Day 38 Camino – Sarria to Portomarín

Wind. Huge gusts of destructive wind like a Trump rally. Branches are collapsed across the path, ancient trees are split. Nature is hurting. We walk past things that we are very glad have already fallen on the path because then they don’t kill us by landing on our heads. Premature snowfall has weakened all the trees. They’re all saying to each other “I told you we should’ve shed leaves early this year”. The early snow jumped them. Now it’s all melted and in our boots, but the damage is done. The wind and the rain is finishing the job the snow started. The weight of the wet with the wind is stripping the woods. Huge torn branches have become such a typical obstruction that we barely think of them as we pass.


Right now, in an albergue at long last, we can hear the rain pounding hard on the ceiling, running constant and fast in the runoffs. God it’s a relief to be in a warm room, even though I’ll be walking in that shit again tomorrow.

Earlier this evening at mass the whole church sat as the wind rattled through the stones above our heads. Mel said it gave her a clear idea of how it might have felt when the whole village clustered in churches like these when the Saracens came. I spent a moment imagining that vividly before a certain Brazilian pilgrim (blogs passim) shook my hand and startled me back to the world. He’s a personable young man. How do we separate people from their politics? A few days ago he gave me lavender and a fascist diatribe. I didn’t want the lavender after the diatribe. But his eyes are kind, if lingering. I shook his hand but I wouldn’t smile and he knew why.

Today as we walked we got heavier and heavier with the attack of the weather. It’s hard to go long distance in this crap. It’s like God is angry about something. Everything gets immediately soaked and it just gets worse and worse. The only defence becomes surrender. But even after surrender you have to keep walking while you get squelchier and squelchier.

We passed the 100km to Santiago mark today.


That means I’ve already walked well over 500 miles. It’s much colder than it has been, so my muscles are more painful suddenly. It’s getting harder to keep mind and body together and let spirit work. I’m glad this weather only set in this week. It’s another thing to fight, it’ll keep me occupied until the end of the trip, I’m ready for it now, and it forces us to drag our eyes up. The grass is so unbelievably sharply in colour. We are blessed by this rain. All we have to do is make sure we’re well enough dressed not to get sick. We have to learn to love the rain despite the fact it slows us down. But it’s not easy.

I got into town in the dark tonight. It’s a beautiful unusual town. You cross a long bridge and then climb a flight of stairs to get into the ancient cobbled streets. I couldn’t appreciate the beauty fully as it was dark and I was soaking. Despite my trail legs I slipped and fell on the stairs. I was knackered. I pulled a hamstring but I reckon a night of rest will sort me out.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

One thought on “Day 38 Camino – Sarria to Portomarín”

  1. On a cold day I sometimes stop for a minute or two and try to feel what it is like to know that you have spend the night on the street.


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