[from Garin, July 16, 2014]
We are in Portomarin in the last 100 kilometers!!! Ever since Rabanal del Camino, we have started to travel with a motley group of Irish, Scottish, Danish, and American people. We enjoy their company a lot.
Today, a lot of new people were on the trail because to get a compostela [certificate indicating that you completed the pilgrimage], one needs to walk the last 100 kilometers, therefore many [people] start in Sarria, which is the closest big city to the last 100 kilometers. The trail was SO crowded today! We all felt claustrophobic. Becca wanted alone time, so she walked ahead of us in the morning only to find hordes of new pilgrims everywhere she looked and ended up joining back up with us and appreciating our company. We can’t believe that we are only 4 days away from Santiago! After the mostly rainy meseta, Galicia has been SO hot and humid! It is supposed to be the reverse, with the meseta hot and Galicia raining. However, Galicia has so far provided some of the best scenery along the Camino, with the fog rolling over the lush green hills and beautiful tall trees providing much appreciated shade! The cuisine has also changed and now we can get a torta de Santiago as a sort of almond cake since entering Galicia.
Rabanal del Camino was so far our favorite town, being so serene and quaint. The albergue there provided tea at 4:30 (made by English women) and cakes, and a herb garden available for pilgrim use. Also available for our use was a kitchen, which we utilized to make a communal meal with our adopted family. We made the most delicious salad … with SO MANY FRESH VEGETABLES!! Our albergue was right next to the church and we went to a vespers with Gregorian chanting in original Latin, and evening prayer with a pilgrims’ blessing. One of the hospitaleras described the sound of the priest´s voices as a hug, due to its beauty. There Kelsey and Becca made friends with an 11-year-old Spaniard whom they enjoyed talking to due to her simplicity of vocabulary and her patience with their broken Spanish. The day after Rabanal del Camino, we passed Cruz de Ferro, best known for its heaped pile of rocks, some ground-down into sand. The rocks symbolize people´s burdens that they carried with them on the pilgrimage. They can lay their burdens at the foot of the cross and let go of them, literally and spiritually. Personally, I carried about 10 pounds of rocks and everyone was joking about how big my burdens were! The rest of them were extremely happy to get rid of that extra small burden in their packs which they had brought with them from home.
Los Peregrinos plus Simone (Danish), Billy (Irish), Matt (Texan), and Tom (Scottish)