Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pilgrimage Day 29: Sarria - Portomarin

Sarria was a great city to stay in. The city is a combination of buildings from 1000 and modern architecture. It is evocative to walk through the streets early in the morning when the sky just begins to turn from black to dark blue and yellow lights that " heat up" all the walls that surround the city. I'll go a little under 20 km today and mostly through the forest. The forest turns out to be magnificent. Cormorant with the green light. I come eventually to the village Rente and soon afterwards to Babadelo. In both villages, the houses restored and beautiful. I walk further into the forest until I come to Brea. There is not much to see here, but I notice that many houses have set up a small brick buildings on their properties. A passing pilgrim tells me that this is an old way of which farmers around here use to (and still do) dry corn on the cob on. Yeah, I learned something new today too.

The road through the forest leads me on to Ferreiros which is a slightly larger village. I believe that the name Ferreiros comes from  blacksmith, as there were many in this village before.

After Ferreiros the path goes steeply down towards Portomarín. But first I'm going Loio. One of Spain's oldest knight orders started here in 1170, Military Order of the Knights of Santiago. Then I come to the village Vilachá and then to the river Minõ, located in Minõ Valley. The river was dammed up in 1962 for the sake of a hydropower plant, and has created an artificial lake here. A long bridge leads me over the lake to Portomarín. It turns out that this is a really fun little town to stay in. Many shops and small cozy places to eat. The seemingly odd church is here at the town square and doesn't fit in here. I hear that the church was moved up here from further down the valley when the river was dammed. All the stones in the church were numbered and transported one by one to this place and put back together. What a job! Many of the stones still have their numbers visible. I walk around the streets and are curious.

 I eventually found a guesthouse to stay on. A room in the basement of a cafe. But what a beautiful cafe. I share a room with a former naval officer from Montana, USA. We get good contact right away We take a little walk around town and decide to have dinner together. We intend to "flip out" today with pizza. While we walk around in town, we meet another pilgrim who turns out to be a teacher from Alaska, USA. We invite her out to dinner with us, and we have a very pleasant afternoon together around the table. We have much to talk about both of our respective countries and from our journey.

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