We are now in Portomarin. We should actually be about 9km further back, but .... well, that is today's story! Let me complete yesterday's story first though.
I waited for an hour on the pavement outside the hotel for Finn to arrive in Sarria and was SOoooo excited when his taxi finally pulled up outside the hotel. (I still look at him every now and then and ask, "What are you doing here Finn?")
Once he checked in we did some sightseeing in Sarria, shopped for food at a Supermecado and got a few sellos (stamps) in our pilgrim credentials. We had a meal at a pavement cafe and met up with some special pilgrims we hadn't seen for a few days. Finn was quite nervous about starting the camino so I told him about our routine when arriving at an albergue, showering, washing clothes, finding food etc. He has never really walked more than 10kms at one time, so the prospect of starting with 13.5km and having to walk over 20kms on the last day was quite scary.
This morning we met Marion and Anneliese at 7am in the hotel foyer and with Marion and I each sporting a headlamp torch, found our way out of Sarria on the camino route. We started off following the yellow arrows up a steep path climbing 50-odd steps (Finn counted them) and then once outside the city limits, climbing straight up an Alverstone Road path through a forest. It was quite misty to start with and when the sun finally lit our path at about 7h45 we were delighted with the scenery around us. It is a bit like walking the Midlands Meander through the Yorkshire Dales. Dry stonewalls, small hamlets with just a few stone buildings, cows being led from their barns into meadows and chickens crowing. There are apple, quince and pear trees along the path as well as bilberries (which Finn tried for the first time). We stopped for a coffee at a small cafe bar in Barbedelo and then walked slowly to Ferriros, our planned overnight stop. The paths are mainly farm tracks, some gravel, some stone and sand and like Kloof and Westville, very undulating with some steep ascents and descents. We reached Ferreiros at about 11h00 and Finn was very pleased to have made 13.5kms on his first day. There was a notice on the albergue door that it only opened at 1pm so we sat at the cafe-bar and Finn had a beer and we had coffee and hot chocolate. We sat in the sun chatting to other pilgrims and about an hour later had an ice cream. Just before 1pm we went back to sit at the albergue and wait for it to open. It was then that I noticed a sign on the door, in Spanish, that advised pilgrims who had only walked from Sarria to please continue to Portomarin (9kms away) as this albergue would give beds to pilgrims who came from further a field - at least 20kms away. Finn was horrified! After a beer and an ice cream he really didn't feel like walking another 9kms in the mid-day heat but there was no alternative and no place in-between for us to stay. So, off we set again walking along sandy paths, through beautiful scenery all the way to Portomarin. Just before Portomarin we came across Gordon Bell's 'Banderas' albergue but he wasn't in so we left him a note and I put the CSJ of RSA badge under his door. Our routine has changed now. Marion and Anneliese are in front whilst Finn and I are at the back.
We were very proud of him walking almost 23kms on his first day and after a shower and a rest he seemed to recover very quickly. Whilst we were settling in, the hospitalero brought Gordon in to the albergue to meet us. We all met in the bar upstairs and ended up having a wonderful meal and a very entertaining evening with him.
Our plans to walk 17km tomorrow might end up with the same fate as today's so we have decided to walk the full 26kms to Palas de Rei. (Finn looked quite green when we decided to do this!) Gordon knows the hospitalero in the private albergue in Palas de Rei so he phoned her to book us beds in the refuge there. This means that we won't have to rush to get there and will be able to take it slowly all day.
This is Finn's first night in a dormitory. This albergue can sleep 160 pilgrims - mainly in one long room cordoned off into sections by curtains. It has very good ablutions - nice showers and loos - a washing machine and dryer (so we didn't have to hand wash our clothes) and a fully equipped kitchen.
It is now 21h45 and past my bedtime so I will say hasta luego - and love to all.
S A M & F