Saturday, September 13, 2008


Today's leg was around 25 Km. From the moment we set off , about 8:00AM, until 10:00, it was foggy and very humid. The first 6 Km were all uphill, but absolutely beautiful. This is the true Galicia, with its HORREOS, or corn drying Celtic silos, unique to this area of Spain, and its fields divided by slate walls and narrow paths. Oaks and chestnut trees are abundant, as is water. There are sources everywhere, pure and crystal clear water, so cool and delicious! Today we saw hundreds of pilgrims go by. The interesting thing is that you keep your pace, they keep theirs, so you are pretty much walking on your own all the time. There are never crowded paths along the Camino. At the food stops is where you see the crowds, but not along the path. We finally got to meet Juan Carlos, the Colombian priest that was walking with a large group of teenagers. He was young and very nice.

This area is the heart of farm and dairy country in Galicia, so we passed many beautiful dairy farms, mainly small ones. There were some tough downhill areas today. We stopped at Morgade to have a sandwich and a juice. We heard a Spanish couple arguing because the girl refused to go on walking. Her backpack, she said, was too heavy and she was too sore. At the little cafe where we stopped the lady made a phone call and got a taxi to come and pick the young girl up to take her to Portomarin. Libia, whose back was sore today, asked the taxi driver if he would take her backpack too, so once he said "yes" away it went, and a big weight was off her shoulders, literally. The last downhill after Parrocha was all on pavement, very hard, but we could see the River Mino and the bridge that takes you the city. In 1962 a flood covered the entire city, so its inhabitants retrieved every stone they could and rebuilt it above, about 30 m from the river. The river is green and clear, a gorgeous setting for the town. Once we crossed the bridge, we hoped our hotel would be on the lower part, but OF COURSE NOT! We still had to climb 50 steps to get to the closest part of town and walk another 3 blocks to get to it. Fortunately it had an elevator and is a modern and comfortable place. We were delighted to see Libia's pack in the lobby. It had only cost 3 euros to transport it. We decided to send the backpacks by the same means the next day to Palas de Rei. After we showered, we went into town to see the Church of St. Nicholas, originally from the XIII C, the main square, and the many shops around it. I bought a tiny backpack where I could carry my essentials and my water bottle for the next day. We found a fabulous Meson on the main square, so we had a dinner of "Pulpo da feira" or Galician octopus, croquettes, Galician cheese and a pitcher of sangria. It was so great to sit there enjoying the people, the town and the moment. Upon our return to the hotel, we called our friends Justo and Stella who would be meeting us the next day to inform them that we had made reservations in Palas de Rei at Casa Belinde. Son after 11:00 PM we turned off the lights.

A "cruceiro" along the way

100 Km left to go!

Sylvia with Colombian and Spanish priests

Galician Blondes

Church of St. Nicholas, Portomarin

Rebuilt town, Portomarin

Bridge over Mino River at Portomarin

50 more steps up?

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