

      May 24, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

      Goodmorning, etwas später gestartet heute, war nicht mehr so motiviert. Wir lassen Sarria hinter uns. Jetzt ist es schon wieder viel besser nach dem 1. Stop in Barbadelo, ich habe etwas „Heimweh “. Ich weiß aber in ein paar Tage habe ich mein lange ersehntes Ziel gut erreicht. Optimistisch sein und das bin ich, ich bekomme mein vertrautes Gefühl wieder zurück. Das geht auch gar nicht anders, man kann sich hier nur erfreuen an eine traumhafte Natur. Vögel Gezwitscher, herrlicher Landluft, kleine uralte Dörfer, Kirchen und Kloster die man nur aus dem Film “der Name der Rose” kennt. Ich denke oft daran, wie die Pilger früher gereist sind, das waren schon andere Umstände und ich empfinde tiefen Respekt. Wir haben dicke Wanderschuhe, Smartwool Socken, Smartwool Shirts, Winddichte Jacken und Regenschutzkleidung, Schlafsäcke und Cremes für jedes Körperteil. Haben zu Essen , Trinken und Pilgermenüs und das für kleines Geld. Uns geht es nur gut.
      Heute sind es nur 23 Km. Es regnet wieder, bis jetzt konnte ich mich noch gut schützen unter dem dichten Laub. Also mein Poncho wieder anziehen und fleißig weitermachen, nach 10 Minuten suche ich doch etwas Schutz in einer alten Scheune, ich setze mich neben dem alten Trecker und zwischen Kaminholz was lecker riecht.
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    • Day 31


      October 5, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

      12.4 miles walked. Today was...slightly frustrating. I'm trying my best to keep the Camino spirit. With all the new people that started in Sarria and will only be doing the last 100km it has gotten very crowded. Despite that, it was a beautiful day. The landscape was so green.
      We started early and got to watch the sunrise over the mountains.
      Lunch was interesting. We stopped at a place that had a buffet set out. The price was donativo meaning you could pay whatever you wanted. Food was good too. I got to try some things that I had been too nervous to order at a restaurant in case I didn't like it.
      The place we are staying tonight is great. An oasis from the busy. It's run by an American couple, and by the smells coming from the kitchen, dinner is going to be delicious.
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    • Day 34

      Approaching Portomarin

      June 20, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 55 °F

      Pilgrims from Latvia Ralf and Guenta ( second Latvian couple I meet on The Way)

      They got LIBERTY BELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you even believe it?!?!?

      And I tell you...I got SERIOUS vertigo crossing that bridgeRead more

    • Day 40

      Into Palas de Rei

      October 27 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 50 °F

      Today we walked about 20 miles. It’s getting a little bit more difficult because we both have blisters now and because our feet are just achy. I don’t think that’s going to remedy itself. I think we’re just gonna have achy feet for the next 70 km or so. This town has two pharmacies and two small markets. The town is not actually that big! Anyway, we visited the pharmacy to get some blister treatment. And we picked up more ibuprofen. I think we’re gonna make it for three more days of walking.

      This morning in Portomarin when we woke up, we could hear the water coming down super hard on our roof. Luckily, by the time we were walking, it didn’t rain nearly as much. We’ve had a few periods of no rain at all today! We didn’t take as many pictures as usual because it’s hard to do it when your phone is in your pocket under a couple layers of rain gear!

      A lot of our walk today was through forested land. We also went by a lot of rolling hills and pastures. By enlarge it was a pleasant walk. At this point, our feet are so sore though, everything hurts! It is hard to imagine being a medieval pilgrim, making this journey in sandals!
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    • Day 5

      Day two Camino: 17 miles 🔥

      October 10, 2022 in Spain ⋅ 🌧 50 °F

      We started today bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to conquer the day! Soon after we started though we were hit with a pretty steep hill, pouring rain and high winds. But not to worry- we had the gear!! We threw on our raincoats, rain pants and even rain cover for our backpacks! We continued throughout the day walking with a steady stream of other pilgrims. We stopped for lunch- bacon and cheese sandwich- and then for ice cream of course! As the miles passed our feet definitely were feeling it! The newness and wonder wore off pretty quickly! By mile 14 we were pretty done but we dug deep and knocked out the final 3! We arrived at our hotel- a 218 year old farm house with beautiful grounds and a delicious meal. We are definitely beat and glad for our “short” day of 9 miles tomorrow!

