Day 66 - Gondzar
It was a treat to share a bunk room with family rather than strangers. We did have to contend with a little snoring. We were up early and in the street shortly after 7:00. A quick coffee and croissant at a local cafe got us going. As we walked through the dark streets on the Camino, they began to fill with pilgrims. By the time we reached the outskirts of Sarria, we were sharing the trail with hundreds of pilgrims. Sarria is the starting point for many people who want to walk the final 100 kilometers to Santiago. The Catholic Church grants plenary indulgence (the forgiveness of sins) to someone if they walk the last 100 kilometers or more of the Camino. I’m not sure if that brings the crowds, or the recreation. In any case, we now have hundreds and hundreds of pilgrims on the trail. I’m not sure if Calvin and Sassa are working on sin forgiveness, but we are sure happy to have them as company.
Manny has become a bit of a Camino celebrity. Locals shower him with candy and gifts. Pilgrims hail him as they pass. We needed to cover 18 miles to accommodate the lodging squeeze brought about by all the new pilgrims. Manny did great, but required a lot of shoulder riding. By late morning, we decided that if we were going to make it in time to the hostel, we would need to separate, with Esther and I moving ahead and the rest walking to Portomarin and catching a bus for the last 5 miles.
The scenery was pleasant:pasture and forest, hamlet and churches, cats and cows. The hot afternoon grind up the hill was almost unbearable in the 85 degrees. A couple of pilgrims were at the point of heat exhaustion. The cold swimming pool at the hostel was just the ticket. Oh, this doesn’t feel like October! Tonight’s lodging has four beds and a private bathroom.