An early start after 8. Not that good night’s sleep. The scenery changed from the farmlands and countryside to forest and then to a path following a main road.
There was a horrible bridge taking us to Portomarin – so high over the river valley. I was close to fainting and so afraid of falling. The toughest part of the journey so far. I wondered if it were easier to cross the bridge blindfolded.
We had morning coffee in Portomarin and lunch from a local super mercado: The coffee and a call home helped me calm down and gain strength for the long rising path ahead of us.
Right after Portomarin there was a coach leaving a group of 40 to walk with tiny back bags. It all seemed so easy to those Americans, passing by again and again talking in a loud voice. I know I should not get irritated but I can’t help it. Everyone makes the journey best they can and as is best for them.
I felt that my sister was running and had to wait for me. That too. Was irritating – this trip is my baby and I should be the one in the lead, in better shape… But this is not a competition, this is not about who does what. I could not get hold on any thoughts that I’d hoped to work on when walking. I guess it will take time. I can only concentrate on walking and following the yellow arrows and the shells marking the way. How easy it really is! You just follow the signs and every step takes you closer to the destination. You do not need to read a map or use a compass.
You can even follow the crowd and if there’s no one you can follow, sadly enough, you can follow the piles of waste in the ditches. It is difficult to believe that we pilgrims leave such a mess behind us – plastic bottles, candy paper, clothes… I’m starting to realise what threats increased popularity of pilgrimage can bring about … Honestly I see more positive aspects – everyone is walking, not much C02 emission, local produce and local producers.
We finished the day in a small village called Gonzar. We’d accomplished 17 km. decided on a private alberque, the charming Casa Carcia. Enjoyed a good meal in good company – the girls from day one and a Swedish lady (drafting a novel on her way). The conversation got deeper and was perhaps getting closer to topics I’d thought would be on the table throughout the journey.
What are we searching, what is the purpose of our journey, what will we take home, what will we leave behind; about doing good deeds as you proceed… We learnt about a man on a mountain that keeps an organic bar offering everything free for pilgrims and cleaning the path. Also about an old man in some town who’s made it his duty to be a city guide for pilgrims, about a crucifix with a female figure.