DAY 24


TRIACASTELA – SARRIA

20 APRIL

18.7km

In Brierley’s guide book, there were two different routes to Sarria. The one route is via Samos and 6.4km longer, while the other route is via San Xil and, according to Brierley, after recent improvements on this route, the natural pathways increased with 60%.

We’ve decided to take the route via San Xil. It was the first time after more than a week that I will carry my own backpack again and we’ve thought the shorter route will be more practical to see if my blisters and knee recovered well enough to handle my backpack again (that was anyway a good excuse for me to convince Berto why we should take the shorter route ☺️).

As we’ve left Triacastela, we saw Pieter (our fellow South African pilgrim) again. We’ve last seen him in Rabanal. We’ve walked together for a while, before me and Berto greeted him and started to put our heads down on the uphill towards San Xil.

John Brierley was right that we would walk on beautiful woodland paths. It was chilly between the high trees, but we’ve enjoyed the quietness in the woods and many streams along the way.

The walk through the woodlands was pure tranquility

Once we’ve been through the woodlands, we’ve got to the highest point of the day, Alto do Riocabo. The up hills were absolutely worth it, the views were indeed splendid!

At Alto do Riocabo, the highest point of the day, you have magnificent views

We’ve then started our decent – all the way down hill to Sarria.

In order to receive your Compostela (pilgrim certificate), you need to either walk at least 100km or ride a bicycle for 200km. And with Sarria being the biggest town before the 100km mark, we knew that we will see more pilgrims on our way from tomorrow. We’ve got used by walking alone or in small groups for the past 3 weeks.

Me and Berto were discussing the fact that we will see much more pilgrims from tomorrow and were mentally preparing ourselves for this … maybe this is a way of the Camino to start introducing us back into civilization.

Down hill, on our way to Sarria

At around 10:30 we were in Furela, where there was a nice café … perfect timing for coffee and something to eat.

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Stunning pathways, crossing small streams

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This time Berto was enjoying the Galician empanada and I’ve opted for my old favourite, lemon cake

The last 5km went quickly and we’ve arrived in a very busy and sunny Sarria at lunchtime. We’ve chosen Albergue Durminento to stay for the night.

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Albergue Durminento – that logo tells the story!

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We were the first pilgrims to arrive and chosen our bunk beds next to a window

We’ve done our laundry and hang them on the washing lines on the terrace of the albergue. From here we had a terrific view of Sarria.

We’ve chosen one of the many street restaurants in the center of town to have lunch. There were many pilgrims and it was interesting to hear most of them discussing their next few days (for most of them tomorrow would be their first day on the Camino).

We are now in Sarria – a major starting point for pilgrims with limited time, but wanting to collect a “Compostela” at Santiago

We’ve explored the town after lunch and later went back to the albergue where we’ve sat on the terrace to enjoy the bright sunshine. We were pleasantly surprised to see the “Three wise men” in the albergue – they were also spending the night in one of the private rooms in the same albergue.

We’ve had a nice dinner, prepared by the albergue, together with our Korean/USA pilgrim friends and again, shared many stories. Later on we went to the terrace to have some of Spain’s best red wines, Rioja.

It was a pleasant evening to be outside and we were now looking forward to the end stages of our journey.

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Late evening on the terrace of Albergue Durminento, that overlooks Iglesia de Santa Marina XIX

Categories: Camino Frances (April 2017)

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