We left Sarria in the dark and saw little beyond our feet for the first half hour of the walk. The sun eventually rose behind us, strangely visible through the mist.
The walk was lovely. Small paths lined with drystone walls, often overhung by apple trees. The weather was perfect and we didn’t have far to go – just over 20km for the day. The one thing the photos don’t convey is the constant background smell provided by all the pig and cow farms – it’s not very ugly, but it is noticeable.
After about 10km we came on what is reputedly the most graffitied object on the Camino, the 100km marker. Not only was it free of graffiti, but we didn’t have to queue to take a photo. Must say the idea we have under 100km left is making us a little wistful already.
We’ve been unsure of what to expect from this last section of the Camino. The most apparent differences are that there are more walkers, although not as obviously many as we expected, and there are bars every couple of kilometers. Also the bars sell souvenirs, which would have been a complete waste earlier in the walk when no one would have been adding weight to their pack.
The last section of walk in our destination, Portomarin, had options available. We ended up choosing the traditional Camino path which included a few hundred meters of incredibly rough track which may take the prize for our slowest Camino section ever.
Last night we chatted for ages with our host. He was from Barcelona and had bought the hotel two years ago as a derelict wreck. He was excited to tell us all that he had done to bring it to its current state. He described Portomarin as the Disneyland of the Camino. You see some 70 years ago they dammed the river, moved the church up the hill, and then rebuilt the town anew. So it’s cute and shiny and not quite real.
As you cross the bridge into town you can see the old bridge and remains of houses all made visible by the dry summer having lowered the water level. The new town is pretty but not remarkable but it does appear to have the distinction of early-opening restaurants which may mean we can get a meal before 8:30pm.