Monday, June 11, 2018 … 27 km … 17 miles
“The spirit God has given us is no cowardly spirit, but rather one that makes us strong, loving and wise”2 Timothy 1:7
The majority of today will be on lovely tree-lines lanes, wooden paths, and gravel tracks. We will pass through many small hamlets and there will be plenty of cafés. We will be walking uphill for most of the day and then a sharp decline into Portomarin. And finally, the famous stairs into Portomarin.
This portion of the Camino has the best infrastructure. Plenty of café’s, Camino markers and nice walking paths. Due to the crowds, this is the portion which receives the most attention.
We made our way out of the Albergue at seven but just went two doors up and had breakfast at a café. It was perfect. The delicious orange juice, café con leche and tortilla. All was well. As we were eating, we were noticing the number of pilgrims heading out of town. You could hear the chatter and the sticks clattering on the pavement.
I had seen this before but for everyone else, they were in shock. They couldn’t believe the difference.
Once we left the café, we made our way out of town and through the pilgrims. I was thinking if we could just get to the wooded section, there is a big hill which will start to separate everyone and it will be fine.
There were big groups of middle school kids with teachers. The Spanish actually have field trips on the Camino, which is pretty cool. But boy are they loud.
We finally made our way over the railroad tracks and into the woods. I think we were ahead of them. But wait, another group is ahead of us and lots of other pilgrims.
Oh well, this is what today will be. Time to adjust and accept.
As we walked, the crowds started to spread out. It was difficult at the café’s because there were just so many people. But it is Ok, adjust and accept. Just like life. Don’t let the little things upset you, it’s just not worth it. If we focus on the negative our day will be just that, but if we focus on the positive, it will be wonderful. That’s exactly what we all did, enjoyed the Camino and all that was happening at the moment. Back to laughter and friendship.
I made a point to talk to the new pilgrims, to give them encouragement. Some were excited and walking on the first day high and others looked like they were about to throw in the towel. It was fun to talk to them and hear their stories. They loved to hear about ours as well. All of them saying, “one day, I will walk the full Camino!”
One hundred Kilometer Marker
Today was the day, we would be walking past the 100 km Camino Marker! I can’t believe it, we have walked 799 kilometers and only one hundred to go! Here we are on day 30, with only 4 more to go! Oh, the memories!
Our friends with the 100 km marker!
We continued along and enjoyed ourselves. Walking, eating at some donativos, lots of laughter and moments of resting.
We encountered a herd of sheep.
And we made it to Portomarin.
Portomarin originally sat in the valley near the Miño River. In 1956 construction of the Embalse de Belesar Dam was started and completed in 1962 when the valley was flooded. Before the valley flooded, the most important buildings of the village were moved block by block to the higher ground where Portomarin sits today. The Church of San Juan, (also referred to as Church of San Nicolas), was one of these buildings. It is the largest single nave Romanesque church in Galicia. It was built during the late 12th and early 13th century and is also a fortress church. If you look closely at the church walls, you can see the blocks numbered. They marked it so when they disassembled it in the valley, they could put it back together on the hill. The old village is now underwater and some of the buildings can be seen as you cross the new bridge into the town, if the river is low.
As we were walking across the long bridge, the rain started falling. The lake was high, so we couldn’t see the old village underneath.
At the end of this bridge is a steep set of stairs, unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of them on this Camino. Let’s just say, it’s the last thing you want to do after the long day of walking.
The rain started falling harder so we just walked faster. We had reserved our beds and because I knew this town, I knew exactly where it was. Which was nice because of the rain.
When we had a break in the rain, we went to the main square. Time for dinner, grocery store and church time.
Our Albergue … Villamartin … 20 beds … 10 Euros
And we had a nice surprise at the Albergue, the baby family was staying there also. This is starting to be a pattern, but a nice pattern. I guess our paths were supposed to cross.
That evening we enjoyed the porch at the Albergue. As we were sitting on the porch, one of the groups from today was walking up the street. We still couldn’t believe how many were in the group.
We also made some new friends. Tina and Anni. Tim and Daniel had met them earlier along during their Camino. We had a nice evening just hanging with everyone. It was nice. That’s a lot of Vino, but don’t judge, it was a big group of people.
Our view from the porch!
Monday, June 11th … 27 kms … 17 miles
Sunny, cloudy and then rain at the end of the day.
Today we started out with the crowds. The first time in a while. It was hard. The noise, the distractions. They were walking in crowds, hard to pass. It was hard to pray. Early in the day, I was feeling frustrated like everyone else. I had to keep reminding myself. Be patient, be kind. Not everyone can walk the full Camino.
I lead pilgrimages starting in Samos, so I understand it. But I always try my best to let my pilgrims know to be respectful of all pilgrims, don’t block the path. I think what made it harder was there were busses and busses of teenagers. The Spanish have the opportunity to do this with their students, what an incredible opportunity for these kids. But do you remember what middle school-aged kids act like? Aye Yai Yai!
But, seeing them reminded me to be a child at heart! Remember the joy in life.
Walked most of the day with Marybeth, Jacob and Damien. Tim, Rodney, Daniel and Tomce were with us also.
What a true lesson today. Patience and acceptance with all the new pilgrims. So many pilgrims. Old and young. I think it’s a good reminder. A reminder we all need as we enter back into the world soon. A lesson of patience, kindness, and understanding. A reminder to be childlike. To remember the joy in life.
Listen to all the steps, sticks, and chatter as music. Reminder for tomorrow, let the music of others be the mantra for my walking meditation.
Are you planning a Camino?
Not sure if you want to walk it alone or with a group?
Let us help you walk your dream … the world will be opening up again, are you ready?
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