Day 31  Official countdown begins: 5 Days to Santiago.

As usual we left in the dark and immediately found that we were going uphill and at times on an uneven path. At first I thought there was a fine rain falling but quickly realized we were walking through a heavy mist as both of our headlamps tried to show us the way. After half an hour the path joined with a paved road where we found this way marker. By now I realized that the Spanish use commas where we would use periods in showing decimal places and often carry the decimal to three places, so I knew we were 128.495 kilometers from Santiago. I saw this for the first time when I went to an ATM machine to withdraw 250 Euros and the screen showed 250,000! I quickly cancelled the transaction and started over. Eventually I learned.

When the sky began to lighten we realized that we had been walking through a cloud and now had come out above them. The view down into the valley was spectacular and some of the lower peaks appeared to be floating on the clouds.

We had seen a lot of animals so far, but these were the first white cows we had encountered.

By 10:30 the sun had burned off most of the fog and the rest of the walk was as beautiful as so many other days. How lucky we are to have had such incredible weather.

The day’s journey according to the guides should have ended in Sarria but we had heard from several sources that the number of pilgrims walking increased dramatically from Sarria to Santiago and that finding a bed could be tough. So instead we continued on for 4 more kilometres to Barbadelo.

One of the churches we passed in Sarria.

Another church less than half a kilometer away from the last one.

Leaving Sarria we passed over the Ponte Aspera where Ed took a brief respite.

The path for the rest of the way to Barbadelo took us through what we might call in the US old growth forests. The trees appeared to be ancient with one in particular which had an enormous trunk.

Garden outside of Casa de Carmen.

I loved the contrast in colors between the plant and the flowers.

Casa de Carmen.

Across the road from the albergue was this old but restored chapel dedicated to San Silvestre. It was locked when we arrived but later the caretaker opened it for us.

Ed and I both loved seeing this tree in the middle of the road.

Day 32. Countdown continues: 4 Days to Santiago. (Author’s note: somehow all of the text I had written for these 2 days vanished as I was saving it. I’ve rewritten some of Day 31 but it’s getting late and I’ll just caption some of these pictures)

Breakfast stop in Morgade.

Ed, enjoying the Spanish version of Gatorade.

This was a marker I had been waiting for – 100 kilometers to Santiago.

A cowherd moving his cattle to a new pasture.

The picture doesn’t do justice to the difficulty of this descent. The young Italian pilgrim in the photo said it was the most difficult part of the Camino so far.

Portomarin our destination for the night.

Climbing the stairway was the entrance to the city.

Not even out of breath!

12th century church of San Nicolas and I have to say one of the ugliest churches we have seen in Spain. I can’t say what the inside was like as it was locked.

The albergue Ultreia Portomarin our home for the night.