Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Melide to Triacastela

Melide to Palais de Rei - Sunday, September 4, 2011
67 kms from SdC

A Santiago cross outside of Palais de Rei.
Without my backpack the walk was delightful, especially through the forests. Walking on either damp gum leaves or pine needles is like walking on carpet. Ah, Galicia - where there are plenty of shady walks on sandy paths. Most pilgrims love walking in Galicia and by this time have slowed down. I took it slowly knowing that if I did not finish I would return next year.
The horse came out to see me pass by - the horse and I looked at each other for the longest time, I thought it was beautiful.
I think this is for birds, anybody know?
I believe this Iglesia (church) is a Magdalene church.
One of the many old bridges along The Way. This could be Roman but I do not have my guidebook because I tear the pages out as I go along and if I need another I buy one.  As I have written before, I am sure John Brierley does not mind.

At Coto I met Veronica another pilgrim going my way.  Veronica is 73 years old, English and lives in Paris, France.  This year Veronica walked Camino Primativo to Santiago and is now walking home from SdC. Veronica will not arrive in Paris until November 2. We exchanged telephone numbers for texting and will let each other know when we are close to Triacastela.  This is Veronica's third walk east and she tells me that the walks from Triacastela to O'Cebreiro and also Molinaseca to Cruz de Fero are horrendous.  Veronica explained that the pilgrims coming down the narrow tracks take an attitude of precedence and will knock you out of the way (it happened to her), therefore she wants to share a taxi. If it works out we are in Triacastela and Molinaseca at the same time then I will share with her.
This is not the horreo (grain storage) that I wanted to photograph (story below) but taken later in the day.

At Casanova I wanted to photograph an horreo because in the mist with a pilgrim sitting there it was a nice shot. The pilgrim stood out because he had on a yellow jacket. Then I noticed the pilgrim had prosthetic legs so I put my camera away.  As I came up to him a man with a young boy (maybe 10 years old) stopped to talk with him.  They wanted their photograph taken so I obliged.  Walking up to the man, I touched my heart and put my hand out to shake his hand.  He smiled warmly and shook my hand. Buen camino's and I was on my way. Blisters, what blisters? The camino showed me that my problems are few when others can walk with such a handicap.
Over the front door of a house ... I think this is one of the most photographed yellow arrows along The Way.
Bakery vans parked along the road. No bread delivery today in the Palais de Rei area or anywhere in Spain on a Sunday. Except on Sunday's bread vans like these are seen all day going in and out of the villages delivering bread to the bars, hostals and private residences.
The language? Gallego. The cheese? Galicia's famous Tetilla which is shaped like a breast.

I spoke with the hospialero at San Xulián and he told me that there are many problems with bed bugs along the camino this year. He sprays every pilgrims backpack before allowing it in the albergue. This was not the first time that I had heard about bed bugs as pilgrims spoke about it and now and then.

It is Sunday and many bars do not serve food.  I was sitting at a bar and Veronica came along, she asked if I was going to use a mochilla taxi to Portomarin. The young man at the bar thinks it will be OK but he cannot confirm until 06:45 tomorrow. Guess I will have an early start. Portomarin is 25 kms and a lovely walk so an early start will be good. If I have to carry my pack I will stop in Ventas Narón where I met Sue Kenney in 2009. This means two days to Portomarin 25 kms with my pack, without the pack I could do this walk.

I overheard a conversation of four young pilgrims.  A nicely spoken English lad said that he adds an o to an English word to make it sound Spanish. When he wants to order more beers he asks for, "two beer-o's for me-o and my mate-o". This gave me a private giggle.

A nice day on the camino. It was cool and misty in the morning, warm to hot in the afternoon however there is plenty of shade on this section to keep a pilgrim cool.

Palais de Rei to Portomarin - Monday, September 5, 2011
90 kms from SdC

I had been seeing the return arrow along the way and decided to photograph this one.

Did I write 06:45? I did. I was downstairs on time for my mochilla to be picked up and it was waiting for me in Portomarin. Veronica came as I was leaving and placed her mochila with mine. She had not had breakfast yet, I left knowing I would see her again.  I did, and as she passed by I thought I would take her photograph.  By the time I had my camera out and took the shot she was just a blue spot in the mist.
The morning dew gives wonders to photograph. Again the path was like a carpet when in the forests. There are sections on quiet roads today and the blacktop is hot on the feet.

I took a photo for a father who was walking his two little girls (7 and 9 yrs) hand-in-hand uphill on the stony path. Charlotte would be happy to know they were in black pants with bright pink, white, and black fleece jackets. With their black hair pulled into long ponytails they were very cute.
My granddaughter grew a sunflower in a pot and was so proud of it. I decided that sunflowers will be my Charlotte reminder. Charlotte is my Camino Angel thinking of her cheers me up along the way.
A stop along the path. It was so quiet and peaceful giving just the solitary feeling one hopes for when on the camino.

Before Gonzar a woman was walking very slowly and she looked to be in pain. Then I noticed she was in prayer and walking with bare feet. Bare feet to SdC!!

Walking the last few kilometers into Gonzar there is a very steep uphill for the westbound pilgrims (for me it was downhill). One woman reminded me of myself in 2009 ... slow step, slow step, slow step. A man came along and he was not riding his bike but pushing it uphill.  I said, Buen Camino as he passed, then I hear fart, loud fart, I giggled and walked on.
At the Bar in Gonzar the barista saw me taking photographs and asked me to take a photo of her and the man she was with.  I asked for her name and address and here is what she wrote, (no name) Bar Gonzar, Gonzar, Portomarin. I bet the photos will arrive.

