October 18- 19

As I indicated, it was good to be walking.  It was difficult to leave Samos at a decent hour.  Spain is in a weird time zone to begin, meaning the sun is now rising at or after 8:30 a.m.  And unless I have a reason to walk in the dark, I don’t.   In addition, the mornings have been foggy, so it’s dark-ish, cold and damp at 8:30.

In addition, my hospitalero Ashley, her mom and her mom’s friend and I got to talking again.  It was easy to stay until a bit after 10.  Fortunately,  the day’s walk was only about 10k, to Sarria.   Sarria is the gateway for people who want to get their Compestela, the certificate, while walking the least amount permitted.

The beginning of the day was along a river – I’m sure  the source of the baby trout I had the day before.  Lovely !

At the first cafe, I met Monica, who is Canadian and who likes to sleep in.  As I was to learn later, she also likes to walk into the very late afternoon.  We became walkjng companions for the day.  I really enjoyed her company, but we parted ways in old Sarria.  I was ready to stop for the day, but she carried on to the next village.

I stayed in a small albergue,  which had only a few beds per room.  As my insomnia has kicked in most every night, I paid a bit extra to have no one else placed in my room.  There was a communal dinner.  Enjoyed my stay.

As always, the next morning featured a steep climb out of the valley.  I thought of Monica and wondered how she  took this hill so late in the afternoon.   As I suspected,  I saw her at my first town on Wednesday.  But I also saw Olga, the woman I met at the Biarritz airport on Day 2 in Europe.  Olga was at Orisson and she was my first walking companion as we slogged downhill so painfully into Zubiri.

How could I not walk with her for one more day?  Interestingly,  we ran into the couple, last name of Brennan, from Canada, who took us to the wonderful albergue in Zarria.

All week (and this will be true for Thursday and Friday, as well) the path has been mostly through woodland,  with many oaks and huge chestnuts.  There are numerous ascents and descents, but on average, each day they’ve gotten less steep.    This land is mostly dairy cow, with sheep from time to time.   While walking with Monica, I got to play at being St. Francis.  We were passing a small herd of sheep on the path, when they spooked and ran.  But one poor sheep was caught up in baling twine in the blackberry bushes.  It looked like it was willing to break its leg to get out of there.  I dug in my pack for the small scissors I have and freed the sheep.  By this time,  2 men pulled up in their pickup and watched.  They seemed pleased that a pilgrim cared about that sheep.

I left Olga at her chosen location and continued walking on to Mercadoiro.  Before that, however, we stopped for lunch at a place whose stamp said 99.5 Km.  I now have less than 99 km to go.  I’m tired of walking,  but this life has gotten under my skin.

Mercadoiro was in the middle of nowhere,  so another day of hanging out after stopping or the day.   This was also an albergue with a couple of private rooms.   I had a lovely conversation with Lucien, a Dutchman about Elizabeth’s age who walked from Holland to figure out what to do with his life, including whether he wanted to settle down with his girlfriend and have any children.  He decided he did and almost quit the Camino.   But he decided to keep walking to Santiago.

Another communal dinner with him, an Italian and a kid from Brazil whose dad is Italian.  What a babel of languages.  We all managed to understand one another and shared a lot of laughs.

My time is getting short.  I can’t wait, because my daughter is meeting me on October 23rd!

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