Tag Archives: Way of Saint James

Camino Day 25, Portomarin

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.

Today was a pleasant day through farms and countryside. This section of the Camino seems much more developed, with better walkways and more upscale cafés here and there.

Today was the first time we had to share the Camino with cows.

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.

The images of St. James seem to increase as we get closer to Santiago… in most city squares.

There is a new energy as we close in on our goal. Four more days until Santiago.

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Day 14, Carrion de los Condes

Day 14. September 8, 2014. Carrion de los Condes. We have now completed two weeks on the Camino, and not yet half the distance. That will be in two more days.

Another early morning start to reach Fromista and meet Fr. John Peck who had just arrived. Had to step around puddles from the prior night’s storm. We were treated to another beautiful sunrise. The way followed a man-made canal created to transport the crops. Trucks now transport the crops but the canal brings lovely views to an otherwise tedious walk. The canal also created a stunning entrance to Fromista.

Another day on the mesetta, the flat plain that is short on shade and heavy in the scorching sun. It was a flat journey though, for Fr. John’s first day and those suffering blisters.

The Way in this stage follows a busy highway, so we exercised the option for a quieter path along the river. Our Australia friend joined us for the day. You can see him in the photo of our rest break. Fr. John is the one with the biggest beard.

A fairly uneventful walk, except for another spectacular sky. Perhaps this is God’s way to lift our attention to the heavens rather than the journey on earth.

In Carrion all the albergues are run by religious orders. Wouldn’t you know we would pick the one with the nuns on vacation! There is a beautiful Romanesque church nearby aptly named for the Blessed Mother on the feast of her Nativity. We arrived too late for the village’s celebration of the feast but could hear the fireworks as we entered the town. The feast closed most businesses this afternoon making it hard to get supplies we need for tomorrow.

Mass this evening was followed by the pilgrim blessing and the Salve Regina. Many pilgrims were in attendance.

We are concerned that tomorrow’s journey will start off with 10 miles before we reach another town. Pray for us.

L-R: (an unnamed pilgrim), Fr. James Kauffmann, Fr. John Peck, OSB