The weatherman said it would monsoon rain today from Portomarin to Palas de Rei. So I got up at sunrise this morning and strapped on the rain gear. Ready for a deluge. I have walked this leg in bad weather before. I know how bad it can be.
The ankle and foot are better. No pain this morning . The knees have decided to make a return to shouting at me on the downhills. But today there were very few downhills. Out of Portomarin it is straight up, any way you slice it. And it goes on for hours. But the views are worth it.
Yesterday, I took some photos on a day that was also supposed to be a gusher. No rain ever materialized.
I sent pics to our friend, Chris, back in the US. His response made me smile. ‘You’re so close you can almost smell the barn.’
Today’s walk produced no promised rain. It just got sunnier as we went. I found myself walking with a fellow Peregrina from Sacramento, CA. A Camiga who started in St. Jean 32 days ago. We kept each other company on the big up hill to Ganzor, and beyond. It was nice to spend a day speaking West Coast Ingles. It’s funny how, after so many days, hearing American english means so much to me. With the same cultural references. There is a shorthand of expression that requires no explanation. Or additional thought, while you are focused on taking another step on a long up hill.
I thought I would hate the change that happens at Sarria. When the Camino becomes crowded. And the feeling changes. But I am actually enjoying the energy. Sure, there are a ton of people who just started with little day packs and shiny new gear. No dirt on their shoes, clean pole tips, and some with back packs filled to the gills, right off the sporting goods store shelf. I look at them and cringe. Ouch. Those are blisters in three days, I think automatically. But the attitude is very friendly and there are smiles all around. Even the students have been happy and friendly.
I am tired. More tired than I remembered from last time. But perhaps its like child birth. You forget just how painful it really was. But the other long haulers are also saying the same. The pain is our constant companion. My Canadian friend, Darren, described it like ping pong. ‘First, its the right foot. Then the left foot. Then your right knee and your left achilles. It climbs up your body, one side at a time. A new pain every day.’
But I will be home tomorrow. Walking into our gate. I have said it this entire Camino ‘I’m just walking home.’ And I’m almost there. More than 450 miles so far. My friend, Chris, is right. I can actually smell the barn from here.