Today I arrived to begin my pilgrimage walking to Santiago de Compostela. I am to start tomorrow morning from Sarria. As you can see in the image, the River Sarria running through the middle of town is peaceful, but my traveler’s adventures were not entirely so, as I’ll explain below.
In the early morning, the bus picked up our group at the Mas de Garrigue after a wonderful week’s stay. It seemed like forever—and no time at all!
Leaving the group at the Toulouse airport, I headed for Santiago de Compostela via Madrid. Unfortunately, Iberia Airlines wouldn’t check my suitcase through and said I had to retrieve it in Madrid and recheck it (a service would be bringing the bag each night to where I would be staying).
So of course my plane from Toulouse to Madrid ran late, then my bag got lost somewhere in the Madrid airport. I ended up having to race the entire length of the huge Madrid Terminal 4, the last one on the plane just as the doors were closing. Of course, my awol suitcase, whereabouts unknown, didn’t make it with me.
Well, a little bit of hardship is probably a good way to begin a pilgrimage. It kind of seems fitting to be stripped to my essentials as I begin, though I do miss my tripod, which was packed in my suitcase. I am hoping my suitcase will catch up with me sometime in the next two or three days at one of the places I am staying along the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail. I gave Iberia the details, and they promised to find me.
On the fairly long drive from Santiago backwards to Sarria at first the road crossed and recrossed the trail. Then things thinned out, and the vastness of the walk I am undertaking became apparent to me (I think I had discounted the distances when I thought about this from home). It took a while even by car to get here.
In Sarria, I had a nice dinner at a pub around the corner from my hotel, and bought a second pair of socks for my hardworking feet, an inexpensive raincoat just in case, and a clam shell (the pilgrimage symbol) to decorate my camera backpack.