Yesterday was my first day hiking on the Camino de Santiago. I walked roughly twelve kilometers from Sarria to Morgade, a small hamlet.
Twelve kilometers is about seven miles, and it doesn’t sound like much. But I feel it!
It was really pleasant walking, with paths, country roads, high scuttling clouds, and intermittent chill and sunshine. The photo below of the Camino meeting a country lane gives the idea.
As I expected, there were many fellow pilgrims on the trail. Mostly, they were Spanish, but some were from England, Sweden, and elsewhere. I’ve yet to meet any other Americans, but I have learned to say “Buen Camino” to everyone I meet on the way (it’s the ritual greeting specific to pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago).
Besides the pastoral countryside, I passed through a number of hamlets, some of which were stocked with convenient expresso machines, and old historic buildings, like the Romanesque church from the twelfth century shown above.
At each of these stops whether for coffee or a church, the idea is to get my Credencial del Peregrino stamped, as proof that I have passed this way. You need two stamps a day to get your pilgrimage certificate in Santiago. Some locals take their stamping duties very seriously, and stamp, sign, and date my Credencial. Others are more like, here’s the stamp and a pad, go for it! I actually enjoy the process of getting my thingee stamped (I did this also on the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage trail in Japan and of course it makes a great souvenir and memory jogger).
Notes: In case you are wondering, my suitcase still hasn’t caught up to me. I miss my tripod, and I could use some clean underwear and socks (this may be TMI). Also, my legs have been cold on the trail, and I could use some warmer clothes. But otherwise, less is more, and I am not really very unhappy about this. Onward pilgrim!
This story wasn’t posted yesterday because the wi-fi connectivity wasn’t up to it. Today I have arrived in Portmarin, a bit more of a town, and am able to connect to the world.