A group of French teens walked past singing and they sounded wonderful.  The teens were followed by a man playing a Jews Harp, two nice experiences along The Way.
In Portomarin some decades ago they moved the village up the hill to allow the reservoir to be built.  All the stones of the church were numbered and the church was rebuilt stone by stone. But now after two years with very little rain the reservoir is extremely low and the old bridge and village are uncovered. You can see the water level on the new bridge.

Portomarin to Sarria - Tuesday, September 6, 2011
110 kms from SdC

A morning of errors. I went the wrong way out of Portomarin, what was I thinking following the pilgrims to SdC? That cost me at least a kilometer. Then at a three way junction with no pilgrims and no arrows to be seen (big clue here) I chose one way.  A woman came out to tell this errant pilgrim the way she should be walking. I had missed an arrow about 100 mts back from the three way.  Another 1km.
I should have remembered that I needed to go down these stairs to leave town and NOT over the iron bridge. Following are some scenes from along the way today.
What is this? Did the pilgrims forget to leave their stone at Cruz de Fero? Are they discarding stuff to lighten their packs? It is an interesting reminder that you are on the camino. Unfortunately some pilgrims consider it a rubbish dump and have left garbage. Not everybody is a careful pilgrim.
As I came along two cows were on the path, one moved off, but this cow was not moving for anybody.
It was a long downhill on this track and only one pilgrim came towards me as I neared the end.  Being the old lady on the trail I stood my ground and she went onto the stones for me to pass.
The Bar at Morgade, one of my favorite stops on the camino.

A couple passed me with what appeared to be twins, one on each parents back instead of their backpacks.  They must be using a support vehicle. I have seen a few babies in trekking strollers or backpacks. It would be tough work bringing a baby along the camino.

Another touch the heart moment. A young man was coming towards me and of course I noticed the crutches and one leg. I smiled at him while touching my heart and said, "hola, buenas dias, buen camino". He gave me a smile that could melt ice (he was extremely handsome) and replied, "gracias, y usted - buen camino". Again, I thought about my blisters and knew that I had nothing to complain about. Veronica and I both spoke of this lovely young man at dinner as his smile was captivating, we remembered him for his smile and I think I will always remember him.
The pram was on the road, the pilgrims were laying on a blanket in the field.  They called out to me, "aren't you going the wrong way". No, I am not. I asked about the pram. They told me, "no baby, just a good way to carry our stuff".
I have never done it before but this time I left my mark - Luiza 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011.

At Mercadorio I asked for José whom I had met in 2009.  In 2009 José had told me he was a collector of effectivo (note money) and asked if I had $US1. I did not. So this year I carried some notes for him including the rarely used $US2.  He was cleaning the albergue but the hospitalero serving at the Bar called him for me. José was thrilled with the notes and told me to have a Café con Leche y Tarta Santiago (coffee and almond tart) on him. So, if you are going to be walking through Mercadorio carry some notes from your home country for him (probably not the Euro).

I now have seven blisters.

The Way today seemed to be uphill all the way and when I looked at John Brierly's Guidebook it was confirmed, it was uphill until Brea.

Sarria to Triacastela - Wednesday, September 7, 2011
110 kms from SdC

The route via San Xil (San Chil) is lovely and the last 4 kms are all downhill. I took the road down through the forest, there is an alternate path to the alternate road route. The verges were soft with old leaves - again, it was like carpet.

My blisters do not hurt because they are on my toes.  I took out the gel insoles today, like duh! Having the insoles in my boots gave my toes less space, lets see if this makes a difference. I realized my mistake, I had tried the boots on without insoles. Oh, how I wish that I had my Timberland boots. It was so nice walking without blisters and this year with new knees I was so looking forward to a pain free walk.

There were fewer pilgrims today for two reasons: 1), I am now past Sarria the starting point for the last 100k pilgrims, although many newbies were waiting at the taxi rank this morning - not wanting to walk more than 100 kms they get a ride to the marker, go figure! Yes, I spoke with some pilgrims who were waiting, no judgement from me I just don't get it, and 2), many pilgrims take the alternate route to Samos to visit the Benedictine Monastery.  It adds one day to their camino but the walk to Samos is lovely.

Your PERFUME stinks! I want to mention something here .... PERFUME for both men and women. Usually ONLY those with little or no backpacks, those that many call bus pilgrims who use support transport and have large suitcases i.e. everything but the kitchen sink, you know who you are. Phew, when a perfumed pilgrim walked past I would gag and then look back, sure enough they would have a little pack or no pack at all. Normally I do not notice perfume .... this was a first. Hang on, men too, your aftershave stinks.

 I love this albergue sign at Triacastela, bicycles welcome!
At 14:30 I was having lunch when along came Veronica. She had used a mochilla taxi and her backpack had not arrived. She was worried. We are both staying at Casa David for convenience of the taxi tomorrow morning to O'Cebreiro. Casa David is a nice, clean, Casa Rural and I highly recommend it. By the time Veronica returned to Casa David her pack was there.

After lunch I again found time for the Internet as I needed to buy my air ticket from Bilbao, Spain to Düsseldorf, Germany. This for my visit with Christine and Rolf in Duisburg. It seems all the packages that I mailed have arrived and my friends have received their postcards.  I usually do not send postcards from the camino. This year I will be sending to Charlotte who always sends her Gran a card from places she visits, so I added a few to my friends. I did not Blog today as I was too tired.

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