Day 25. Friday, September 19, 2014. Portomarin.
88K from Santiago. (Correction to yesterday’s entry: Sarria is 115K from Santiago. It is the last CITY on the Camino where you can start to complete the 100k requirement to earn the Compostela).
We were disappointed to start the day facing constant drizzle, fearing the day would be a washout. We passed through Sarria and then a wooded path which led steadily uphill. We stopped after an hour for coffee and croissants, and by the time we were done the rain had stopped, giving way to a beautiful day. It remained that way until midafternoon.
The number of pilgrims on the Camino today was noticeably more due to the pilgrims just starting the last 100K. It’s easy to spot those just starting. They are fresh and clean have energy. They also seem more hesitant reading the trail markers, not quite in their stride and as if they haven’t found the right adjustment for their backpacks. Those who have been at this for a while, as one pilgrim put it, have “attitude.” We aren’t concerned with what we look or smell like, we are just pushing through to out goal.
We continue to see familiar faces along the Way, sometimes those we haven’t seen for several days. Especially with the addition of the newbies, we have an even greater connection and solidarity. We don’t always remember each others’ names so we use descriptions, usually by country (the German girls, the Danes, that young guy walking with his dad… we are probably “those priests”). We all know who we are talking about. We are like a big group, who together with our possessions, are being swept together across northern Spain. If someone loses something along the way someone is bound to pick it up and return it to you down the road. It is a great sense of being in this together.
Portomarin has an interesting history. It had originally been in the river valley, but when a dam was installed the whole town was moved to higher ground. The church was disassembled brick by brick and reassembled in its new location. If you look hard enough you can still see the numbers! You can also see the remains of building foundations under the bridge as you enter the city.
There is a new energy as we close in on our goal. Four more days until Santiago.