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Saturday, 29 June 2013

During this walk I keep referring to the people that we meet and yesterday was no different. As we walked along the road we were joined by a Polish man who in conversation told us he had worked in Lenadoon and as he walked on we reckoned that he was a social worker. Imagine our surprise last night in Portomarin when he was on the altar saying mass. Afterwards we had a great chat and he told us how he had helped the Polish community in Belfast. It's a small world. After all this walking we now just want it over and to get to Santiago but Santiago is like some of the towns during the walk, the closer you get the farther away it seems. Today's walk for example was beautiful and challenging but the beauty was lost as the mental attitude is not right for appreciating natures beauty whilst at the same time dealing with the body's aches and pains. We left Portomarin at 7.30 and arrived in Palas de Rei at 3.30. After firstly going over a footbridge on the river Torres we climbed and climbed  until we reached Toxibo and Gonzar where we stopped for coffee and met up with Charlie and Catherine Hosty from Co Galway.  The path took us up to Castromajor, a village with a Romanesque church and horreos.  The next stopping point was at Ventas de Naron  with its restored church and the beginning of the ascent of the Ligonde mountain range. Along the way we saw the ancient cross of Lameiros and then we were welcomed by the granite cross of Ligonde. We could quench our thirst at the fountain called Fonte do Remellon and then climbed  through Brea to descend to the town of Palas de Rei. C
Colin has been tasked with finding accommodation every day and he has really risen to the challenge.  After the collective and easy decision to forget about albergues we have stayed in some fantastic places.  Tonight we are in a 3 bedroom apartment.  Not only is it spacious and spotless but has fresh flowers and a decanter of homemade chocolate liquor.  After today's long hot walk it is fantastic.
Due to other commitments, lots of people are only able to walk the last 100 k which is from Sarria to Santiago.  After the peace and quiet and relative isolation of the last 700 k it is quite a shock to see the crowds now on the paths.  Yesterday we were joined, among others, by 105 young people and their teachers from a school in Madrid.  They were exuberant, excited and noisy.  Today they are much more subdued as they begin to feel the strain.
Anyway, time for the mentions.
Happy 11th anniversary to Claire and Gavin.  Enjoy your celebratory fish supper!
Happy 1st anniversary to Rory and Rebecca. Great memories of this day last year.  M.

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