We had stayed at the Albergue Ferramenteiro in Portomarin (the only beds available I must add. It was a large Albergue, housing 130 beds, the Albergue was full but still provided a place and space for a good nights rest, after which I woke this morning feeling much more restored than I imagined that I would. The aches were still there but had been dulled by a long and good nights rest. It was time once more to pack up my bag, have a coffee and some toast before saying farewell to Portomarin and continue the journey.
We headed off on the Camino, It was fresh and the rain was falling lightly. The first 3 kilometers of the walk were relentless, all up hill and while the rain may have been falling lightly funnily enough it was still wet! The continuous incline certainly takes it out of you. As I walked my shin became much more painful, a shin splint had developed on the huge decline the previous evening, but the walk must go on.
We were all in good spirits and had decided that we would not be attempting the full 24.8KM but would make an interim stop at 12.8km as Casa Molar in Ventas de Naron to regroup and see how we felt. With every step each ache and muscle made an appearance to let us know that they were there, traveling with us. We had adjusted the backpacks before we left this morning so they felt much more comfortable, but we are still carrying all our possessions for the trip on our backs, even though mine is becoming progressively lighter as I dispose of anything and everything I don´t need, trousers and t-shirts included, it´s a hard slog to walk with a rather large pack on your back. We arrived at our designated stop for a drink and decision making session. We all agreed it was too soon to stop, as we seem to be really powering through and making good time. So we made a new target to walk a further 4.3km, which is exactly where we find ourselves this evening. We got a bed at the Pension Habitaciones – Eirexe, and what a lovely bed it is – seriously you have no idea how good a bed can look until you take on a challenge that is both physically and emotionally demanding. We popped across the road to Conde de Waldemar for a late lunch/early dinner, which was great, the owner went to great legnth to make sure that there was vegetarian options available.
The other pilgrims that we have come across are basically going to great pains to follow the book in relation to the days walking, so most of the people we have spoken to would walk from Portomarin to Palas de Rei. We have decided after today that no matter how far we walk we will stay at the Albergues or pensions that are not at the main stops. The main reason is that there are so many beautiful places to stop that are not in the centre of a town, they are quieter and have a much more local feel, but also after yesterday when we were unable to find a bed for a while, mainly because we arrived fairly late, we didn´t want to be in that position again, it can make one feel extremely miserable at the prospect of having to continue walking in pain to the next village or hamlet so that you can get a bed for the night! The other thing is we planned to make this walk our own, not adhere to a subscribed plan by a book.
Anyhow, aches continue, my thighs feel like stone, calfs are tight and I now don a beautiful looking tubigrip bandage on my shin splinter – all part of the way, if you,re not limping or aching somthing is wrong!
If you are a person who walks lots of Km´s every day then this would probably be a walk in the park, no pun intended, but as a person who walks very rarely this is a relentless and demanding challenge. There are four of us walking together and encouragement and positive support is part of what is keeping us going. There are moments of quiet as you draw on everything that is within to get up the hill and not concern yourself with the fact that it´s raining and you´re getting wet. There are moments of laughter about nothing in particular or that you would possibly struggle to find funny unless you where there. Today we even had some Kareoke Camino as we sang along to Fernando by Abba, yes, sad but true, we even mustered up the brain power to make up lyrics about the Camino to fit the tune.
After a long day, a meal, a shower and little lie down, we now find ourselves back in Conde de Waldemar for a cheeky little red or two before bed for another night of restoration before we take to the way once more in the morning. Buen Camino