Day 37 32nd day walking

We are 118K from Santiago when we start this morning and already it has started. You see, if you do the last 100k the catholic church grants you access to heaven. You do not have to carry your own luggage, I am not sure if you even have to do it under your own power, you just need the stamps.
So we came out of our hostel and there was a car off loading passengers intent on their compostella.
We passed an old church, and then went downhill quite steeply. At the bottom there was a tour bus, then another. The car and two buses bugged us all day. Now, I know that they have a much right to be here as us, I just wish they weren’t.
We followed the railway for a while and up in the air was another flying road. I don’t know if it was still the N6 as this one is not shown on my map.
We covered the 5K to Barbadelo quite quickly, so it was time for our morning zumo. The bar looked deserted apart from customers. When eventually the barman arrived he had two zumos for someone else, I knew this was going to be a long wait.
All along this road we kept passing and being passed by the French couple, I must make an effort to get their names.
Our next stop was Mercado where we had what can only be described as a bucket of coffee. as we were about to leave the French couple arrived and inherited our seats, so I asked their names “Hanni and Peter” that did not sound very french to me, I will have to rethink.
There was a lot of woodland walking today and a surprising amount of climbing and descent, but the distance passed quickly.
Before we knew it we were in Mercadoiro, along with hundreds of others it seems. We needed a comfort break and a little food but it did not look like there was a supermarket here. So I tried at the bar for some yogurt, and I recieved two bowls of delicious home made greek style yogurt, which we crumbled our biscuits in and sat there eating.
While we sat there a couple came over and talked to us. We had last seen them in Burgos when we had been having a meal with Vanessa and John, like us they had no idea what had become of them. All we did know was that the day they must return home to Australia is imminent.
The couple from Kent arrived as well and we finally found their names were Tina and Richard. One important lesson we are learning is “Carpe Diem” we now get the photos and names a soon as we can. Vanessa and John we will probably never see again and we have no record of them.
Our French couple arrived as we were about to leave ( Hanni and Peter) so we got their photo as well. I asked where they were from, they did not quite undestand and Viv now getting very brave said “de donde son” I’ll make a Spanish speaker of her yet.
Peter replied Hungaria. No wonder I could not place them.(By the way, he meant Hungary).
Acording to the map we had only 5K from here so we could take our time now. We could see civilisation tantalisingly close, but we seemed to be getting no closer. After half an hour we saw written on the road “Portomarin 3Kilometers” so someone’s calculations were amiss again.
When we finally got close we had a view of a fantastic lake and a long bridge over it. To think, 60 years ago none of this existed, the whole village was moved when the Rio Mino was dammed.
It was a long walk over the bridge, but this was not a problem, there was however, a stairway the other side like the way to an Aztec sacrificial altar. I was not relishing this.
There was a crowd having their photos taken so we waited. Then we had a huge crowd following us up the hill. Fortunately the stairs wern’t so bad and the crowd went the other way.
We found a supermarket and bought some lunch and sat on the grass admiring the man- made view.
Right behind us was a hostel and I managed to secure a room with bathroom for 45e. I think there is a premium for the view, but as there is no bar and drinks can be bought at the supermarket opposite, it should save me a fortune in drinks.
I think that in this part of Spain they are finally getting it, this morning almost every bar was open for breakfast, and here in Portomarin you can get food all day. The Spanish way of eating is OK for Spaniards, but if the pilgrims cannot get fed when they are hungry they will just cater for themselves.
We had a very nice salad and pizza with a view of the romanesque church and nobody said we must wait until 8 o’clock.

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