Camino de Santiago Day 13:
Triacastela to Sarria
My last day of walking alone was a shorter one, and I was ready for it.
It was raining when I fell asleep the night before and it was supposed to rain most of the day, so there was not point in trying to beat it.
I was excited already for my rest day in Sarria, where I was planning to wash all my clothes and have a day without walking. So no matter what I had to walk through on this final day – be it rain, sore feet or aching body – I had relief on the other side.
Really that was true every day, but it felt especially true on this day.
There was just lightest drizzle falling as I stepped out into the cloudy morning.
Everything was wet. I walked by tables and chairs in the village that were dripping from being out in the rain.
At the edge of Triacastela, you have two choices for how to go to Sarria. One I’d shorter but has more up and down. The other one is flatter but is more than six kilometers longer.
The longer route takes you through Samos where there is an old Benedictine monastery that is supposed to be beautiful to visit.
But it was the shorter route for me. I felt that I would rather climb than walk farther. Maybe next time I’ll visit the monastery.
The route I chose turned quickly into the woods and followed, as promised, a road up into the hills.
The scenes were similar to the day before. Green pastures, farmland, cows, and moss-covered rock walls.
I had gotten so hot the day before that I had decided to hike in shorts this day even with rain, and I was grateful.
Even in my shorts and tank top I was fogging up my glasses with the heat coming off my face.
The rain came and went, but was never a downpour. Sometimes I think it was just dripping from the trees and not even raining.
After the climb the path leveled off and rolled in and out of forests.
It was pleasant walking for most of the day, with only a few steep or muddy bit here and there.
It was a quiet day. I saw several other pilgrims but none I recognized, probably both because I had started later and that there were two choices for routes.
But I didn’t mind. I carried on enjoying the solitude, knowing it was my final day on my own.
I prayed and listened to my book and kept moving towards Sarria, which soon came into view in the far distance.
In one small village, I came upon a courtyard where lots of young pilgrims were hanging about. It was a beautiful and sort of sacred place with so much going on that I couldn’t quite take it all in.
I almost passed it on by but decided to pop in and have a snack. At the entrance there was a table laden with food and drinks. There were apples and oranges. Tomatoes and carrots. Baskets of cookies. Bananas. A collection of empty jam jars and four or five containers of juice.
On the table was a basket for donations.
So I chose a snack and poured some juice in a jam jar and began to explore the space a little more.
It had a meditation corner. A vegetable garden. Several collections of tables and chairs. A corner of art supplies with an invitation to make a work of art to leave. A tree full of Camino scallop shells.
Everywhere there were hand-painted signs encouraging you to rest or to just be.
Beyond the courtyard someone had even made a labyrinth out of stones.
I didn’t stay for as long as I might have. And I’m not sure why. Maybe it was my focus on getting to Sarria.
And I didn’t photograph the courtyard. Somehow it felt like it would be disrespectful. I sat down in one of the chairs to drink my juice and just spent a few minutes taking it all in.
It was a lot to behold.
I wondered who had made it all. It wasn’t clear who was ‘in charge.’ But I am thankful to him or her. I think happening onto places like these is part of the magic of the Camino.
When I returned to the trail, I looked back and could still glimpse the labyrinth through the trees, so I snapped a quick photo of it before moving on.
Then the sky cleared a bit and the rain faded away for the next couple of hours.
The rain had made everything bright green.
I passed only a few more villages before getting to the outskirts of Sarria.
The long approach ran along the side of the road.
I have been to Sarria before in 2015 for my very first Camino, so I have such sweet memories of being there.
As I climbed the familiar steps into town, it seemed like it was just last year instead of six years ago.
There is a new sign for the town that wasn’t there before, which is a fun addition. I’ll be taking 8 ladies there soon to stand around it and be photographed.
It started to rain again and indeed rained hard the rest of the day, so I sat down in a cafe to have a drink and a moment of gratitude for this week of walking on my own.
It’s the first time I’ve ever walked a trail alone but I don’t think it will be the last. And as I’ve said many times, you’re never truly alone on the Camino.
Or indeed, anywhere.
I am planning to blog the third leg of this journey but will probably do it after I get home so I can give my full attention to the party that is soon to arrive in Sarria. (You might be able to hear us from wherever you are!) So stay tuned!
If you’ve enjoyed reading about the Camino and following along, might I humbly ask that you consider donating to the Move for Peace with Preemptive Love in honor of the miles walked this far. Thank you!!!