Walking for Water with Camino Jim-Day 29
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2018
Day 29 begins the section of the Camino which takes me to Sarria where the Camino traffic jam begins. If you walk five hundred miles or 72 you will be granted the Compestella for walking the Camino. When you reach Santiago you go to the Pilgrims office where you will preset your Credential which has been stamped and dated by a variety of establishments indicating that you were at that location along the Camino. One stamp is required each day if you begin your walk prior to Sarria. If you start at Sarria, 72 miles from Santiago, you need to have your credential stamped at least twice each day to be granted the Compestella. The result is that it gets a bit crowded from Sarria to Santiago with pilgrims wanting a Compestella but not wanting to walk any longer than needed. Nearly every establishment on the way to Santiago offers a stamp. Hotels, churches, Albergues, restaurants and others make the stamp available in order to attract customers. I will typically get my credential stamped three or more times everyday. The stamps are all different and some quite interesting.
As a result of the increased crowds on the Camino it gets busy everywhere. Pat is joining me in Sarria to walk the final 72 miles but because it was not planned until a short time ago Pat is having great difficulty in finding a place to stay here in Sarria… most are sold out. I am one day away from Sarria and as I write this Pat does not yet have a room. We are working on a plan. The Compestella is not a real issue for Pat because he already has two but if he starts in Sarria he would be eligible so why not start there.
The question of the credential’s creditably being stamped often comes up. Take today for example. I wrote about the bus load of Americans who walked off a bus and into a restaurant and while there they had their credential stamped as if they had walked to that location. How many Compestellas are issued to bogus pilgrims is a mystery but I bet it’s a significant number.
I am back in my room at the Casa David at 6:45. Nothing to do here. I did walk to another part of the village to find a WiFi that works. The Casa David is having WiFi issues. Most bars and cafes have WiFi so it won’t be hard to find a working WiFi location. I do find a cafe with WiFi and decide to also have dinner … ensalada mixta and then back to Casa David. Without WiFi there is not much to do. It’s early and as tired as I am I’m not ready ready to sleep. The good news is I’m off my feet and much to my surprise there is an English language channel which is “ How do they do it?” which is about major engineering projects like the widening of the Panama Canal. It’s the only option other than to read the guide book.
So I’m in bed early and struggling to sleep. I’m once again awake at 4:00 and hopelessly unable to sleep. I’m back on the how do they do it channel. Long story short I’m on my way to get coffee at 7:00 down the street because they have WiFi there. I’m back at Casa David and then on my way to the Camino. Today will be the shortest walk on my schedule, about eleven miles with only one hill to deal with. The hill is long and continues to take you up and does get your attention because it’s at the very start of the day. My lungs are just feeling the stress because they have not yet warmed up. In the eleven miles to a Sarria I stop just once for a Coke Zero and arrive in Sarria at 1:30. I have made good time. Sarria is one of the larger cities on the Camino and that means it’s a bit more difficult to find your hotel. I manage but it takes me almost thirty minutes to find it. Once there I check in and take care of the usual chores.
Gary and Margot are also here and I see Garybin the lobby when in walks Pat. Pat meets Gary and we discuss dinner. My real focus is that Pat still does not yet have a room. He is booked after today in the same villages as I am but not yet here in Sarria. The front desk people are making calls trying to find a place and finally find a hotel about ten miles back toward my last stop but that’s fine. Pat is now set and we take a walk to the Canino shop where I hope to find a shirt I can wear in Santiago and then home. The two white shirts I have been rotating daily are near the end of their service and I need at least one replacement. I find a shirt, so we return and then head to dinner with Gary, Margot, Don, Candy and a new arrival, Shelly from Seattle. Gary has found a restaurant and it turns out to be very good.
The night comes to an end and we walk a short distance to the hotel where Pat has parked his car. Pat will drive to his hotel, spend the night and then drive back to my hotel, park his car and we will walk the 14 miles to Portomarin. Once there, Pat will take a taxi back, get his car, drive back to Portomarin and repeat the process until we reach Santiago in five days. Tomorrow will be T Day as in SANTIAGO. I’m looking forward to it.
Good night. Buen Camino.
Miles today: 11.6
Miles to date: 434.7
Steps today: 33,105
Steps to date: 1,028,706
Flights to date: 837
Total donations to date: $34,950.40