Finding Balance

Triacastela to Sarria – 18.7kms

A big topic of discussion amongst the pilgrims the previous night was which route to take, (the longer one via Samos or the shorter one via San Xil) and the forecast of rain all day.

We had decided to do the shorter route based on a number of factors:

  1. The expected all day rain forecast
  2. Leaving early in the morning meant darkness through the lovely forest anyway
  3. The Brierly book made the shorter route sound nicer and…
  4. Riley flatly refused to do the longer route!

We had made the decision to have breakfast before we left, meaning a 6:30am wake-up call so we could be at Albergue Complexa by 7am.

Riley was happy as he ordered a ham, cheese and egg toasted sandwich, hot chocolate and orange juice. The hot chocolate looked like mud it was so rich and thick, like pure liquid chocolate.

I opted to go for the traditional crushed tomatoes with olive oil in toast. Oh, it tasted amazing. I can’t believe how much I have missed out by not having this earlier!

Finally, it was time to brave the wet. There was a little uncertainty about which way to go initially and I didn’t want to get caught going the long way, but very soon we saw the road sign for San Xil and the multiple pilgrims heading that way.

Although it had been raining when we left Triacastela, it wasn’t long before it stopped and actually became relatively warm compared to the previous day’s chilly conditions. I had layered up, but within half an hour, I was needing to shed layers urgently I was so warm.

It was at this point Riley decided he would walk ahead and then wait at the next village. I was quite happy to see him make this decision, purely to see him gain his confidence and to allow him to experience his own Camino, whether he realises it or not.

It was probably a good decision for him as from this point, the journey was just gorgeous and I couldn’t stop taking photos.

The singing tree

As I was taking photos of the scallop shell reflecting on the water, someone was coming up behind to take the same picture and it turned out to be Tiara! We walked for a bit until her mum Andee caught up to us. They were quite excited to meet Riley.

Riley couldn’t remember whether he was waiting at the next village or the next one that had food, so fortunately waited at the next village and met Andee and Tiara.

Still nothing open in this village. (Turns out the decision to have breakfast in Triacastela was the best thing we could have done). We continued walking and ran into Heather again.

I stayed chatting to her while Riley decided to move forward and catch up with Tiara. Heather has done the Camino numerous times and convinced her grandchildren (8 & 10) to walk from Sarria to Santiago the previous year. They would be ok for the morning, but would reach a point where they would sit in the road and refuse to move. (I’ve had many moments where I’ve wanted to do that and I don’t have the excuse of being a child!) She said she thinks it probably constituted child abuse, but was a fabulous experience for them all.

Again, the path was beautiful.

Heather had mentioned there was a bit of a hippie place coming up and after walking through village after village with no food or drink, this was a welcome sight.

It was a lovely place, with hard boiled eggs, organic fruit, amazing juices, breads, homemade jams and so much more, all by donation.

It also had, the most friendliest cat ever! As soon as I sat down, he was on my lap. He became so settled that when I lifted him off to get up to go, he ran back to my lap. It was tough leaving.

The first cafe we came across that was open with a toilet was Casa Cines, 11.5kms from the start. Given how cold it was, I hadn’t been keen on going behind a bush, so by the time I walked into the cafe, I made a beeline straight to the toilet.

Everyone else had the same idea, so there was a little queue. To save some time, I encouraged the woman in front of me to go into the men’s toilet so I only had to wait for a toilet to be free. Eventually, a man came out of the women’s toilet and when I went in, the smell was so bad, I fell straight back out of the toilet dry retching.

I was bent over trying to calm my stomach when another lady came up. She clearly didn’t understand English as I tried to explain the situation, so I waved her in and I waited for the other toilet.

When I was telling the story to Riley, Andee and Tiara, Riley said he was wondering what the hell I was doing. He had seen me stumble out of the toilet and standing there, not moving. (This was my ‘trying to recover’ pose!)

Riley moved on to find food at the next village and I made my way out slowly. The cafe con leche certainly helped to warm my insides and finally kicked into gear.

I found Riley waiting for me, not having found food (he hadn’t walked far enough) but he was fine as he had munched his way through the snacks supply.

It was a shock to discover Sarria was only 4kms away. What was even a bigger shock was sunshine and patches of blue. I passed a lady who had stopped to get her sunglasses out. She said she didn’t care if it was only for 5mins, she wanted to wear them.

Finally, we had made it… kindof.

The walk to our accommodation felt like another 5kms on top of this.

Especially when we turned a corner and encountered a ton of stairs to have to get up. Riley took one look and turned ro me and said “are you kidding me?!” I laughed and said “welcome to the Camino.” He didn’t think it was funny.

It was worse because our accommodation was a bit of a distance away from where I thought we were supposed to be and our bag was nowhere to be seen.

Fortunately, the accommodation allowed us to cancel, I found some alternate accommodation on the Camino trail and got our bag diverted. Just had to make it back up the hill.

Our alternative accommodation at Casa Baran was gorgeous and by the time we arrived, our bag was waiting for us. All was right with the world.

We had a light meal, then chilled out in the room for a few hours (the rain had returned) before heading out to dinner at Matias Locanda, an authentic Italian restaurant. I had messaged them in WhatsApp for a reservation, but hadn’t had a reply and figured it would be fine.

Not long after we settled in, the owner came over to me with his phone and had my picture up! I finally realised he had seen my request on WhatsApp so he stood at the table and responded. He thought he was very funny.

Riley and I both ordered a Gin & Tonic and when the guy poured it, I think it was actually more than 50/50 in the gin favour. He poured out one, then the second, realised there was more in the second, so simply poured the bottle straight across back to the other glass without turning the bottle once. This was before any tonic had been put in!

Boy it was good pizza though and chock full of vegetables for me. I could only eat half so I have a fabulous lunch for tomorrow.

We had a great night laughing constantly. It was a shame to have to leave, but another early start and the longest day for Riley so it was a quick pack and into bed.

I think Riley was asleep 10mins later and it wasn’t even 10pm! He has gotten into the Camino mode.

11 thoughts on “Finding Balance

  1. Karen you are amazing . Enjoy the wonderful scenery and you can never have too many photos.!!! Im loving every day with you both. xx love and hugs to you and Riley xx Pat

    1. Hi Diane,
      I’m just using my Samsung Galaxy S9. I think the lighting is better in Spain. Every photo seems to come out amazing without even trying! 😁
      Riley is much better to be around now so I’m loving him here too.

    1. It’s just gorgeous. I can’t stop pausing and taking photos and commenting on how beautiful it all is. I blame this for my slowness!

  2. Karen the pictures are just beautiful what a feel I get from just melting into nature! I particularly like your Gin and tonic experience that’s my kinda service!
    Can’t wait to see more pictures! Happy walking, exploring and honouring Bree ❤️

    1. The scenery is amazing. I think this is what draws people in and makes them forget all the hard work it takes to enjoy this scenery! 🤣

    1. Scary how quickly these last days are going, but it is just beautiful.
      Trying not to think of the end and just be in the moment. xx

  3. Hello Sweet. I have just arrived home from my trip to Turkey. Fabulous. Full on. Loved it. Its so lovely to see Riley on this pilgrimage with you. The photos are gorgeous. What a stunning place to walk.
    I love reading your stories !
    You are looking amazing, its as though with every step you make that there is a peace of spirit to your soul. This is such a wonderful journey for the 3 of you and i hope gives strength and a bonding for both you and Riley. I feel as if Bree has in her way fostered this in such a beautiful spiritual way for the 3 of you. Sending you much love hugs for you appear to have found you. Xx

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