June 12, 2011 Mercadoiro to Portomarin to Palas de Rei

Entry to Portomarin -- low water reveals older bridge into town.

Walked the 6.7 km to Portomarin and there saw Heidi, Beata and Joy of Australia. Went into church for sello when opened at 10:00 then stood with the three to visit and there had unusual experience of receiving sudden flood of unwelcome advice: “A Camelbak is no good, it gets dirty” (Beatta), “It holds too much water; you can die from drinking too much water” (Joy), “The pretty shell from your wife is too heavy to carry” (Joy), “You need to press the 4-leaf clover you were given or it will turn brown.”

I decided my response would be to receive last bit of advice, but in response to Joy give her a hug to let her know I loved her even though she was “having a bad day.” Couldn’t help but think that a trio of people such as this gave Shakespeare his idea for the three witches in Macbeth. Ah, after three caminos I’m becoming too proud.

Left Portomarin (and the three women) and walked with Jacqueline at Austrian pace straight to Palas de Rei. Found place at private albergue that was rabbit warren inside and headed to church for Pentecost evening mass. Agreed to meet Stefan of South Africa, also in town, for dinner and discussion. Dinner with Stefan and Jesús of Pamplona at restaurant above albergue. Great to see Stefan again and to enjoy his teasing and passion. Off to bed after texting Sebastian and Catia and Andreas and Luke/Rocky our whereabouts.

June 11, 2011 Samos to Mercadoiro

Jacqueline, a blur from behind, as I usually saw her. Walking the "Austrian pace."

Left the Samos monastery albergue and had toast for breakfast across the street. Then walked without yellow arrows from memory out of Samos. Somehow many of the directions from/to Samos have been intentionally obscured by someone. Met Oussie of Hungary at the option (i.e. the fork in the camino) and she suggested the longer route via woods and farms to Sarria. She gave a four-leaf clover she had found as remembrance. Very sweet girl; one of those camino people I wished I’d spent more time with.

I took her route and enjoyed the beauty of green. Many ups and downs, though. Then finally hit road to Sarria. Met the older Brazilian couple at coffee (remembered them from Foncebadon) who mentioned that Alexandre was behind them. Continued to Sarria and met mother/son duo — Deirdre and Patrick of Ireland. Patrick is moving to Seattle in October to work for Microsoft. Debating about living in Redmond, Bellevue, or Kirkland. Asked at albergue at top of stairs for cell phone store to recharge phone with money and waited at Movistar store for probably an hour during lunchtime to be helped. Put 30€ on the phone.

Left Sarria and walked with So. African man, part of a larger So. African group, to Barbadello where I was delighted to meet Jacqueline. Walked with her to Mercadoiro, just shy of Portomarin. Opted to stay at Mercadoiro for total kms of 32.5 that day. Nice dinner with Sven and Britta of Germany, then drinks with Heidi, Beata and a Dane. Lots of laughter, with Beata constantly apologizing for her German and me teasing Dane for actually being Dutch. This is a nice albergue, with a sort of ramshackle layout but rooms no larger than 5-6 beds, each room with stone walls.