Friday, September 13, 2013


Barbadelo to Portomarin, 18 km
Portomarin to Ventas de Naron, 13.3 km

So, yesterday when I arrived in Portomarin, it was apparent to me that I had overdone it over the last two days, since my feet were hurting, and my tendons were swollen and tender.  So, in spite of it meaning that I would lose the people I was walking with again, I knew that I needed to do a short day today.  Of course, the nice thing about a short day is that I get to make a late start of it, so I actually didn't start walking until about 8:00 am.  I didn't look at my watch when I started, but I actually got out of bed at 7:30, so it is pretty close to that.  

My last breakfast with MaryAnn.  She needed to do 27 km yesterday, and I was only supposed to do around 12.  I was still waiting for my backpack to dry, so she left about 1.5-2 hours before I did.

I actually opted not to see the church in Portomarin, as it is another vertical city, and my feet just couldn't handle the climb last night.  I saw pictures of it, and the story behind the church seems more interesting than the church... When they built the reservoir that I walked over on the way in and out of town,  they dismantled the church stone by stone first, then moved it to the center of town and put it back together the way it was in the old town.

The bridge into Portomarin.  Jillian, my companion for the day, and I were excited to see that we were close to our stopping point... That is, until we saw this:
The camino goes up those stairs, through the arch at the top...
Where you go up even MORE stairs.  The whole town was like this, and that is why I went to my albergue, and then to the restaurant beside it, and not much further!

Then, this morning was another day covered in fog/mist, so there was an ethereal quality to the walk.  As we go down in altitude toward the sea, we seem to be dropping out of fall back into late summer, as I am seeing less fallen leaves, and more fields about ready to harvest, rather than already harvested.  Even so, I'm really glad for my fleece jacket most mornings.  I'm not sure exactly when, but it shrunk in the wash at some point, so the sleeves are now about an inch too short--it is warm and helpful on days like today though.

This is a picture of both the old and the new bridge out of Portomarin.  The one closest to you used to be the footbridge pilgrims used, although it is now blocked off.  Instead, we had to walk on the sidewalk of the far bridge, sharing it with traffic.

Today, I wasn't very Christlike, though.  I kind of yelled at a poor harried server because I asked for an omelette without bread, and she brought it to me with bread anyway.  I feel kind of bad about that since I don't think there was evil intent. I think it was more an issue of differences in my terrible Spanish and the fact that there seems to be a dialect of sorts here in Galicia.  For instance, instead of signs saying Iglesia when pointing to a Church, they say Igrexa.  Normally, there is at least some understanding when it comes to food, but today it just didn't work.  I think I reinforced all of her thoughts about how terrible pilgrims are.

I crossed the highway no less than 5 times today, the first 3 of which were in the fog. By the fourth time of seeing this sign, I was beginning to wonder if the powers that be wanted to cull the pilgrims a little bit, since the highway was relatively busy.  

As I walk, I am finding that I am seeing my heart soften to the needs of others, since I spent so much of the last 11 years protecting myself--I couldn't open myself up for fear of the repercussions within my marriage, and I was the poorer because of it. In the process, I am finding that I can bless others, and in the process be blessed by them as well.  Please be praying for Cindy, Paula, and Chantal.  This is a trio of pilgrims who are two sisters and their granddaughter/great-niece.  Chantal is carrying a pack that is probably 2-3x what she should so that her granny (Cindy) and great-aunt (Paula) don't have to carry as much. At the same time, Paula is pushing for them to finish, when Cindy is really struggling to do half of the km they plan to walk each day.  I worry about the whole trio, since they seem to not listen to one another, and Cindy truly has some medical issues.  Chantal seems to be stuck in the middle between them, which is a decidedly uncomfortable place to be, and yet she is incredibly patient with both of them.

Paula and I at a small brook we walked beside.  I left them at Morgade (about 10-12 km before Portomarin) and I hope that they stopped for the day soon after that. Chantal had to go back 2-3 km and get Cindy in order to carry her pack for a while.  I watched Chantal's backpack while she did so, then walked on with Jillian a little bit after they finally got to Morgade.

So, two rather uneventful days... A lot of walking up and down hills under the shade of some pretty trees.  I remember reading that pilgrims spend time walking through some eucalyptus forests, but don't know if I inadvertantly skipped that or if it is still ahead.  Either way, with only 6-7 days until Santiago, I find myself thinking more about home than I probably should.  Some pieces have fallen into place in my head, and some are still at large, so I hope to work on living more in the moment in order to give God space to make me more into the person He wants me to be.  

I want to be like the graffiti on this sign--to be given wings so that I can transcend the person I am, and to become more like Christ daily!