Left the hub of Sarria behind today and headed for the smaller village of Portomarin (22kms). The route was very pleasant with lots of trees on dirt tracks and a little bit of road. It also passed through farming villages and often walking past a shed of dairy cattle near burnt the hairs in my nostrils!
In the last 6 or 8kms I met Brian - a 50 something Minister who is finishing a Masters Degree in Social Work/Science now that all his kids have left home, Mick - a 73 year old Irishman who recently had an eye removed due to cancer and is yet to find out whether said cancer has spread, and Paul - a 52 year old Irishman travelling in the same church group as Mick and who is looking forward to experiencing what the Camino has to offer. When we arrived in Portomarin, I had a couple of beers with Mick and Paul and they certainly are very funny, cheeky characters! Poor Mick didn't realise that, if you start the Camino in Sarria, you are required to obtain 2 stamps per day in your credential (passport for the Camino) and so he left
in a taxi bound for Sarria to get another stamp and return in time for dinner!!
Portomarin was originally built around an old Roman bridge over the Mino River (longest river in Galicia - 340kms or so) in the12th Century (circa). The Romanesque church of San Nicolas was rebuilt piece by piece from it's original site to the main square of the new town centre in the early 1960's when the Mino River was damned to create a reservoir, subsequently putting the old village underwater. Many buildings from the village were moved stone by stone, however lots were not and so in summer when the dam is low apparently you can see the remains of the original village. A.MAZ.ING!
I hit the pavement to a frosty and foggy morning, but heard the forecast for the day was fine and warm. Today was a 25km stretch to Palas de Rei with a couple of little hills and unfortunately lots of walking besides roads which made it a little boring and sometimes scary when the large trucks sped past you. LOTS of people on the Camino today, it's expected to get busier and busier the closer we get
The fog cleared up around 10:30am and I stopped for a tea and baguette with an omelette style filling of ham and cheese, it was so good and what I needed for the hours ahead. Caught up with Gloria and Linda from Canada (mother, 72, and daughter, 54, team) who I met the other day and had a few laughs and a nice chat before heading off again. For some reason I have a tendency to walk fast, even though at times during the day I often remind myself to slow down as there is no rush, I just power on. People make comment about it too, but I can't help it, still take the time to rest and kick my shoes off, take photos and eat though which is very important. Anyway, my pace put me in Palas de Rei just before 2pm today and with plenty of time for a much welcomed afternoon nap after doing the washing. About to head out, have dinner and a bit more of a look around the town. Hope to see familiar faces for a drink also, lots of Australian's on this section of the Camino who are not
too hard to spot!
3 more days, 68kms to go.....
PS Kids, what a great idea it was to paint mummy's toes before leaving as when I take my shoes off as so often I do during the day, you are the first thought that enters my head!
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