Day 42 – To Portomarin

Sarria to Portomarin – 22 Kms, 30,840 steps

The weather today was spectacular and most of the path to Portomarin was just lovely. It was an idyllic Fall day in many respects. It took me six hours, with 40 minutes of breaks to get here, which was what I estimated.

Here they come

The glut of “pilgrims” was amazing though. I ran into a woman I met the first week of the Camino and she called today’s crowds a “real shit show”. It’s Sunday so perhaps that aggravated things.

Almost immediately this morning I encountered what I think was an elementary school class trip, with parents and kids with matching day packs, on the path. Then there was the town shortly thereafter where two tour buses unloaded 80 high school kids and set them loose on the path.

My least favorite of them was the kid with a portable boom box in his backpack, blasting rap as he walked. People walking with poodles and dachshunds, we had ‘em. With 9-year olds? Yep. With the old and infirm? Yes. It looked a little like Disneyland at times.

Even the cows joined us

This was in addition to the other real pilgrims just joining in. As you can imagine, every cafe and bathroom for miles was overrun. I didn’t eat at all until 10:30. And the newbies had awful trail manners, to boot.

Camino fountain and rest area

We crossed the 100 Kms-to-Santiago point and it was a popular photo stop (also known as a “choke point”).

99.5 Kms – I’m down to double digits

At last, after a really ugly, long, paved road descent, I arrived outside Portomarin and enjoyed the sight of the long bridge into town.

I enjoyed the bridge…
…but not the 60 steps! Is this a thing now?

Portomarin was having a local fiesta and the streets were full of booths, vendors, and people. And pilgrims. This was quite a contrast to the other towns I passed through that were closed up tight for Sunday.

Famous Portomarin fortress/church

Portomarin is similarly overrun with pilgrims and high schoolers, but perhaps things will thin out with tomorrow’s rain.

Actually, it’s supposed to start raining here in about an hour and continue on and off overnight. I’m prepping my rain gear and will forge ahead, come what may. I kind of prefer leaving in the rain, with the opportunity to gear up at the hotel rather than in a rush along the side of the trail.

I have 18 wet Kms to walk tomorrow, to a little crossroads called Airexe. My photography tomorrow may be limited by the rain. Only five more days until I reach Santiago!

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