6hrs for 25.1 km
We entered Palas de Rei about 1:10 PM, saw the closed Casa Curro where we had booked and decided to look elsewhere. It looked like it had rooms above a cafeteria/pool hall. The rooms might have been nice but we did not want to wait for someone to open it. ( we have since learned we were standing in front of the wrong place!)
We went up the street and entered the enchanting San Tirso Church. Only the front archway is still remaining of the original eleventh century Romanesque church but the newer stone church was built in the simple elegance of the original style. It has more modern stained glass windows. The volunteer who was there to stamp our Camino passports was happy to point out the Alpha and the Omega and the symbolism of all the other windows. Beautiful recorded music was playing. How peaceful!
We exited the church and went across the street to the ultra modern San Marcos Albergue which also has private rooms. We have now had a rain shower and I am reclining with my feet against the forested wall mural. Margaret went downstairs to use the wifi and Brian put our clothes in the coin operated washing machine.
We were the first customers for breakfast at O’Mirador. But like many establishments they were not open at 7 AM when they were scheduled to be. I peeled a clementine outside while Brian looked down and Margaret up the street for an alternative since outside town would have meant a ten kilometre walk before breakfast. At 7:05 AM a server arrived and the lady in the kitchen opened the door. Coffee and chocolate croissants awaited. We still had to walk the ten kilometres to get our egg protein but that was okay.
Rain threatened all day, but we only had a light sprinkling at the outset, just enough so that we covered our packs with rain covers.
We travelled on tree lined paths, often on the Senda near the highway, more country road than highway. The busiest traffic was Polish-manufactured white Skota taxis going back and forth. Perhaps they were trolling for collapsing pilgrims or maybe they were ferrying backpacks. Certainly there were plenty of backpacks sitting at reception although we were among the first people to arrive.
It was a rather odiferous morning, not good smells. We saw a number of low pig buildings. We did not see any pigs but we heard them and smelled them. But the worst of the day was walking beside a fertilizer plant. I thought some of you would have to come and erect memorials to the three Canadians asphyxiated there. I was surprised there were not already some cairns to other casualties there.
We climbed the first fifteen kilometres (climbed!) but on less rough trail, fewer toe stubbers; less pavement than yesterday. Margaret prefers the more rugged terrain. I was happy not to walk on as much pavement nor in mud.
We passed groves of eucalyptus. You would think this would be a great smell, but we could only smell this if we tore a leaf.
There were gardens with large calla lilies and others with huge rhododendrons: fuschia, pale pink, red or white.
The highlight of our day was meeting Sam, the donkey, and his owners, Anna and Johan, who had already walked for nine weeks from the south of Portugal to Santiago and had at least nine weeks to go to arrive home in Germany. They had been working on a farm in Portugal and spontaneously decided to buy a donkey and walk home. They were camping and had to be careful that Sam did not eat too much grass. Johan is planning on writing a book about their adventure. I said we would be watching for that.
Brian told us we walked almost 8 km in the first 55 minutes today. We did not believe him. He rechecked his GPS and corrected himself to say that our maximum speed was 7.8 km per hour but we did not keep up the pace. In the first 55 minutes we only walked 5.5 km.
Yesterday Margaret and I walked around Portomarin. We thought it had a good feel to it, a place we could live. A good portion of the town was moved up to the hill before the reservoir was filled. When the water level is low, you can still see some of the town underwater. The twelfth century San Xuan Church was rebuilt brick by brick!
We finished yesterday with a delicious ham and olive pizza and a game of rummy. Our lodging last night was the first that had NO heat. A good thing there were extra blankets.