Homer's Travels: Camino De Santiago - Triacastela To Sarria

Monday, October 10, 2011

Camino De Santiago - Triacastela To Sarria

The final goal of the Camino, besides enlightenment and forgiveness of sins, is receiving a certificate of completion, known as a Compostela, from the church in Santiago de Compostela.  To receive your Compostela you must walk at least 100 km (63 miles).  My next destination, Sarria, is the largest town near the 100 km mark and it's where a lot of pilgrims start their walks.

I left Triacastela is the early morning twilight.  The Camino followed a dirt road into a forest.  Up ahead the road split in two - one branch headed up the other down.  A pilgrim ahead of me was walking up the hill.  When I reached the split I realized that there were three markers - one pointing up and two pointing down.  I yelled at the pilgrim and waved my hands.  He stopped and I pointed down the other branch.  He came back down and saw the other markers.  He smiled and thanked me.  It felt nice to return the favor.

I reached the little town of  San Xil and I passed the last pilgrims of the day, two Koreans.  From this point on I would not see another pilgrim until I got to Sarria.  The paranoia chewed at me but I kept seeing markers so I knew I was on the right track.  It was just weird.  You rarely were out of side of other pilgrims.

The Camino through here was beautiful.  Forests and farm land.  At one point signs directing you to an art studio with "Living Crystal" started appearing.  It even advertised having its own credential stamp.  I reach an intersection where the gallery was to the left (About a half kilometer away) and the Camino to Sarria was to the right.  I seriously thought about going to the gallery before I realized that it was 8:00 AM on a Sunday and it would probably be closed.  I turned right and continued on my way to Sarria.

I reached Sarria and stopped at the tourism office.  I bought a coke and sat outside waiting for GV.  As I waited I pulled out my journal and documented my walk.  When she showed up I could tell she wasn't doing too well.  She had some new blisters bothering her.  We consulted her albergue reviews and walked into old town Sarria.  They took us up some massive stairs.  Why does the Camino always go up stairs?

We found a nice private albergue run by a family.  We picked beds on the second floor thinking correctly that it would be quieter.  After some quick chores GV and I went out in search of a grocery store and a pharmacy for her.  We bypassed the stairs by going down a rather steep road and found the main commercial street.  We bought some food for the night and the next day and then found a pharmacy.  GV showed her big toe to the pharmacist.  Her toe had what looked like a misshapen purple blister (It would turn out to be a cluster of smaller purple blisters).  The pharmacist looked at it and called over another pharmacist who cringed when she saw the blisters.  They said it looked like an infected blister (not sure how an unpopped blister gets infected but it was) and gave her some antibiotic cream.

Back at the albergue GV drained the blister, used the cream, and then got in her bunk.  I could tell she wasn't feeling good by the way she was in a fetal position.  I decided to finish our laundry by myself  to give GV some rest.  We'd finally smarted up and had combined our laundry together to save the cost of using the washing machine.  We would take turns paying for the laundry machines for the rest of the walk to Santiago.  I took our laundry out of the washer, hung everything out to dry, and gathered everything once they were dry.

GV's toe started feeling better so we went out to explore the town.  We walked up to a convent that was supposed to be pretty cool inside but, when we got there it was closed and you had to ring a bell to get in.  We looked at each other and decided not to bother them.  As we left we passed other pilgrims's on the way to the convent.  We probably could have gone in with them.  I just felt weird going in alone.  I'll have to stop there next time and actually go in.

We started looking for a restaurant to eat at.  We passed a few.  Outside of one there was a guy playing bad guitar and by bad I mean not good.  His singing wasn't that great either.  Looking at the people around him they had the same opinion (lot's of eye rolling).  We ran into a few people we knew during our search including the Canadian and his Japanese Girlfriend.

We ended up outside a restaurant not far from our albergue.  This was one of the few times I'd eaten outside even though most restaurants had outside seating.  A couple of guys were hauling stuff with a forklift.  When it wasn't loaded they were driving like speed demons and, by the smiles on their faces, were having a great time.  One time they took this corner fast and almost ran into a police car.  The police gave them the evil eye and they looked all sheepish and slowed down.  As soon as the cops were gone they sped back up again.

Day Thirty was a short one but things were starting to change.  Even this short stage felt like it took forever.  Around here my aching right leg started getting worse.  While I could treat the aching with acetaminophen, at the end of walking day I felt like someone had beat my right heal with a hammer.   The adventure continued ... but I could tell I was getting tired.

Total Distance: 10.57 Miles (17.01 km)
Total Time: 3 hours 49 minutes
Total Elevation Up: 2,046 ft (623.62 m)
Total Elevation Down: 2,836 ft (864.41 m)

[Click on map for a larger version]


  1. Aii! All these blisters and foot injuries. I'm glad you were using the buddy system at this point. I'd be dog-tired.

  2. The same washing machine that was in the picture below? That must have taken some time :)!

  3. MMC: Everyone had some problem at least once on the Camino. It was still worth doing.

    Gany: Some of the machines I used were almost as bad ;-)