I touched on this a little bit yesterday but I will elaborate a bit more now. In order to recieve a certificate of completion of your pilgrimage to Santiago called a Compostela, you need to have walked at least the last 100km from Sarria (or 200km for cyclists). So there are usually more people that start from Sarria than any other place on the way. Why you ask did we start in St Jean Pied de Port in France then? Well this is the most popular full Camino going, commonly known as the Camino Frances, and we just liked the idea of walking across the top of Spain.
So with our later than usual start this morning (7.45am) we came across many more walkers than we have ever seen. There were day trippers with very small backpacks struggling up the first hill; school groups of teenagers who seemed to stop at every shaded area to sugar-load for added energy; some familiar faces of weeks ago; and then there was the four of us passing more pilgrims than normal.
The day was beautiful and sunny and the mood jovial especially when we reached the 100km to go mark. As I was waiting for my friends to come, I became everyone’s official photographer as camera’s were given to me at an alarming rate. There were also more albergues and cafes to sit and relax in. Lets face it, this is the business end of the trip. We were still passing through working farms with cattle and goats on the menu today but the Camino has changed again and entered the final stages.
We reached Portomarin (22.4km) at 1.30pm, booked into a private Albergue overlooking the Belesar reservoir. The approach over the bridge is linked with a steep staircase of 46 steps which was once part of the medieval bridge over the river before they built the dam in 1962 and flooded the basin. A great place to relax tired and weary feet on a hot sunny day.