We passed the 100 kilometres to go marker today and from where I am tonight I am only 92.8 kilometres away from Santiago. This is crazy! I have walked over 700 kilometres now!
Today’s walk was more upbeat along the beautiful rolling countryside.
At one point, farmers herded their cattle through the streets to the hills where they would graze.
Chickens, cats and dogs were everywhere.
It’s funny that the animals don’t seem to care about each other much, but are more skittish of people. It seems to be the other way around back home. The chickens are skittish of both the cats and dogs and the cats mainly of the dogs, but people are usually no big deal. The animals are also on the thinner side here in Spain. There are no fat cats around here! I haven’t seen even one! Back home I call my cat, Tara, little one, but she’s definitely no little one anymore.
I walked much of the day with the Kiwi ladies: singing Sue and her friends, Nick (a female) and Sarah.
Sue sang and I joined in where I could. Lean on Me was one song I knew.
I was happy to see Torben from Denmark! The last time I saw him was outside of Castrojeriz resting on the hillside. That was also the town where I sat in the bar and socialized with all of the Spanish children. It seems so long ago now.
Kiho, from South Korea, had also made the 100 kilometre mark today. He was the one who awarded me a ten for bunk bed catapulting in Villafranca del Bierzo.
Alex from Lithuania was on his own this morning – Jan from Ireland and the others were up ahead. He and Jan were were the two cooks back in Rabanal del Camino where we dined by candlelight and listened to tunes such as Jimi Hendrix on Alex’s laptop. It’s so neat to run into these people again from Camino moments along the way.
Tonight, I am in Portomarin.
Earlier I was upstairs for dinner in the restaurant with singing Sue and the Kiwi’s. We sat in the primo section, with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river. My hair was wet, I had no make-up on and was wearing long johns – real classy! I sure looked my part as a pilgrim.
Speaking of us pilgrims, you can always tell who we are. We usually walk with some sort of limp or stiffness, we have more colour on the left side of our bodies than the right and we wear pretty much the same things every day. I saw a real authentic looking pilgrim today wearing drab rags, pulling an old cart and carrying a stick with a pot hanging on it. His faithful yellow Labrador followed obediently behind. Very neat!
There are only four more walking days left to go now. I’m so excited, but nervous. I’m excited to make my goal, to see people who I have met along the way make it and to see Andrew, however I am nervous because I know how anything can happen out here, even in the last four days. I am also nervous because I am not sure how I am going to handle being finished. It’s going to feel strange not having a destination to walk to anymore. The one thing I need to remember is what Øyvind from Norway said, “The destination is inconsequential. The journey is home.”
Right now, I am trying to strategize how I want to walk the remaining days so I can arrive in Santiago for the noon mass on Thursday. I think I will try to walk 30 kilometres tomorrow to Casanova, 35 kilometres on Tuesday to Salceda and 23 kilometres on Wednesday to San Marcos. If I can do that, then I will only have five kilometres left to walk on Thursday. My preference would be to shorten some of the days, but I can’t because there are no albergues for 15 kilometres before San Marcos, only expensive hotels.
What I could have done is walked further today, but many of my Camino friends are at this albergue tonight. This may be my last night with them until Santiago on Thursday. Many are planning to get there Thursday like me, but not until later in the day. If I can get there early enough I can get my compostela, go to the hostel, clean up and then go to mass. We’ll see how it works out!