Mercadoiro to Ventas de Naron

Portomarin:

Our second long walk day. We headed out in small groups again, Alita, Jon and I teamed up for the first short walk to Portomarin. The morning was cool and overcast, but that just made the walking easier. When we came to Portomarin we had to cross the highway bridge. Continue reading “Mercadoiro to Ventas de Naron”

From Sarria to Mercadoiro

At first light we all grabbed coffee and breakfast. Then, strapping on the backpacks we headed out for our first walk. The group broke up as we turned left outside the albergue for the short uphill climb back towards the Convento. At the top Jon and I posed for a quick photo at the Sarria marker before locating our first yellow arrow and setting off down the steep hill road out of Sarria. Continue reading “From Sarria to Mercadoiro”

Meetup and at the Albergue Don Alvaro

Saturday am. The train pulled into Sarria at 6:55, still pitch black outside into station, all lit up with salmon-colored sodium lights. I had wanted to video Jon’s reaction on arrival but I misplaced my hat which I never found, and I had to grab my things at the last minute as the conductor shooed me off the train. Jon was with the group, posing for a picture facing away and did not see me exit the train. Only after I had walked up behind him, put my hand on his shoulder and said “Smile for the camera!” did he realize that I had come. The surprise was priceless! Everyone had been very quiet about my plans with only one late email accidentally hinting that I was coming. Jon had dismissed it as a mistake, although he did confess that momentarily he had his hopes up. We were then off to the albergue to meet Jim who was equally surprised and happy that I had come. We dropped our bags off and while we waited for our beds to be readied, we went for coffee and breakfast at the bar next door. Continue reading “Meetup and at the Albergue Don Alvaro”

The Train to Sarria

One last museum for the group to hit but I was still getting over jet lag and begged off. We had a train to catch that nigh and I really didn’t think that sleeping on the train was going to be that comfortable. Turned out that I was right. The bed was too small and the mattress was sloped outwards and I kept sliding out as the train moved. But, my experience was incidental. Geoff, who is an artist and who had joined us after a painting excursion to Morocco, had his iPhone stolen in the Madrid subway. The double-whammy was that all of his reference pictures for his unfinished paintings were on the iPhone. He spent over an hour with the police at the train station filling out a report, but the phone was gone and the chances of getting it back were zero to none. We all consoled him over dinner as best we could, but the excitement of the camino ahead of us kept bubbling up and his mood did lightened a bit as the time went on. Then it was back to the train station to board our 10:30 train to Sarria.

Madrid at last, Hotel Catalonia Atocha

I arrived at the airport and wound up walking the length of it looking for the subway-in retrospect it was a good test of how much stuff not to take. I had finally settled on a soft-side bag just big enough for my poles to fit in along with my backpack, Camino clothes plus extra clothes for the shoulders of the trip. Yeah. The backpack fully loaded with my carefully purchased performance wear came to just under 18 lbs, but the bag topped out at over 30lbs, as I found out at the airport. Where did all that weight come from?! Street clothes can be heavy… Continue reading “Madrid at last, Hotel Catalonia Atocha”