The woods outside of Portomarin this morning reminded me of Sleepy Hollow! Some of these woods here in Galicia are so perfect for the settings of scary stories, or even some of Grimm’s fairy tales. It’s both creepy and funny at the same time.
But today, I hurt. Today was about 25km to Palas de Rei. This was too much for my body to take. Somewhere around 21km, my hips went numb from the weight of the pack and it became really difficult to walk, but Palas de Rei was the nearest town with shelter. My knees ache, my feet hurt, and my pack actually broke skin on my hips today from the weight of it and its constant jostling around on me. I really can’t wait to be done walking. I’m so ready to be in Santiago de Compostela.
Last night with the four Spaniards as my roommates wasn’t too bad. They did come back later from the bar and tried to be as quiet as they could, but that was never going to work. They’d all had a few drinks and weren’t drunk, but were at the point where everything was hilarious to them. They spent about 45 minutes making fart jokes at each other before they all wore out and went to sleep. I left this morning before sunrise and later, when the Spaniards caught up with me, they delivered a shirt that I left on accident! How kind is that! I was so appreciative because it was a favorite shirt and I had no plans to leave it behind. I thought that was really so nice of them.
A lot of the path these last few days has been going through farm land and small villages and hamlets. Galicia has these interesting crop storage buildings called horreos. They are like raised corn cribs. Some appear to be used and some appear to be neglected, but most houses have them in the backyards. It’s a very interesting feature of these homes. I saw a pretty big one today:
My cold is not feeling better. I’m sniffling across Spain. I tried to go a farmacia, but it was closed by the time I reached this town. I’m going to start assuming everything is closed, that way when I stop and it’s open, I will be happily surprised, no longer disappointed. I’ve met several other pilgrims here at Palas de Rei. There are a couple of Americans, one whose name is Jill! While I’m here with them, we’re calling her Jill Baja and me Jill Alta since I’m taller than she is. She and her husband are walking from Sarria with three locals who they’ve been friends with for years. There’s another American who joined their group yesterday and has walked with them for a bit. Her name is Patricia and she’s from Seattle. They’re a very fun group. They passed me today and were really walking at a fast fast pace. I’m surprised they didn’t get further ahead, but I think they probably know there’s not a place to stay for a while after this. Plus, one of the Spanish men has a medical problem. He went to the doctor tonight and he’s been advised to stop walking because of his feet. He has such terrible blisters after just two days, that the doctor said it will be a severe health risk if he continues to walk and one of the blisters should pop and get infected. Almost a whole toe is one giant blister. The doctor drained a bit of it, but it’s still so bad, he couldn’t wear his shoes. He’s in a lot of pain and is so very sad right now. He was on the phone earlier to his wife and sons, trying to explain what was happening and he was so upset and crying he couldn’t talk to them. It was heart-breaking to see. His friends are really sad about it, but are making plans for him to go by taxi to the next town and they will continue to walk tomorrow morning. Melide is the next large town and it is the center for eating pulpo (octopus) in Galicia. The group is all looking really forward to it.
The man here is a good example of why walking in a group is sometimes a problem. He doesn’t walk as quickly as the rest of the group, but felt the need to push himself so hard to stay up with them, that it only took two days for his body to turn on him and force him to quit walking. It’s a double-edged sword because walking in a group can be a help in making the kilometers go by faster because you’re chatting and laughing, but it can be the death of you on this trail as well if you aren’t able to slow down and walk alone when you need to take a rest.
The weather is holding! I’m taking this as such a huge blessing. I do miss home. I can’t see myself ever doing this camino again. I’ve met so many people on their second or third walk but I feel like this will be enough for me. Once i finish, I think I will be done for good, but be happy I’ve accomplished this and supportive of all those who want to come over here and do this.