We left Sarria a little after 8. As I explained yesterday, the town is a major jumping off point for pilgrims wanting to obtain the Certificate in Compostelle. It is 112 Kms from Santiago and you need to walk 100 kms. We had plenty of company.
The parade started early. In particular there was a group of 30 or so high school students. Just normal, obnoxious teenagers. We could either try to get ahead of them or give them space. We tried both ways. They weren’t packing. They had a lunch and that was it. We gave them space until they stopped to rest. Got past them and stopped for a Limon. We exchanged opinions about the kids with other pilgrims. One lady had spent a sleepless night at the Albergue with the kids. She said that she would be careful to find out where they were before checking in again.
As we were sitting there enjoying our drink, the kids tromped by. This time they were accompanied by a boom box and another 30 or 40 kids. Us old folks decided to try and give them space so we could have some chance to hear the birds, etc. it worked OK. From that point on we did a dance with the kids making sure that if they stopped, we kept going. Found a delightful place for lunch and watched the kiddies march on. That was our interaction with them for the day until we reached our city and we watched where they went and went the opposite direction.
So much for the school kids and their useless chaperones. I did have a chance to talk to the leader of the Russian kids who acted much more maturely. They were enrolled in some kind of holistic medical training program that included a healthy dose of liberal arts. The trip is part of the deal. I asked about blisters since this is their day 5 and some should be hobbling. She said blisters were not a problem since they make the kids buy shoes that are 2 sizes too large. No blisters. At least I know that not all Russians have paddles for feet.
The weather was wonderful. It was cool and partially cloudy with plenty of sun. The countryside was pastoral and every shade of green. Because of dodging the kids, we were a little slow doing our 22 plus Kms but we arrived in good shape. Got showers and a beer and toured the town. Started to drizzle after we reached town.
Portomarin is built above a reservoir that was created in 1962. Unlike when New Melones Dam was created, the authorities dismantled and reconstructed the significant historical buildings on high ground. Kind of like Abu Simbal in Egypt. The moved buildings included the 12th Century church and the colonnaded market. Quite an effort at a time when Spain was one of the poorest nations in Western Europe. The church is the one that looks like a cell block.
Found an actual bag pipe player in the town square. Had to get a picture. Could not find bag pipes for sale. Too bad. Tomorrow is a 25 km day with some climbing. Hopefully we get more of the same good weather.