Sandy had an interesting observation. Since crossing over the mountains into Galicia we have not been through a single “typical” Spanish town. From our first days in Spain the typical village was centered on church in a plaza. If you needed anything, look for Plaza Mayor first. Now, we mostly see tiny storybook villages absent of plazas or in most cases a church. Other than big city Sarria, we have not even seen a mercado. These folks in Galicia are pretty much self sufficient with their abundant gardens, livestock and chickens. I guess that is part of what makes this part of the world so special. It is atypical. Spanish, but not spanish.
This was the view out of our albergue’s bedroom window last night. Note the milk cows in the barn. A few days ago, one of our fellow peregrinos from Denmark asked a local farmer for a liter of milk. The farmer proudly provided the milk yet asked him not to tell anyone. I was told the milk, fresh from the cow, was great.
The Galician’s have this very tasty soup. They love their soup here as the cold, wet weather patterns make one beg for hot soup. Our host last night provided us with a really nice communal dinner. The first course was called Lacónis Grelos. This may be the most famous dish of Galicia. Lacónis is boiled meat from the front leg of a pig. Grelos are the leaves of turnips. The lacón and grelos are are then boiled together and served with sausage and potatoes. It was the same soup the bar provided us to warm up on the frigid mountain top earlier in our camino. It is delicious and does warm you up quite nicely.
Over the past 400+ miles we have seen our share of discarded clothes on the camino. They were thrown away by pilgrims trying anything to lighten their load. More frequently now we are seeing many failed boots, usually deposited on the kilometer posts. Some “high end boots” which look brand new on top have totally lost their bottoms. I have to say that Sandy’s Zamberlan and my Vasque boots are in great shape. They both have about 700 miles on them and I honestly believe they both have at least another camino left in them. Your boots are the most important thing you have on the camino. My advice is get the best – they will pay you back in the long run.
Right after starting we had a very steep downgrade on asphalt. I don’t know about you, but descents are always harder on the knees than assents. Sandy has been experiencing some daily knee pain which is can become more severe after big downhill sections. This downhill would prove to be especially difficult.
We continued down toward the whitewashed lakeside town of Portomarin.
We then crossed the longest bridge yet on the camino. Unfortunately, Sandy’s knee was really hurting her by now.
Upon crossing we were faced with this obstacle to get into the city. Luckily we had another option. Sandy noted that peregrinos were seen coming down to the lakeshore again (onto the rim road) just around the bend. We headed left, joined the camino and avoided the stairs. Thank you God for making this little detour possible!
At our next rest stop we met Jorgen, Lene and Gisele. Lene gave Sandy some Advil, Jorgen gave Sandy his roll of sports tape, a pilgrim from Germany had sizzors and Gisele used her skills as a physical therapist to apply the tape. This seemed to help a bit as Sandy continued on without complaint.
We hiked for the rest of the day under ominous clouds. It finally rained around 1300 for about an hour. With our Scotch Guard purchase having already been applied in Sarria, I was actually looking forward to see the difference. The rain gear worked quite well and we stayed nice and dry.
Along the way we spotted this old donkey cart in front of a farm. I thought the wheels were pretty neat.
There was a short section of the way which was the narrowest yet. It was like walking down a steep, rocky hallway.
Later in the day we found an albergue in a small village with a restaurant across the street. While eating, a local farmer brought in his cows from pasture. They obviously knew the routine as they ran to the old watering trough right in front of the restaurant. One by one they sucked up their share of water while peregrinos dined outside just a few feet away. Only on the camino!
Sandy finished the day feeling quite a bit better. We are praying and hopefully tomorrow will be a good day for her.