Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Day 30 - slept in Sarria - July 27

Up at 7am, out of the alberge by 8am, I woke up to discover I got my period, again. Yes I've been here so long that I've now gotten it twice. Last time it was so light I thought maybe it would be the finale and I'd leave my period on the Camino but no, now it's as heavy as can be. "All of the exercise" someone told me. I ran through my morning routine, drank a hot tea at the alberge, and headed out for the third steepest climb of the Camino: from 600 meters to 1400 meters! You can see the steep grade in stage 28 on my pilgrim paper at the bottom of the post.

I walked by a corral where you could rent a horse to take you up the mountain and so I inquired within but they were already complete for the day. I was walking faster than the horses at first, but then they passed me. The weather was sublime and it was all I could do to not take too many pictures.

The mountains of Galicia are very different because of the westerly winds coming across the Atlantic and everything is lush. You can tell there are frequent rain showers and misty mountain fog but today was a glorious goldilocks day, not too hot, not too cold, it was just right. I climbed through the farmland full of mazes of mountain streams dividing small, intimate fields and pastures grazed by cattle, with sheep, pigs, geese, and chickens all foraging around. I love this kind of rustic countryside. This is the region famous for the Albarino wine, and Ribeiros the other white wine that goes well with their local cheese, quince jelly and famous almond tarte (tarta de Santiago). Thick hot soups (caldo gallego) and rich vegetable and meat stews now dominate the menus as do fish dishes and the famous steamed octopus. And for whatever reason, the Spanish here are back to using the X instead of the J, which seemed to be the case in Basque country too, making everything look all the more foreign.

When I finally summited over the last crest on the top of the mountain, there were three separate crests, I was gratefully heading down the other side to destination Fonfria but as soon I arrived in Fonfria, I knew there would have to be a change. It was a shit town. Literally. There was cow shit everywhere. It was in the fields and farmhouses all right but it was also in the streets, mixing with some kind of agricultural water, streaming down the gutters, and it was disgusting. The alberge was a sorry looking building and the whole place stunk to high heaven so I asked the helpful guy if he could call me a taxi. I found out that Dee had gone on to Sarria, a beautiful city on the river, and so I paid a pretty Euro to cab 30 kilometers to meet her and Roy from Australia. After the 20 kilometers I walked, boy was I happy to see them! We sat outside for hours on this beautiful terrace by the river and had so much fun drinking and catching up and talking about wine (one label had braille on it). Then we headed back to the the cute pension they found (where we each had our own room and shared a shower down the hall) and partied some more! A perfect ending to a stellar day.

"On all peaks lie peace."
- Goethe