Day 30, Sarria to Portomarín, Oct 28

Goodbye shoes.

We had aimed to stay at the monastery at Sarria but after going up and up through the old town we stopped near the top, and the end of the town and had decided to go no further and walked into the next albegue. It was perfect. We got our own room with four beds (two bunks), access to a spin dryer and clothes line on a roof top. Isabel and Judith were there too.
Linda woke up with a deep chest cold which didn’t bode well for the upcoming hills, so she opted to go on her own and take her time.  We would stay in touch via our phones.

Today Mats and I said goodbye to my shoes. The Hokos had the best soles for rough ground. No wonder ultra marathoners wear them. I, unfortunately could only wear them a week before I could go no further with the blisters I unfairly received from them.  A bit big for me but luckily for Mats, they fit him. A bit tight but it gave him another pair of shoes to change into during the day. Foot options are good. Mats has done marathons, he can sit in perfect yoga pose with his legs crossed feet resting on his thighs on a hard narrow church pew, owns four bikes and no car, reads books on running, walked the Portuguese Camino and now his third attempt to finish the Camino Frances, has suffered infected blisters, owns five-toed socks, and yearns for a five-toe-shoed future wife. He knows about taking care of your feet.

At times his pack looked like a shoe store. Now within days of making it to Santiago it was time to day goodbye to them. We left them hanging on a rail outside a shoe store waiting for new pair of size 9 feet.

After Sarria, we climbed up into farm country: small farms, narrow roads and quaint villages. We stopped for coffee with Martin and Melissa, just as Byron and Melita were leaving. I was surprised to see Martin again but he had eaked out another day.

We continued on to a beautiful courtyard, in a tiny village with a population of one. We had a hard time identifying the ‘one’ amongst the half dozen who were working here. Martin and Melissa once again joined us as did Brian. Melissa left and Martin stayed for awhile. When we got up to leave he explained ‘I better sit a wee bit longer. I’ve already said goodbye to Mellisa five times!’

A Spanish Piper on the Way

It was only 22k to Portomarín and picked an albergue below a nice looking restaurant. A two bed room! A curtain for a for, showers that were cold but it was uncrowded. It was too good to be true. Around midnight 3 inebriated pilgrims woke everybody up. Once they quieted down the restaurant closed and the chairs moving around above us woke us again, and then each chair was put on a table while they washed the floors and then taken down and slid into place. Being on the bottom bunk and somewhat immune to noise at night, it didn’t bother me as much as Mats.

We wandered the town and sat with the German who had celebrated his birthday, his girlfriend, Brian and a half dozen more. Brian was in a T-shirt and it was getting cold. El Grandio Italiano came by ‘You looksa  cold. I get you a coat’. And off he went to return with a jacket for Brian. The more I saw of El Grandio Italiano the more I liked him.

Mats and I went to the albergue restaurant for pizza. A couple walked in and Mats thought it was someone he knew. ‘I think that is Martin, the German I walked with two years ago who taught me so much like you don’t need rain gear, just an umbrella. And he was the one who introduced me to Patcheran’. I noted he was now wearing a raincoat. Mats went over to his table and sure enough, it was Martin, the German. What are the chances? Eh?

Time on trail: 8hrs
weather: morning fog, then perfect temp and sun

Distance travelled: 22k

Distance to go: 115k 
Food: cafe con leche x4, almond cake, pizza
Lesson learned: it’s a small world if you are travelling the same road.
Feeling: good
Aches and pains: legs OK, blisters OK, bug bites improving, feet sore.

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