Tag Archive: Portomarin



 
 
It would be another 23 kilometers today and the weather forecast says more rain. Oh dear. Left our hotel at 8:30am, careful not to drink much coffee nor fill up  much on breakfast lest I go looking for a bush in the next 5-7 kilometers leaving the town of Portomarin towards Palas de Rei. Wearing only my windbreaker over my Merino shirt and shorts, I welcomed the slight drizzle and hoped it would be like yesterday’s weather. It was not. 
 
   

 

And just as I dreaded, it was a long uphill climb. Darn! It’s a struggle to stop, get my backpack off, take off my windbreaker, dry up a bit (you can break out in sweat walking!) then deciding whether to put the jacket back on or wrap it around your waist. Unlike Day 1 when we crossed many fields, a forest and a bubbling stream, today’s walk didn’t present much by way of “communion with Nature”. For a good 5 kms or so, we walked along a major road which we had to cross 3x I think. Oh Lord. 

 

 

We were only too happy to stop at Casa Garcia for mid-day refreshments. This guesthouse looked better than most. Cozy. Our next stop was LUNCH where croquetas de quezo y patatas, hamburguesa, tortilla and empanada were enjoyed while it started to really pour. Thankfully, I brought my fleece vest and raincoat/poncho. So, 4 layers of clothing — shirt, fleece vest, windbreaker and poncho — and my gloves and beanie completed my ensemble to battle this Galician weather. And I calculated there’s 10 more kilometers at this point before reaching Palas de Rei!

 

  

 

The Camino is truly a test of willpower. I decided on just doing the last 100 as I don’t have the energy to walk 800, or even 500 kilometers. Now I ask myself if I have the energy for even 100-113 kms. I’m bushed!

 

If only I could break the camino to walk only 10-13 kms daily, I’d be fine. IF I had the luxury of time, I would have gone for 10 days. But as it happened, I’m stuck to do this in 6 days. Thus, the first 2 days’ walk brings you near the halfway mark at 23 kms/day or a total of 46 kms. out of the required 100 to earn the compostela. 

 

 

 

Before long, we were approaching Palas de Rei. But I fell behind the pack to change my wet socks. Can’t risk having blisters. A slather of Vaseline which i carried in my backpack and I’m good to go for the day’s final 3 kms. Somewhere along the path, the road was all mud and water. No space for a single step without risking a slip. I wondered why this man was standing along the elevated edge seemingly waiting for pilgrims. He stretched out his hand and said “I’d help you”. Reaching for his hand, he pulled me towards the elevated bank where I trudged on to finish my day’s camino. What a gallant peregrino!

 

By the time  we reached Complejo de Cabana in Palas do Rei,  we got quite a surprise. Not 23 kms we’re told, but 32.6 kilometers. Duh? No wonder I felt wasted. My feet need some serious TLC. Gosh, I can’t believe I paid for this! Lol. Buen Camino!

 

 


 

 

Well, not exactly. Or you wouldn’t be reading this. Pre-booked hotels via caminoways.com have excellent wifi connection. Yey! But I confess I felt a great deal of excitement over the looming solitude and physical challenge as I prepared for the last 113 kilometers or 70 miles walking from Sarria in Lugo to Santiago de Compostela. As the day neared, i grew more anxious…. bordering on nervous wreck. Can I really do this?

 



Switching off. At least for 6 hours each single walking day. No sweat. I can easily do that. Even longer, if need be. My practice walks then lasted 2-3 hours straight. Like 20,000 steps or so. But this time, it’s not only longer hours. The ground’s not paved nor even, and there’s an incline here and there. In some spots,  it’s not even dry. Very wet, I may add. Even muddy. Every couple of hours, the camino is suspended for some serious oxygen breaks, backstretching, fluid replenishment, dry-ups, pee breaks, or just a change of socks and slathering of more Vaseline on the feet. 




 


 
 
 
 
“Every pilgrimage is a journey backwards. Every pilgrim’s step is a step towards his childhood.”   
         — Charles Foster (The Sacred Journey)
 
 
 
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
There is a saying on the French route: the first third is physical, the second third is mental and the third third is spiritual. Many pilgrims seem to fall into this rhythm. In my case, it started out as spiritual. I wanted this so much as my own spiritual retreat of sorts. I likewise made a mental note that 113 kilometers is punctuated by gastronomic breaks and all I had to do is think pulpo gallega and caldo gallego to keep those legs moving! As I took my first camino step, my faith & confidence combined to make this a meaningful Day 1 of my camino. As the roads and paths stretched before me, the physical demands of the camino wiped out all pulpo dreams. All I wanted was to reach the pre-arranged hostel, take a bath, put up my legs and sleep. These images all threatened to break my concentration as I prayed many rosaries. On Day 1, 6 rosaries. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I was NEVER more aware of my body and physical state than NOW. It’s like I know the condition of every toe attached to my feet. Like I’m having an altercation with every leg muscle. My brain’s all messed up halfway through Day 1’s camino. It’s 23 kilometers today. Yeah, what a fine introduction. But looking at many pilgrims from all over the world passing me — a few limping through, having walked nearly 700 kilometers — it is such a humbling experience NOT to complain. 
 
 
 
 
 


Dinner in these parts is at 9pm. I worry I may not make it to dinner. Definitely dinner is more a social activity rather than nourishment for me this time. It’s a struggle to keep awake after the hike and then, a leisurely stroll around the village. I know others may think this part of the Camino is the more popular, more touristy, noisier, more about the adventure rather than the pilgrimage type. But hey, who’s judging? Certainly not me. We come for different reasons. We each make our own Camino? But whoever said it’s easy is lying! (And it’s only Day 1 😭😭😭)