How ‘bout them (road) apples

Day 28

Another nice day dawns.

I think I described the hotel last night as “interesting”. That’s an understatement – while it was a room and markedly better than a dorm room in an albergue, it wasn’t a restful night.  Aside from tight muscles from the hike up and down the mountain yesterday, the walls were thin and a woman in a neighboring room was carrying on a conversation at 11:30 pm.  I wish I knew which one so,I could tell her to “shush”.

And for the second night in a row, there was no stopper for the sink, making it hard to do laundry.  What’s up with that?

On the good side, they open for breakfast at 7:00, making it easier to get out before 8 and the place was well kept.  

So I was out right around 8 and on the trail.  The trail splits – the shorter, more direct route goes up a fairly steep hill with some nice views, while the longer route winds over a few short hills and goes by one of the oldest monasteries in Spain.  After yesterdays walk, my muscles and legs won the vote and I took the shorter route.

Folks tend to get walking early in the day – I tend to aim for 8 (and am one of the later ones) but put no stress on myself to meet a schedule.  One of the benefits of reserving a room is that it will be waiting for me even if I take my time.  

I’m seeing more and more groups on horseback.  It means dodging the road-apple evidence of their presence, but they are also working on earning a Compostela at the end (you can get the Compostela by walking, biking or horseback riding).  Good for them in accomplishing a long journey and for the camaraderie they are building.  A different experience, but it’s their Camino.

Beautiful countryside since we’ve been in Galicia and today was no exception – mostly forest and pasture with a few small towns.  I went for almost 3 hours with a few rest breaks and stopped for lunch in a small town bar.  A half hour later, I was back on the trail and found my way to Sarria soon enough.  A quick stop in the Camino office yielded my first stamp of the day and a comment from the person there about how full the accommodations were.  I consider myself lucky to have booked ahead.  

There was a climb through the old town via steps and I rand across my friends from Nashville with a couple of their new friends at lunch.  I sopped for a rest break and a couple of beverages, then headed off to the hotel/casa for the night.  It was only 3.3 km more and I was tired.

Sarria is where a number of Pilgrims start their journey because a minimum of 100 km is needed for a walker to get a Compostela.  It is also the point where 2 stamps per day are needed in my credential.  Sarria is about 113 km from Santiago.

Coming out of Sarria the path crosses an old Roman bridge.  It was fabulous, aged but still functional, and narrow by todays standards (but still wide enough for a pair of horses).  The trail then went through some meadow land and wound up another steep (but not too tall) climb.  Still, at the end of the day with tight muscles it was a bit of a slog.  I clocked only 16 km on my watch though the books indicated that it should be closer to 20.  I’ll take the shorter distance.

Through a bit more forest and pasture, I came to the Casa Barbadelo, my destination for the night.  

What a nice place – very attractive from the outside and private rooms in a building that looked like a motel (but set back in a grassy area).  There is even a pool, but it’s a bit chilly for me.  This should be quiet and a good nights sleep.  And since they have both a washer and dryer, I have afforded myself the liberty of having laundry done.

Tomorrow the forecast calls for rain in the morning, ending by 2.  But we’ll see, the forecasts have not been particularly good.  It’s another 20 km day tomorrow and I’m sharing a 2 bedroom apartment with my friends from Nashville. We will also hit the 100 km mark from Santiago, which is a big deal.

I’ll admit to a twinge of trepidation about returning to the real world.  It’ll probably hit me with reality when I get to airport security in Madrid.  I do so love being in Europe and Spain where the cities are alive.  I’ve lost count of the number of times if asked why we can’t have “this” in America.