Oca Villa des Sarria (45€)
Out of town on this foggy, cold morning at 8:45 AM… BRRRRR! The day starts with a steep climb out of the town’s valley, a small level off, then more climbing. It has snowed recently and everything is white, beautiful in the mist. There are many pilgrims walking, with us the slowest – but who cares? We have “trudge” on our side! We pass a fountain in the shape of a giant pilgrim’s scallop shell, with the shell’s image reflecting in a pond. On up we go and then, of course, we must go down, down, down. Finally after three hours we stop for C&CC, chips and ice-cream. This is the first stop since Triacastela and it has drawn quite a crowd. Next, a “descente delicate,” on and off very steep and through a running stream… Did I mention the mud??? Poor knees, with brakes on the whole time. Finally the mist clears, the sun shines, and the world is rosy again. This stretch of the Camino is blessedly free of graffiti, and the villages we pass through are old stone, free of modern workovers. Farms dot the way, the strong smells of barnyards pungent. We walk by a pasture that is “the nursery” with seven baby cows and one that has just been born. We can see what’s left of the umbilical cord. Down some more and we see Sarria in the distance. We walk by a field of storks foraging for dinner. In town after six hours, we find our hotel, where we’re on the fifth floor, a simple room with a nice view. Then, at 3:30 PM, off to lunch at the nearby Cafe Concha… good! We split a Mediterranean salad and Bonnie has pizza topped with ham and mushrooms; Nick has lasagna – much like moussaka, yummy! – and coffee-flavored flan. At a bank machine we each withdraw 300€. Then back to the room for BIG B+N. We are reading at 8 when I look out the window, and it is raining. Every night about now it begins to rain. Well, look at the good news – days have been dry! We take our left-over pizza from lunch and go downstairs to the hotel’s little breakfast dining area, order a 5€ bottle of wine from the desk clerk, heat our pizza and, Viola!, dinner, no rain, no fuss, just enough! We watch all the people milling around the reception area and think that they arrived by train… a big group, maybe 25, out to walk the Camino’s last 100 kilometers, the minimum required to receive an official Church certificate of achievement, a “Compostela.” The personal dynamics look hard. The two little usses are soooooo lucky!