May 29, 2007

5/29/07 Ferreiros Spain

"It is only possible to live happily ever after
on a moment-to-moment basis."
Margaret Bonnano

Today started out just like yesterday. It had rained and the temperature was pretty cold, and it looked like it could rain again at any time. So, dressed up tight and headed toward Santiago.

Once we got out of Samos and off the road, it was very much like yesterday, walking along very old tree-lined dirt roads. And oh so green. The land looked like it could absorb anything man-made almost instantly.

Camino de Santiago

Thick and lush

Just follow the yellow arrows to Santiago

There wasn't as much sun as yesterday, but it also didn't rain except for a sprinkle. It was a very pleasant walk.

It is such a shame that most churches and chapels along the Camino are closed, some permanently. In the village of Hospital, there was a very tiny ermita, or chapel. The grass was pretty high and the windows in the front door looked broken, but something made me go look in anyway. What a beautiful chapel. There were no benches or chairs, just individual kneelers. If only the pilgrims could take a few minutes solace in places like this.

Inside the tiny ermita

Maybe that is how the Camino can return to the pilgrims instead of the tourists. If someone in the village could open the churches and chapels for the pilgrims, I'm sure the pilgrims would make an offering. If only 10% gave .10€, that could amount to over 1000€ a year for maintenance and repairs. And maybe the pilgrims could help save some of these jewels from being lost forever.

On the way into Sarria, I walked a bit with Laura from Ireland. In her free time she makes clothes, so I told her my mother was a seamstress. She seemed impressed by the rain skirt I made.

I have to admit that my subconscious was in a bit of a panic when I took a break to have some cocoa as I watched pilgrim after pilgrim pass me by. So, in a rush, I left the city. But once we returned to the wooded lanes, I realized how silly that was so I stopped, sat down and made myself a sandwiched after which I had some cookies. No matter what, I'll get a bed, so it is a waste to worry.

A good place for a break

I met a few Italian ladies who were just starting their Camino today. Sarria is the last major town to get a lot of new pilgrims because to get the Compostella from the church, you must complete at least the last 100km.

They said they got a late start, leaving about 10AM. I tried to explain to them that the refugios fill up quickly so they need to plan for that. They had hoped to reach the same refugio I was hoping to get a bed at. I hope they can make it in time, as the refugio only has 22 beds, and the next refugio is 10km further.


100kms (62 miles) to go

Our friends with the burro

Just as I thought, the hospitalera said there were only four beds left when I got there. One part of me wanted to go on leaving the bed for someone else like the Italian ladies. But the other side said that I had been walking since 7AM and had walked over 20kms already. And who knows, maybe the Italian ladies stopped at the last albergue in Morgade.

As luck would have it, I share a bunk with Jean Pierre. And Laura is here too. All the beds filled and the hospitalera even let four people have floor space to sleep on. But by the time the Italian ladies got there, there just wasn't any room. I think they were going to rent a room at one of the Casa Rural (sort of like a bed & breakfast).

Talked a bit with the hospitalera about her work with the refugio. She has worked here every day, 365 days of the year, for the last 20 years. Usually most of the perigrinos come during the summer, but she has to be here even in winter in case someone comes by usually one every ten days or so. But this year, the refugio has been full every day since Easter. She said it's a lot of work, but this year it has been too much. Even with her never-ending smiles, she said she was tired. And summer hasn't even begun yet.