Sarria to Portomarin - 22.4 km

June 11
Lat: 42.807222 Lon: -7.615

The alarm went off at 6 a.m. and I was up and packing to head out after breakfast, which was provided by the hotel. This was a different style of serving. It was put out like in the motels at home. There was a buffet style where you fix your own and have a host of choices including canned fruit cocktail, which wasn't too bad. I ate quickly and was on my way by 7:20 a.m. It was a great day to walk as it was overcast and cool so I didn't get very hot on the climb to start. It was pretty much that way the entire morning.

One thing you must remember when leaving Sarria is that from this point forward to Santiago you must get two stamps (Sellos) a day. I decided that I would try to do all churches, but that proved to be a little harder than I thought. In all the little towns and villages most of the churches are closed in the morning, so I stopped at all the bar/cafes and looked at all the stamps to find the best looking one to use during the day and then when I come into the towns for the night, I'll go to the church and get the end-of-the-day stamp there. It worked very well today and I have a very pretty stamp from the cafe where I had tea. I will try to get my first stamp about half way to my final destination every day and this should prove that I walked it (not that they are going to check). I will try to do this again tomorrow.

Today's walk was very interesting after I left the city as I walked along small country lanes, many that aren't paved but just lined with granite stepping stones that will keep your feet above the normal flood levels. The path today looked like it was plowed out and the trail was deep with large rock walls lining the path on both sides. There was one interesting thing that happened today along the trail. I was walking along by myself when I was approached by two women with clip boards. One came up to me and handed it to me to read (and it was in English) and sign. It was a petition of sorts. I started to read it and the first thing that caught my eye was that it was for helping the “International Dumb Deaf People.” Well, they picked the wrong person to give this to as I worked with the deaf for many years and I sign. The first thing I said was that I was offended because the deaf aren't dumb. By the way, I was signing this, and talk about dumb looks that I got from them, but not a word.

About that time, a Peregrino came down the trail and he starting waving his hands at me to get away from those people. I just threw the clipboard back to the woman and said “NO!” I caught up with the Peregrino and asked him if he spoke English? He said “yes,” so we talked. I told him I wasn't going to sign the paper anyway, but what was it all about. He said that those people are from Romania and were gypsies and that first they get you to sign the paper then they extract money from you. He said its a big con. He is from Madrid and said that they are having a huge problem with them.

Just before I got to Barbadelo I started seeing a lot of cow dung along the lanes as the farmers bring their cows from one field to another by way of these lanes. I was at the Casa de Rego having a cup of tea when I saw a giant tractor slowly going up the lane and taking up the entire path. I was just about ready to leave when the cafe owner told me that I couldn't leave yet as the farmer was bringing a cow to the bigger pasture up the hill. They had the cow hooked up to the back of the tractor and was pulling it slowly along. The cow did not want to go but had no choice. About ten minutes went by before I got to leave. I did get a second cup of tea in the process. (By the way, it was the best tea that I've gotten since I've been on the trail). The name of the cafe is the Casa de Rego and they are just before you get to the village of Mercadoiro.

After I left there I was only about 7 km from Portomarin and the end of my day. I got to my hotel, the Hotel Villajardin, at about 12:30 p.m., but noticed that the church was open so I walked about a block just to see if I could get my stamp before checking into the hotel and sure enough I could. After that I went to get my room and get cleaned up. It was a great day. I got in a nice walk and also got in early in the day. After cleaning up I got lunch and waited for Hawk and Christine to come into town. At about 6:30 we went to dinner together. After dinner I went for a walk around town before going and getting ready for tomorrow.

Looking for more adventures tomorrow, so check back and see where I get to on the Camino...Buen Camino!

Spain Blog 2013

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