October 1, 2018
Enrique and I both felt good today even though we didn’t get much sleep last night…big snorer in our albergue. It was a woman from Maryland that we had met several days earlier and her husband was sleeping right next to her and never heard her, I guess. We had planned to walk 15 miles, but that would have put us in a “town” with nothing but an albergue. No restaurant or market or anything, so we walked an additional 2.5 miles to a good-sized city called Sarria. It also helped that the walk was beautiful, through farmland and rolling hills. There was a lot of downhill on a great trail of dirt, no rocks.
Sarria is an important City on the Camino because it’s 112 kilometers from Santiago. Anyone who walks the last 100 kilometers of the Camino is eligible for a certificate of completion and Sarria is the city closest to that 100 kilometers, so many people start here. We expect the trail to be very crowded from here on out.
We found beds in an albergue, Puente Ribeira,(after the first two we checked were full) that has little character, but is clean and has only two bunk beds in a room. The other bunk bed has only one occupant, Roldan, a young man from Mexico. He started Camino the same day we did and hopes to finish on Saturday, like us. But he has had three or four rest days, so he’s obviously a much faster walker than us.
Walking around in towns or cities after we are showered, it’s easy to pick out other pilgrims that are sightseeing. First of all, we’re all wearing sandals, usually flip-flops. The first thing we do when we stop is take off our boots. It feels so good to let our toes breathe after a long day on the trail. With toes exposed, most of the pilgrims in town have bandaged toes and feet (my feet are finally all healed and bandage-free!). We are all wearing sporty, hiking clothes, whereas the locals are usually dressed nicely, and men have a passport holder around their necks. Another telltale sign of a pilgrim is the limp. It seems to me that limping people have become more prevalent in town, which seems strange because our legs and feet should be getting stronger, but I think it’s mostly the newcomers to the trail that are limping.
And then there’s our tans. Pilgrims’ legs are really tan with white feet and a distinct tan line where the socks hit. Today I saw a pilgrim in town with tan marks showing the outline of a knee brace. Our legs are also tannest in back and our left arms are darker because we’re always walking west with the sun at our backs and to our left.
And now it’s October. We walked for almost the entire month of September.