Day 23: Home stretch.

Just the facts
Day 23: Samos (Monastery) to Ferreiros
Distance: 17 miles / 27 km
Time: 6.25 hours
Total to date: 425 miles / 685 km
Aches and pains: Knee is stiff. To be expected
Mean dogs: 3

Yesterday, a Danish guy gave me some bandages that he called “angel wings”. That was certainly the truth, the darn things kept flying away. When I got to Sarria I bought some proper bandages and continued on, albeit slowly.

The morning was misty and cool. Perfect walking weather. Again today the scenery in Galicia was stunning.

Sarria is where the complexion of the Camino changes. Some time ago the catholic church decided that it was unreasonable to expect a pilgrim to walk a very long distance to receive a Compostela so it reduced the requirement to 100 kilometers. Today, hoards of catholics, mostly Spanish, walk the last hundred and collect their Compostelas. With that comes some sort of pardon of sin–it’s a catholic thing. Apparently there is another motivation: the Camino Compostela on a resume looks good to a Spanish employer. (Determination? Carry a project to completion?…) And Sarria is the logical starting point because it is relatively easy to reach even though it means walking a few extra kilometers.

Putting on my holier than thou hat, I saw a number of pilgrims today strolling along without backpacks because they had been sent ahead by courier. The Spanish word for pilgrim is peregrino. One guy I met had a name these pilgrims with their expensive attire: Prada-grinos.

One of the obvious by-products of the last hundred is litter. To this point the litter was primarily toilet paper, now it’s water bottles, food wrappers, cigarette packs and the like. In addition, the demand for beds apparently outstrips availability. I was very lucky today. I arrived at the albergue this afternoon to find that there was one bed left. Whew!

End of rant.

When I reached the 100 kilometer marker there were several people standing around it marveling at the distance they had come. For one guy it was just over 1500 kilometers. Wow.

This is the home stretch.