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Published: October 19th 2018
Bedtime was 7.45 last night. I had all the symptoms of a virus brewing and wanted to give myself the best chance to avoid it. I woke in the morning very dry, and feeling a little worse.
Ah well, some more drugs and away we go.
It was a long, at times steep, climb out of Vilei, but we made good time and settled in at Morgade for a coffee at 9am. 7.8kms.
I changed my saturated shirts, and felt much fresher before continuing to Portomarín. I hadn’t realised how wet they become and am convinced that this is a major factor in my current state of health.
I met up with a Korean girl I hadn’t seen since walking into Burgos, and had a chat about her journey, and the inevitable problems that arise on this walk. She had time out for illness, which seems to be quite common.
The morning was very quiet, and other than the usual dogs barking, cattle mooing, and some crows loudly protesting in the trees overhead, I didn’t notice anything.
A van load of women were dropped off just before our first coffee stop. They walked 600 metres,
had a drink, received the compulsory stamp in their credential, and were back in the van, just past the coffee stop. We saw variations of these pilgrims throughout the day, and it’s unfortunate that they miss out on the real deal. The people you meet, glorious countryside, and that unique experience of the Camino, as well as the pain, blisters, joint issues, and wear and tear that help you appreciate the day, and confront a few of you own inadequacies.
Today was a pleasurable wander up and down country paths, with roadside walking kept to a minimum. The Galician countryside has transformed the Camino into a joyous experience without the harsh aspects of rocky steep tracks and descents that turn toes into blisters. The improved weather would have something to do with it as well.
We walked an extra 7.8kms past Portomarín, to the hamlet of Gonzar. It is said there are more cattle than people in this village, and I saw no evidence to the contrary. I booked our beds from Portomarín, and luckily we secured some of the last few beds available.
The track to Gonzar was initially steep, following soft paths lined with pine
needles from the overhead canopy of trees. The time passed unnoticed as I enjoyed the shady paths that occasionally led into cool breezes that blew up cleared corridors from the valley below.
A few familiar faces were at our albergue, but it was initially booked out by a larger walking group. I’ll be booking every night to Santiago from now on, as the groups are snapping up the good beds before anyone walking in has a chance. It seems unfair that people carrying all their gear, in the true spirit of the Camino, miss out on a bed because someone can walk quicker, with no load, as their suitcase is transported forward. It’s certainly not illegal, and injects more money into the local economy, but it takes the spontaneity out of walking into a village to find a bed. Some villages are totally booked out, forcing extra kilometres onto already tired legs.
Well, that’s my opinion, and there are advantages to having these ‘pilgrims ‘, because facilities are probably better and more common than in the past.
Tomorrow I’m walking to San Xulián, only 20.5 Kilometres, and the rest of the journey to Santiago should be similar.
Easy days ahead.
I meet Tim late next week, so I should be fired up for the last 120kms to Finisterre and Muxia.
I’m eating at the local diner tonight, not because of the food, but rather, because their wifi is good. My Santiago Tart dessert has just been placed in front of me so this post is done.
I’ll pick up my clothes from the line at the back of the cemetery on my way back, and snuggle in for an early night.
Bye for now.
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