Portomarin – Cortapezas – Gonzar – Castromaior – Hospital de la Cruz – Ventas de Naron – Airexe – Alto del Rosario – Palas de Rei
Total distance for part 2 = 241.9 km
It was warm this morning and after walking down out of Portomarin, it was uphill in the darkness. Head torches bobbed in the darkness from the growing number of pilgrims on the trail. Since Sarria, the number had grown; 100 km is the least that pilgrims can do if they want to receive their Compostela in Santiago. It is easy to spot the seasoned walkers from the newbies, the ones who only have a day or two under their boots. The blister plasters give it away, of course, but so does the weariness or the easiness of those who have already walked for some days. 200 km can either make you stronger, daily build muscles and resolve or begin to break you.
For me, I feel strong this morning; I am ready to walk, I am ready to understand the future, whatever that looks like. I have cast off the shadows of yesterday and walk forwards with bold strides and a steady heart.
By the time we had completed the darkest section, and made it to the cafe for 8 am, the urgency of the newer pilgrims efforts was tangible. There was barging at the counter for breakfast at Gonzar, gone now the polite, sleepy mornings that we were used to. 7.8 kms from our bed, we weren’t really ready for being elbowed into position.
We carried on up for most of the day but nothing as steep as before and the peregrinos bunched and thinned as the day progressed.
I may be carrying a heavy load today but I felt, today,that walking was my therapist. I felt tranquil, walking through the trails, littered with purple heather, laden with gossamer webs which caught in the morning dew. I felt humbled by the stillness and serenity that nature offered up to me. And as I moved past, clicking on my trusty poles, I could feel my spirit swell. Nature helps me, soothes me and reminds me that my problems are a small pool in a vast wilderness.
I am at peace. The Camino is spinning its magic web around me and drawing me into her arms.