Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 34 Camino de Santiago Aug. 8 Sarria

Classic lesson today!   Fear not, what is not!  That'll be my saying for the day.  I  was soooooooooooo looking forward to being in O Cebreiro and it turned out to be a flop.  I was soooooooooooooo dreading to be in Sarria, because that's where the number of peregrines increases exponentially.  Guess what - Couldn't wait to get out of O Cebreiro and might stay an extra day in Sarria.
     Yes, the number of peregrines substantially increased since O Cebreiro, but Sarria has over 400 beds and will accommodate even more by opening up the school gym to sleep on the floor!
     Are you listening Albergue in O Cebreiro?!?!/!#%$#&&
    I awoke this morning at 9 AM  to the birds singing, a cool breeze blowing through the window, and the smell of freshly baked croissants.....NOT!  I awoke at 5:30 because there are new peregrines and they are sore and can't sleep.  This morning there was a family of three: Mom, Dad and daughter who was about 22 and fairly portly (I'm being kind here!  Work with with me!)  At 5:30, her dad was putting a creme on her legs and massaging them, which is a wonderful thing...just not at 5:30 AM in a room with 10 people.  Oh... and if it's not too much bother...maybe hold the conversation to just a tad below a sonic boom.  I wish I could have understood their Spanish because it would have been fun to have joined their conversation at the most inappropriate time!  Actually, I just laughed because... well.. what else could I do.  It makes me feel great to see the daughter, undaunted by her obvious liabilities, attempting to hike 20 - 25 k a day, and I'm happy to see a mom and dad close enough to their daughter to take her on the Camino.  God bless them all...  Now... shut the heck up!!  Just kidding!  It was comical to see people so oblivious to the rest of the world around them.
    Good ol' Steve was sleepy when I left the Albergue and forgot my towel so I had to walk two miles back to get it.  Isn't that fun!!  Hello cow....again!  Hello barking dog...again!!!
    After finally going in a positive direction, it turned out to be the wrong direction... well not exactly the wrong direction... I mean... if I went all the way around the world, it would have eventually been the right direction.  As it turned out... I did see another house I'd like to buy...only it has lots of cow manure in the street in front of it and the fields around it, which means boo coo flies!
    I checked my map... ya's a recommendation from Steve...check your map BEFORE you start off in the morning!  I checked and saw that I was taking the ahem...northern route... which oddly enough was a short cut... but only on my map.  There were huge mountains to climb on my map, but it was a great workout.
   A lot of the time I was on the road, so I rolled.  Much of the time I was on a path like this one, so I carried.  The pack has gotten lighter or I have gotten stronger, or I quit thinking about it!
    The trail is very poorly marked ever since I left Ponferrada a few days ago.  It's like the yellow arrow painter is on strike.  Probably a retired Spanish waiter.  In Mexico, it's "mañana".  To the Spanish waiter it's "Ma-never".  You can hike for an hour and never see an arrow or shell, but then BAM a huge sign.  In previous days, like the first 30 days, there was a yellow arrow or shell every two minutes.
    The books all say that the number of hikers/bikers increases in Sarria, but it's actually O Cebreiro that the new pilgrims join.  It seems that they come in bunches, not solo travelers.  The difference being that they are usually louder and less willing to break from their group.  To say that the Camino has changed, yes, it has, but the jury is out as to for the better or worse.  I know it means more to me when I see some of the original pilgrims.  There's that fraternity feel of community that is priceless.

 I feel for the newbies because the trail is still the trail.  Steps like these are killers because they break the rhythm and strain calf muscles.  Their feet have not been broken in and they are hurting after the first day.  They'll be hurting more in three days, they just don't know it yet.  Again, good for them - If this is the only time off they can get, more power to them.  If I can help, I will.

     After hiking for eternity... not really, it was probably just 1/2 of eternity, Sarria came into view.  It's a huge city!  As in too many bars to count.  I stopped off at a tourism office just outside of town and they found me a hotel room for 20E and it's wonderful!  Not bad considering I paid 9E last night to be with the Spanish version of the Von Trapp family!

      Sarria is built on the side of a hill and was a good stretch after my 24k walk.  I like to walk after I shower as it seems to stretch me and prevent tightening of the muscles.  Beautiful little church in Sarria as well.

   I ate Italian tonight!  Mama was okay...  Good olive oil!  Good coffee.  My Mom's lasagna absolutely smokes the one I had tonight.  In the restaurant, I found what happened to those old maps I had in grade school.  I love maps!  I look at one and BOOM - I'm gone!
     This Jesuit church reminded me of a guy I met in Trabadelo.   I walked into a restaurant and there were two Germans sitting at a table and at another table was an Asian and an anglo.  I sat at a table near them.  I heard the Asian speaking perfect English so I asked if I could join them.  Mike the Asian was from San Francisco, and Peter was a Hungarian.

   Long story- short version.  Mike was an accountant and couldn't stand it.  Said no one he worked with could stand it.  The biggest topic of conversation was... how long till retirement!  So after several years, he quit and has been traveling for the last 7 months or so.  Now, he's headed back to the states to be a Jesuit priest.  He said it's a 10 year process - 2 years of learning the rules and regulations (isn't their a video he could watch); 3 years of college - either Fordham or Chicago Loyola (maybe Western??); then 2 years of internship in a school or hospital; and then 3 years of theology.  Wow!!


Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

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