Day Three, Friday, was hard, hard, hard. 21 miles up and over two mountains. The first part of the day was about 6 miles, much of it uphill, to a quaint hamlet. Then 3 hours later, ascended a higher peak. At the end, we had walked 21 miles, ending the segment in Triacastela.
Day Four’s walk also started in darkness — a misty hike to Samos, home of a Benedictine Monastery established in the 6th century. It’s beyond beautiful, yet today, only eight monks and two novices live in this vast religious palace. Hard to square the two.
Then 3.5 hours of walking to Sarria, big town, prospering with the pilgrim trade. Most pilgrims start their pilgrimage there. It’s the last municipality before the last 100 km. into Santiago. A pilgrim can receive a certificate of completion only if he or she has walked at least the final 100 km. to Santiago. We are surrounded by pilgrims now. Many languages, very cool. (Today’s thought: Did Jesus ever imagine this many people from all around the world would be walking for hundreds of miles on a spiritual journey? Could he conceive that his band of followers would turn into this?) I think that in 2017 the Cathedral in Santiago will issue more than 200,000 pilgrims’ certificates — maybe a lot more.
Hotels were Casa David in Triacastela, Hotel Alfonso IX in Sarria, and Pousada Portomarin tonight in the town of the same name.
Today, Sunday, was 16 miles, and another strenuous climb. The Way was so full of people, never any stretches of time alone. Friendly people, crowded cafes and bars. It’s an amazing experience.
I’m exhausted, I know you would like photos, but Internet in Northern Spain is SPOTTY.
Small world department: Met two sisters today, Virginia residents, who are cousins of Jack Hazel, a Sewanee classmate. That, too, was an amazing coincidence. All very cool.
We’ve met people along The Way from France, Australia, Canada, Croatia, Germany, Slovakia, Ireland, Germany,* Mexico, Asia — South Korea, I’m assuming, and plenty from the US.
*One German woman started her pilgrimage from that country. Now that’s a long walk.
Will try to post some photos tomorrow. I can barely stay awake.