Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sarria to Portomarin

I've said it before and I'll say it again the early start is the only way to go in warm weather. We have breakfast and are out walking well before 7am. The wonderful (cool) early morning mist actually stays with us until about 10.30 and so the walk up is far less taxing than Mr B's description.
Walking along one section of sunken track come across a badly wounded snake-looks as if its been run over by a bike-so I put the poor creature out of its misery (I can't stand to see something suffering like that and have a simple country solution to put a stop to it suffering- so be warned don't ever break a leg anywhere near me) Anyway I'm 'whacking away' at the snake with a stick when a young German couple come into view-they think I am having some sort of phobic attack and he says 'but it would run away if you let it!" . We explain the circumstances and then, in case the carcass would offend other pilgrims, I pick it up and 'attempt' to throw it over the ditch. Well its the 'girliest' throw I've ever done in my life so now the snakes limp body dangles off a branch about 12 foot above the very center of the path-like some grisely totem. We beetle off before being arrested for sacrilege or by the animal rights people.
I wasn't expecting that the countryside here would be so utterly and bounteously beautiful-wild Lupins, St Duboc's heath, Camisas, Oak trees and lots of birds. On one of the stone walls we walked past an enormous lizard, about a foot long, sat soaking up the sun. He (well it looked like a him) had a very fat head and was a perfect colour match for my jolly green giant poncho-somehow this made him a bit less intimidating. We stared gravely at each other for a good 5 minutes, perhaps wondering who was accessorising who?

Naive Christ in 'Orans' pose on tympanum El Salvador Sarria and creepy crawly wrough iron work hinges that look as if they might crawl off the door at any moment.

This Cruceiro looked more like an Aztec glyph than a medieval carving
Horreos familiar outlines in the mist-Essence of Galicia.
There is so much water everywhere. We cross over streams and rivers on a variety of little bridges, stepping stones (sometimes these run up the middle of a stream taking advantage of the watercourse) and on raised paths like this one running alongside the stream.

Sun begins to burn off the cooling morning mist
Its so green and misty that you could be in Kerry.... and then you see the olive trees...

This little fella was doing a roaring trade selling in broken toys, little conchas and cups of water to passing pilgrims. When asked the price he said 'Donativo'- sweet and smart!
The buildings are massive square structures with slate roofs and small windows. They must be cool in summer but very dark in the winter time. I'd love to get a look at the internal layout of one.
We stop off for a siesta on a great wide stone wall, if it were a bed it would be a king size. Its a perfect spot in the shade with a warm breeze blowing up from the valley and the gentle tramp of pilgrims walking past lulling you off to zzzzzzzZZZZZZleep.
Suitably refreshed we make light work of the rest of the stage and are swinging down to the bridge over the Belesar reservoir by one o'clock. Good God I reckon with the breaks we've had the only way this can have happened is by us covering ground at a record breaking SIX KM PER HOUR!!! Jesus christ we've been 'yomping along'(well these things are relative compared to our usual 4km per hour it was yomping) I am mad as, because I didn't even realise it was happening, I couldn't take pleasure in enjoying the only chance I will ever have of coming close to being a proper 'Pilgrim Sportif'.
The flight of steps up to Santa Maria de las Nieves are incredibly steep but Frances smells a shortcut and will brook no resistance. I feel like a Inca sacrificial victim laboring up the bloody things. But its worth it as we seem to be some of the first pilgrims in town and have the luxury of stopping off for a cold drink before bunking down. Anne Matte strolls into town and we all have an ice cream. There is a definite 'holiday' vibe about the three of us and, even in repose, we seem to have big grins plastered to our faces- its as if someone has given us happy tablets or the coke was spiked whatever it is I want more.
Have dinner with Viz and Viana from Holland who are 'allowed to eat pizza today' as they walked in record breaking time.Vis has a little gizmo on her hip that counts the additional calories she's earned on each days walk. They are the fittest grannies in the world and this is a holiday for them time out from running marathons (oh yes gals like I so know that feeling!)..... but in fact they are great craic and stay up having a night on the town when the rest of us are tucked up fast asleep-game lasses. They also talk all the time to each other- often passing us on steep climbs chattering away while the rest of us were sucking up oxygen like beached fish. Their packs are the tiniest I have ever seen and not even full of stuff-I tell myself there are learnings to be made here pilgrim.
So its simple I just have to morph into a whippet thin, running marathons in my spare time, calorie earning kind of athlete for this Camino stuff to be easy then?


Annece said...

Hi! Your blog came up when I clicked 'next blog' on my blog page. I just wanted to tell you that the pictures you posted are beautiful! I loved looking at them!

Mariana e Rafael said...

Just like Annece i found your blog when I clicked "next blog", I can tell you that I am planning to do the same as you next year with my husband, and I wish to take beautiful pictures as you.

Your Blog encourages me every day to take off.