      A and E
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    • Day 31

      Day 31: Sarria a Portomarin

      May 30, 2022 in Spain ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

      Slight headache this morning on account of the chupitos last night! But I make it out of the albergue in one piece, no later than 6. An early start rewards me with a beautiful blanket of mist throughout the town and I make my way into the countryside.

      Pure magic today, an absolutely beautiful walk. The path feels ancient, twisted trees line either side and gorgeous countryside in every direction. Feels special and demands silence as I walk through the mist.

      I stop at a hut because I spot Yorkshire tea!! Turns out a man called Richard has bought a little house and offers British tea for a donation. I enjoy a cup of tea with him and he tells me about his life. He also has military parents, and now works as a translator and moves between Spain and York. He tells me about his passion for Yorkshire ales, and shipped me his collection of beer mats. As we part ways, gifts me one of the mats. I am happy!

      A couple of climbs, and it really feels like Galicia now. All the smells from my childhood, the smell of the damp earth and forest. The mist still hangs throughout the day.

      I don’t take many photos today as I just experience it. But I do make it to 100km mark; a good and bad thing. A great achievement and a chapter closing. I reach the stunning town of Portomarin around 11.30, utterly bewitched by the landscape. I feel quiet and contemplative.

      The day is spent milling around the town, having some food, eating with Kevin from Germany and then later with Hodges, Nico and a group of Americans. In good company today.

      Tomorrow I make my way closer to Santiago!
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    • Day 10

      Sarria - Portomarin (23,4km)

      July 19 in Spain ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

      "Geht in der Kraft, die euch gegeben ist, geht leichtfüssig, geht zart" - so schwebten wir über dem Camino bis nach Portomarin bei angenehm bewölktem Himmel, spürbar erholt von gestern. Wir passierten unter alten Eichen den besagten Kilometerstein 100 und dies - oh Schreck - mit hunderten jungfräulichen Peregrinos, die (also doch) in Sarria ihre Reise antraten. Ob spanische Schulklassen oder paraguaianische Reisegruppen, allesamt in gleichen Shirts uniformiert und die Flagge ihres Landes über dem Rucksack tragend, uns blieb nichts erspart.
      Signifikant für diesen Weg sind aber nicht nur neue Pilger, sondern auch Hórreos, typisch galicische Getreidespeicher, welche die bäuerliche Kulturlandschaft prägen. Ihre Funktion bestimmt die Form: Einerseits sorgen die seitlichen Schlitze für eine gute Durchlüftung (was aufgrund des häufigen Regens und der hohen Luftfeuchtigkeit in Galizien wichtig ist); andererseits werden dadurch Vögel und Nagetiere ferngehalten.
      Einige Kilometer später sahen wir in der Ferne unser Ziel Portomarin, über dessen moderne Häuser wir zunächst etwas erstaunt waren. Doch unser Reiseführer brachte Licht ins Dunkeln: Das ursprüngliche Portomarin wurde in den 1950er-Jahren im Zuge eines von Franco betriebenen Stausee-Projekts geflutet. Die ehemalige romanische Templerkirche aber (früher San Juán de Jerusalén, heute San Nicolás), wurde Stein für Stein abgetragen und oberhalb des Stausees wieder aufgebaut. Da steht sie nun wie ein Monolith, mit Zinnen bewehrt. Ohne Glockenturm, dafür mit Glockengeläut blechern und kratzend aus Lautsprechern.
      Wir haben uns auch kulinarisch weitergebildet und uns an den galicischen Pulpo, also Oktopus, herangewagt. Er schmeckte hervorragend! Ab morgen sind es nur noch vier Tagesetappen bis Santiago - unglaublich wie die Zeit vergeht...
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    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Portomarín, Portomarin

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