Portomarin to Palas De Rei
“The real opportunity for success lies within the person, not the job”
A much more pleasant day. While still far busier than anything we’ve seen on the previous sections, the groups were a little more strung out and consequently, there was a bit more space in which to walk. Conditions at eight o’clock this morning were very reminiscent of back home : there was a damp mist limiting visibility (as did the dark!) and there was a chill in the air. We very quickly found ourselves in woodland containing strange, bare, skinny trees, not quite petrified, but barren none the less. They looked quite bizarre in the gloom.
By the time we emerged from the forest we had climbed high above the town. It was now daylight, and as we looked across at the hills in the distance the mist was sitting below their tops, looking like a river running alongside the trees. It was quite a sight! Despite the dull start to the morning it soon brightened up, and normal service (shouldn’t really tempt fate here) was resumed. The sun shone for the remainder of the route, the sky became cloudless…….I know – I’m like a broken record of meteorological reports (is that correct, Larry?) for Northern Spain.
We are now down to the last three days of the Camino. Tomorrow evening we meet up with the second wave of Scottish pilgrims as Brian, Helen, Lynne, Don, Alison, Jackie and Andy arrive to further boost the Scottish contingent which only recently was a tad thin on the ground. Our numbers are swelling! We will now be able to lord it over the Australians (loads of Aussies), the Kiwis, the South Koreans, the French, Italians, Germans and even the Irish (sadly, most of them have left for home). There are far too many Spanish peregrinos, but the Brazilians, Mexicans, possibly Canadians and Americans (although I doubt it), definitely the Austrians and English had better watch out.
Once you are in Galicia the”x” takes the place of the Spanish “j”. You notice as you approach Galicia that people have altered the Spanish spelling on road signs identifying Galician destinations. The “x” must be pronounced “sh”. As a case in point, we have just enjoyed a delicious menu del dia which included a vino de la casa (which was very nice) entitled “Vino Xeitosino”. This means that the correct pronunciation of this lovely wine is “ O’ Shite-o-seen-yo. Oops.
This is big Celtic country. The sound of bagpipes is never far away, indeed yesterday, as we wound along the trail, we could hear in the distance the sound of what you would have sworn was a Scotsman busking on the Camino with his bagpipes. It turned out to be a Galician, in full national dress, busking with his slightly different looking bagpipes. Hearing it in the distance reminded you of home, so he was well rewarded.
As we near the end of the journey, it is only right to complement the Galicians for their Camino distance markers, which are everywhere on the route and, amazingly, appear to be accurate. For the first four and a half weeks we have passed road signs and trail signs displaying the most bizarre information. You pass a road sign which says “ Santiago De Compostella : 260km”. Five minutes later you pass a trail sign that indicates it’s 230km. The following day you’re told there’s 270km to go. We are convinced that those responsible for the signs sit with a pile of distances, and when a worker comes in to collect some, they just grab the first ones that they lay their hands on. It became a walking game : “Guess how far to go, on the basis of the last signpost”. Not easy, but entertaining(ish), (remember, it’s a long way, and you struggle for amusing ways to pass the time).
As I said, another reminder of home reaches us tomorrow with the arrival of our Paisley pals, who have, as always, been wonderfully supportive of the charity and of us. We’re really looking forward to hooking up with them!
Today’s album track is “Caledonia” by Frankie Miller. The Scots are coming!!!!