Triacastela – Sarria
‘Tis the pilgrim’s lot to wake early which does not jibe well with the Spanish way of life.
Breakfast at the Case Rural starts at eight am which is still before sunrise and Pam and I are champing at the bit and first to the table in the early morning.
Soon we are feasting on delicious cake, toast, coffee, orange juice and croissants. We are joined shortly after by a U.S. couple Ken and Elise and chat jovially as we dine.
We had actually met Elise the previous day on the descent into Triacastela when I set some sort of world record for instilling complete and utter boredom in another human being in the shortest time period possible telling her about the superiority of Pacerpoles.
Incidentally I stand by everything I have said to anyone regarding Pacerpoles, http://www.pacerpole.com for those who are interested.
Ken and Elise walked to the Casa Rural and are determined not to get into a car during their Camino. They head off before we do and we pass them as we sit in the backseat of the car on the way back to the bar in Triacastella.
There are two choices for the Way again today, the longer relatively flat path following the winding river valley flats or the hill route that follows a more direct path to Sarria. The hill path is about six kilometers shorter though it follows the steep ascent and descents we have come to expect.
We toss a coin, today we follow the steep route.
We veer right from the main road at the lower end of Triacastela and head up a quiet country lane. Very soon after we veer to the left and the first of many inclines to follow begins.
We both begin to wish we had been more restrained during breakfast. I am completely sure by this stage of the Camino that fruit is the superior marching food however still succumb to temptation each time it is placed in front of me.
We pass through concrete paved farmlet after farmlet as we wind up the sides of the hills ahead.
These tiny areas are not marked on our map or named by signs. The Way alternates between gravel and paved areas as we climb.
The clouds filling the valley below us as we descended to Triacastela yesterday line the sky above us today. We climb steadily to the waiting folds.
We pass a pilgrim rest area with a massive scallop shell painted in white and green behind a water reservoir. We have barely started for the day and need no rest.
The climb continues and we draw level with the clouds draping the hills as we pass some cattle contently chewing their cuds in contemplation.
We pass through the first real village for the day as the mist thickens around us shrouding the sun.
Soon we draw level with the upper side of the cloud bank and the sun is revealed in its true majesty against the blue sky. A break in the trees enables us to watch as cloud tendrils close from opposite ends of the valley below.
I do my best to take some arty farty shots with the iphone.
The ascent continues up the quiet country lane, we have not been passed in either direction by a single vehicle after leaving the main road at Triacastela.
Sooner or later the Pilgrim’s Law of Undulation always comes into play, we have climbed and climbed and now we must pay.
The Way turns off the bitumen to the right heading down a steep gravel road.
The cloud we have laboured to triumphantly pierce through clammily awaits our humble return.
The Way is busy with pilgrims and we do our best to be cautious in descent so we are often passed by others. The Buen Camino is a little harder to extract from our fellow pilgrims in these later stages and Pam has me laughing with proposals for extreme tactics to shock the apathy from their weary minds.
I urge her to enact a few of these scenarios however she is too shy to see them through.
Down, we go down, until we are once more enveloped in clouds.
Like a needle passing through cloth, up and out, down and through, we pierce the lower level again and stop at a little bar that is doing a roaring trade.
After the heavy breakfast I am having strong urges to break the sanctity of the ‘Prohibido Defecar’ sign we sighted so long ago and join the queue waiting to use the facilities. On reaching the end of the queue the news that there is not a square to spare has me grinding my teeth.
Apparently real estate is all about location location location.
I prefer the more encompassing concept of Spacetime where location has no meaning without taking timing into account.
Pam has stayed with her pack and not entered the busy establishment. Just as I return from my fruitless endeavour our old friend Elma pokes her head out the door and sees Pam and I discussing what to do next.
She comes up the stairs to greet us and calls out to Marte who has also just vacated the bar/cafe. He bounds up the stairs like a white haired gazelle and it is hugs and handshakes all round.
Had it not been for the fruitless wait we may have just walked on by and missed seeing this lovely couple again.
We exchange intended plans for the rest of the Camino, our projected dates of arrival in Santiago are close and we tentatively set a dinner date.
As we talk we are overtaken by Ken and Elise who have now caught us despite our morning head start. They are fast walkers for sure.
Everyone is walking their own Camino and soon Pam and I are on the path again. We stop at the very next open bar which fortunately has spacious clean facilities and an abundance of squares.
Down, we go down, the Way rejoins more major roads and for the first time today traffic passes by. The town of Sarria is spread out below us.
As we reach the outskirts of town my usual frustration encountered entering larger towns is assuaged by a map clearly showing the path to the Hotel Alfonso where we plan to spend the next two nights.
It lies right beside the Camino Way and we have no trouble locating the tall clearly marked building.
Our Canadian friends Bob and Margie are sitting drinking with other pilgrims on the bar veranda and greet us as we walk to the reception.
Cordial conversation and cervesas await.
Life is sweet.
Mick and Pam