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Walking Camino de Santiago – Day 7, Almost a Holiday

Climbing the stairs in Portomarin - Spain

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Kaspars’s diary of the adventure completed in spring 2013. Translated by Una.

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t is April 26. Probably you won’t be surprised – we were so exhausted after yesterday’s extra long walk. It was more than 40 km long and took us 12 hours, including the time spent in the few stops. As we were so tired we went to sleep early. Today we wake up a little bit after 7 o’clock , after 9 hour sleep.

We have breakfast at 7:30, it costs 3,50 EUR. We can eat whatever we want and as much as we want. But, of course, the largest selection of food is in the beginning. So, I don’t get a cake, as it is already eaten.

We aren’t the first people to arrive at the breakfast table. When we come, the long table is almost occupied except for few places. Mostly there are retired people from Switzerland, about 70 years old. They are very kind and helpful – all the time they try to help us, passing jam, butter, bread, juice and coffee to the end of the table where we sit. They leave while we are still eating. I am impressed – at this age but so active and fit!

We finish eating and go as well. The owner of the albergue is saying goodbyes to everyone, but he is tired of waiting for us – we are the last ones who leave the albergue. And what we see? The retired people are getting in the bus. At first we think, that maybe the bus is carrying only their backpacks.

But then we see that they are not getting off the bus, so they are not walking. We will see this bus a couple of times today.

A cloudy day, Walking Camino de Santiago, Spain

We get to the highest point of the town very quickly. We stop for a while to look  around and then we continue to walk again, towards our destination of the day, which is only 20 km away.

Today is a special day. We reach 100 km milestone, so there are only 100 km left till Satiago de Compostella. If you want to get Camino de Santiago pilgrims certificate you need to walk at least these last 100 km of The Way.

When we have reached 100 km milestone, we see what others have told us before. Suddenly there are more people. Even few buses full of pilgrims. And now you can see pilgrims with a small bag or even with no bag at all. Also the place looks different.

Looks like that drinking water fountains are almost completely replaced with cafes and restaurants. And albergues now are seen very, very often, almost after every 5 km. But for us it doesn’t mean anything, we just continue to walk as we did it before.

A milestone, Walking Camino de Santiago, Spain

We walk past the bus of kind Swiss people. They are having lunch. After a while we see the first exotic bird – an ostrich.

In the village, rural Spain, Camino de Santiago

And without rush, after less than 6 hours of walking, shortly before 3 PM, we reach today’s destination – Portomarin. The town welcomes us with its steep stairs. Pilgrims, go straight and  then climb the stairs! And the rest are allowed to go to the right or left.

We walk around the town, searching for albergues. After a while we return to the place we came from, the stairs. Near the stairs we see an albergue. We go inside and I start to think – are we in the albergue or in the hospital?

Staff in white uniforms, white walls, a faint smell of chlorine. No, it’s fine, we are in the albergue after all. It is very nice, clean and big. It has a kitchen with all utensils, pots, pans and dishes. Also there is a nice common room and a laundry room with a nice view of the river.

Climbing stairs in Portomarin, Camino de Santiago, Spain

There were a lot of retired people in the previous albergue. But today we are in the albergue full of school children. Several buses full of teenagers arrive shortly after our arrival. Looks like they are on an excursion.

If it would be a sunny day we would be eating our lunch outside, enjoying the beautiful river-view. As today it’s cloudy, we eat our lunch inside. But still we see the river, as we are sitting by the windows.

In the evening I check the weather forecast. The next few days will be cloudy, with a possibility of rain. Oh!

Reaching Portomarin, Walking Camino de Santiago, Spain

Read all our articles from Camino de Santiag0 2013!

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