Today, Ignacio accompanied us to our starting point for walking the Camino. Were were given our camino passports the night before and he explained how we had to obtain the necessary stamps from each stop. We need a minimum of two stamps per day and each stamp must be dated; in many places the stamp is on the counter and you just stamp and date the passport yourself.
The morning was quite cool and windy, but sunny, and bright with just enough clouds in the sky to add some texture and color. The landscapes that we walked through were beautiful, though at times the terrain could be quite rocky and quite steep, both uphill and downhill — most of us agreed that the steep downhill grades are the hardest on our feet and legs. Ignacio suggested that we walk in a zig-zag pattern on such downhill grades and his advice was helpful.
We were also warned about the bicyclists, and that warning was a prudent one. Our first encounter with cyclists was a benign one; I heard bell and one of them alert us that four of them were coming through. Later, we heard a “Buen Camino” and this guy came flying past us, on a steep downhill grade; he nearly clipped Kris. There was also a crash behind us and we saw that another cyclist had wiped out. He later almost clipped me as we walking down another downhill grade.
The walking poles are a godsend, especially on the rocky terrain and the downhill grades. Many pilgrims use them or a walking stick. We encountered about 70 to 80 pilgrims walking and about 15 or more cyclists. A guy from Poland told of a man from Russia who is walking the Camino after having gone to both the South and North Poles — show off!
Kris and I were surprised at how well we did yesterday, though the last few kilometers sent us down a very steep grade as we heading into a river valley . We crossed the Mino River and then had to climb a large number of steep steps to our final destination for the day, Portomarin. Ignacio and our driver had met us at two other checkpoints. They offered snacks, encouragment, and pointers for the terrain ahead.
We finished the day with a lovely lunch in a restaurant that overlooked the river. No blisters today, though our legs were a bit sore but our spirits high. Tomorrow, is our longest segment of walking 17.5 km.
We leave the Rectorial tomorrow and will overnight in a new location. The food and accomdations have been lovely here, but they have a weak wi-fi signal, which made posting yesterday impossible. (That’s why I got up at 5:30 a.m. this morning to do post.) Just a reminder, if I don’t post, it’s because of the lack of a strong wi-fi connection. Buen Camino!