It was very hard to leave the lovely Casa Cines and head out into the rain. But once I was out and walking in the woodlands, it didn't seem so bad. Everything is so green and this photo (1) of the trail made me think of the "Magic Forest." I almost expected to see fairies popping out. This part of Spain has strong ties to Celtic heritage and the climate and topography alone would suggest that.
There was very little along the way before Sarria, which I reached about 10 and stopped for coffee. Then I headed to the tourist office. The director was helping an American couple with reservations, which was a sign to me. I then asked for her help, and she was incredibly accommodating. She booked the rest of the trip for me and refused to accept any kind of gratuity. What a relief because some of these cities are getting tight. And I haven't had secure wifi for 3 days to book online. (Which also explains why many of my postings are not properly dated. Where is AT&T when I need them?)
I then entered Sarria via the Ponte
Ribeira. Loved this motif of the clam shell on the railing (photo 2). A lot of my photos depict the clam shell and I have not explained why. So here it is:
The Scallop Shell: it is an important symbol since the 11th C and it appears on the backpack, hat or tunic in nearly all images of Santiago or his followers from the 12th C onward. The origin remains a mystery. One legend explains that when the martyred James arrived on the Galician coast in his stone boat, a pagan wedding almost turned to disaster when the bridegroom and his horse crashed into the sea (upon seeing the strange sight) and began to drown. James demonstrated his goodwill by saving them from the waves, and when they arose, scallop shells covered their bodies.
Whatever the derivation, the clam shell has come to symbolize the Camino and the road markers throughout "The Way" use the clam shell.
Back to Sarria. As I mentioned yesterday, this is ground zero for people who want to walk and still get their credential. For me, it was another stop on the way.
Several major sights here. The first was Escaleira da Fonte (which I interpret as "major steps") (photo 3) Other important sights here include the Iglesia Santa Marina (11th C); the Iglesia de San Salvador XIII; and the Monastery of Santa Maria Madalena XIII). (Photo 3), the latter of which was open and provided credentials.
From here the trail led down to the Ponte de Aspera, another medieval bridge over the Rio Celeiro. (Photo 4) Someone made a poster of the bridges along the Camino and there must have been at least 50.
Just past this bridge, I was into the forest again (and the rain) and continued my walk. Deep into the woods I encountered this refreshment stand set into the gnarly trunk of a tree. (Photo 5) Very inventive. He(?) offered treats for donation only. Behind the tree was a small blue tent, apparently home to the proprietor of the tree who was taking proper siesta inside at 2:30 pm.
I continued walking in the rain, and soon came to Casa Nova in Rente, about 3 miles outside of Sarria. It truly was an old farm house, reminiscent of Louisville's Locust Grove, and was still a working farm. It was as beautifully restored as Louisville's treasure and my bedroom could have been Lucy Croghan's.
Outside my window (photo 6) was a spacious garden where chickens, roosters and geese roamed freely and cows were stocked on the other side.
Tonight there were only 2 of us in the Casa, and yet they prepared a delicious meal. My diner companion was a man my age from Italy. We managed to have a delightful diner conversation in 4 languages - English, Spanish, Italian and French. I told him how I had hiked in Cinque Terre (northwest Italy) last September when a rock slide sent 4 Australian women to the hospital. He knew all about that. He told me about his trips to the US and I shared stories of my adventures in Italy. The language barrier was supplemented by lots of gestures, but we had an enjoyable meal together. The weather continues to be cold, so the hot vegetable soup served as a first course was welcomed. Steak and potatoes again but who complains about that. And then Pineapple cake for dessert. What's not to love?
By the way, my daughter Michelle, the "webmaster," has fixed my blog so if you care to leave me a message, feel free to do so on this posting.