Day 24. Portomarin to Palas de Rei. 17 miles (34 miles out and back)
I said I'd explain about today's activities. This is Brendan's first day of walking on the Camino. You have to do a minimum of 100km to qualify for an official Compostela certificate, and I guess have your name called out in the cathedral for completing a pilgrimage. 100km lies between. Sarria and Portomarin at a tiny place called Pinza. B chose to start at Sarria and I drove him there first thing.
After parking the car back at Portomarin, I set off to cycle the next bit of the route - to Palas de Rei. Not much in terms of distance, you might think, but the last two days involved climbing up and over a couple of mountain ranges, then the hilly road between Sarria and Portomarin, so I felt a bit lacking in energy. Also I had to cycle back from Palas de Rei to Portomarin.
The road climbs steadily from Portomarin for 12km and then cyclists and walkers are directed onto a narrow country lane. It's tarred though, but has a a lot of short steep ups and downs. So pretty exhausting. Beautiful scenery and a succession of tiny hamlets each with a cafe or two and some pilgrim accommodation. Ligonde was the biggest, and you felt you were cycling through someone's farmyard. They had certainly driven cattle along the Main Street recently!
Ligonde gives me a chance to mention languages. Hereabouts they don't speak the Castilian Spanish that we get taught at school, and that the phrase books use. Instead it's Galician, which sounds very different from Castilian. Place names often seem to have two versions, and you often see road signs that have been altered (informally) with spray paint. Ligonde has had the last two letters deleted, so I guess the Galician name is Ligon.
Cycling back against the tide of walking pilgrims was an odd experience. Instead of people's backs, you see their faces. Cyclists going with the crowd are assumed by walkers to be pilgrims, and often a greeting of 'Buen Camino' is exchanged. If going against the flow, the supply of greetings seems to dry up.
Back in Portomarin, I stopped off minto a supermarket and a gift shop. Stocking up on a few groceries and also to get a Camino T shirt and fridge magnet for B's birthday present.
And here are his feet and boots after the first day's walk.
Here's the first entries in B's Pilgrim Record.
Evening meal will be at the campsite cafe.