Distance: 22.1kms, Steps: 31,879, Time total: 7.5hrs.
We were meant to get up early to leave at 7am, however, we got up close to 6.30am & left at 7.30am. We had brought a cream pastry yesterday to have for breakfast & Mr D went downstairs to get a coffee at the vending machine. He came back with a profit of 70cents. It was 90cents & he put in 1€, got 10cents back plus the change still sitting in the slot from other people’s purchases. I had multiple red spots all over both feet, ankles & arms / hands. They all look similar to Mr D’s except mine are flat red lesions & his body is having a reaction to his so they swell up & become puffy. Yesterday, his knuckles & hands were so swollen he couldn’t close his hands properly. Today they look better but still everywhere. So I guess we can only put it down to bed bug bites unfortunately.
Outside was dark, the sky very overcast with a lot of mist hanging over the town. It didn’t feel as cold as I thought it would be. We exited out passing the Sarria cemetery which in the dark & mist felt a bit unnerving. There was a whole line of Pilgrims at the start leaving & they all marched past us, some had their very small packs on. It is late in the season now so luckily it isn’t that noticeable the increase in Pilgrim numbers. Straight off after leaving town & passing the railroad we climbed up & up. Beautiful misty dark woodlands that reminded me of New Zealand minus the chestnut trees. And when we got to the top & walked across an open clearing, everything was covered in misty fog. Just delightful & enough to distract me from my itchy bites.
The total climb up was 300metres. The paths changed from road, to stone pavement, to packed sand tracks, to rocks & gravel. The views changed with the tracks to pastures, trees with vines growing up their trunks, stone walls covered in moss, many small hamlets or small towns. It really was a sensational track, it drizzled with rain then stopped for a few hours, then drizzled again. The mist took most of the morning to clear. It stayed cool, at one point the sun came out & there were blue skies.
We had stopped twice, the first at Rente at a little cafe for morning tea. Then at midday as we were descending, we came to Mercadoiro which is an adorable hamlet restaurant with adjoining Albergue. They say in the book the population is 1 person. There were several people working in the restaurant. The outside wasn’t flash, but the restaurant inside was devine with a lovely warm fireplace going! We had hit a gem! The waiter man was very kind & the food just gorgeous – not too much & cooked to perfection. The chef is fantastic! Mr D ordered 2 cokes, then added on two wines. Why not? he said. He wanted to celebrate 700kms. Then realised after we are 20 odd kms short of 700, so he celebrated the under 100kms to go instead. I had very nice chorizo in cider sauce, Mr D had pork cheeks with baked potatoes with paprika. We also had a bowl of delicious roasted capsicum with sea salt seasoning. Even my cuppa tea was perfecto & we had the restaurant all to ourselves!
We left just as people had discovered the spot & were coming in to order. I was talking to the waiter while paying the bill & he asked about the dangerous animals in Australia. He had not been but said Australia looks like a beautiful country. Then he said I was a sweet person & hope I return to Spain again. A very nice experience to forget the dramas we were going through today. It was all downhill to Portomarin. We passed through another one of those villages that the book describes as ‘having an earthly smell of cow dung’. That’s putting it nicely! Then as you enter town, there’s more steps! The first Albergue in town called O Mirador I had ticked on the list was open & looked very nice & smelt clean. The restaurant upstairs has lovely views over to the river, what there is of the river I guess! It’s not very deep & full. We scored our own private room with two bunk beds at 10€ each. They don’t have the views – the rooms with 4 beds have the views but that is ok. We have privacy to attend to our embarrassing looking bodies covered in red blotchy lesions.
The first shower of two showers in the ladies room I used was hopeless & the water dribbled out so had to move everything to the next shower. The button turns the water off after 30 seconds! Sooooo frustrating! After we had attended to the usual chores we went for a quiet walk about town. From Sarria, we must get two sellos (stamps) per day to obtain our compostela certificates. So after browsing through the shops, we went into a bar for a drink & stamp our Pilgrim passports. I was starting to feel off colour so I hope I’m not getting sick as well. And I wasn’t feeling hungry which is not a good sign. Off we went back to our room to rest up. The temperature outside was getting too cold for us and it started to rain again. Portomarin is a lovely town with a nice looking central street & plaza.
We went upstairs to the O Mirador restaurant. Kim was there reading the menu. We saw her yesterday staying at the same Albergue as us but she appeared aloof. She said, “Oh! We must be reading the same guide book!” But as no peregrino menu was on offer, she left to go elsewhere. We went out onto their enclosed balcony area which was very nice. The restaurant is very American themed with all American stars, places, street names decorating the restaurant. I particularly liked the tall Elvis figure made out of wood. We had a nice meal through, Mr D’s fish wasn’t cooked properly so he politely sent it back for more cooking. I managed to eat well which is good. We are both very tired peoples. And we need a good nights sleep without too many itches. No itches would be perfect actually……