Camino Diary Entry # 35
#35 Sarria to Portomarin (23kms) – It doesn’t get any better!
Emails home from the Camino
Being sensible pilgrims, as we are, it was decided that despite some improvement in her health Gwyneth should taxi through to Portomarin the following day and I would meet her there whenever I arrived.
I shared breakfast with a couple from Manhatten who were doing the last 100 kms ‘for a bit of a lark!’ they had 3 days to get to Santiago, but since they were marathon runners they were just going to walk a marathon a day! (I would so love to have seen them again at the end of day 1!) They had returned their rental car to Lugo the evening before but had found it very hard to take anyone seriously when all in the town were out and about and at work in fancy dress!
Leaving Gwyneth to rest up Donald and I headed off – only a little anxious about our combined abilities to follow the arrows!
The yellow paint came good for us and in no time we were at the ‘top of the town’ – yes it did involve a steep staircase. Leaving the church on the outskirts we headed into the early morning fog hanging thickly over the meadows.
The temperatures rose faster than the fog and it felt like walking in a sauna.
Donald soon got very sick of my ‘song of the day’ which was ‘ on the road again….’ especially since I only knew the first line.It got worse when I moved on to ‘I can walk 500 miles and….’ and that was all I could remember of that one too. In the end we resorted to I- pod music and enjoyed a thoroughly pleasant day in the company of Adele, James Blunt, the Beatles and of course The Seekers!I rolled into Portomarin mid afternoon across the bridge and up the stone steps with absolutely no new best friends but in good heart! Donald was particularly chipper because he had met ‘patchwork bunny’ poking out the back of a nice Spanish pilgrim’s pack!
I doubt there was much left of the town any further up the hill than beyond our hotel but we had a lovely outlook across the fields and back to the river.
There was evidence of Gwyneth up in our room but no sign of herself. Using my powers of detection I went back downstairs and asked if there was a swimming pool. Yes! The barman escorted me out to the balcony and pointed, still not sign of Gwyneth, so I called out ‘Hola Gwyneth’ and sure enough she was down there! When I finally got to join her she had a very big grin and said it was her best day walking yet – all the way across the pool! I suspect she caught the little bit of sunburn long before I arrived as she was feeling much better and had possibly been there for quite some time!
We dined in-huise just because it is sometimes easier and the food generally reliable. The dining room was spacious and dotted around it were 3 tables each of 2 people (plus a Frenchman who refused eye contact and said nothing!)
One poor lady had a calf on her that was going to require a bus of its own to move her today. Some pharmacist in Sarria had fitted her into knee support bandages that had obviously been too small and apart from the swelling, in the fairly extreme heat and walking 20 something kms, the surface blood vessels had all ruptured into a very nasty mess!
A bit more ‘cross dining room chat’ and the two American ladies on our left also joined the conversation.
Theresa and Ann really had become ‘new best friends’ on the trail. They met in Pamplona about the time that Ann could scarcely walk because someone had nailed 1000 tacks into the back of her knee caps after the first couple of days and Theresa found herself travelling alone once her neighbuor from Reno, Nevada had read her her heritage and quit after 3 days walking and flown back to the States.(Theresa has not heard from her again and this was sometime back in May).
We learned a lot last evening! We learned that absolutely nothing gets any better even when you are this close to the finish!
Theresa just wants to make it to Santiago so she can ‘get the hell out of here’.Her feet have been broken since day one and she still gets new blisters every day and can hardly walk.She is over it with a capital O! Ann doesn’t really want to be here anymore and she seems to have recently had a dose of funny tummy too!
At this point the lady with the red swollen calf chipped in that she was really glad to hear all this and patting her partner on the arm she said ‘see Honey, you shouldn’t take it all personally – everyone else is feeling the same way I am!’ and so the conversations went on for an hour or two as one horror story after another was exchanged!