Galicia

View from my window at Alberuge Paloma y Lena

What will be will be

The sun smiled down on me. The path was sparsely populated as many pilgrims had taken the detour to the monastery in Samos. Porridge and honey followed by excellent coffee spurred me on. I was looking forward to the private room at Albergue Paloma y Lena that I’d booked at breakfast time. The prospect of a night of solitude further lightened my step.
Many of the farms I passed had the typical Galician grain storages, horreos. They are built on mushroom-shaped pillars to deter rats and mice and made of stone or wood. The first few I noticed were square with thatched roofs, but many were long rectangles, guarded by a cross at one end.
Every corner I turned revealed a new panorama. Lush fields alternated with forests. Villages nestled in the folds of valleys between rolling hills. Between gasps of wonder I strolled through tunnels of freshly budded leaves and rested on mossy logs. 

Just before a little stone village I came on pilgrims photographing a gnarled and twisted chestnut tree. The accompanying sign said it was 800 years old. I tried to imagine how many people and cattle its fruit had fed, how many houses it had furnished with its branches over the centuries.     

I found Albergue Paloma y Lena beside the trail, far from any village. Curled up in my own room with an ensuite bathroom, I was in heaven. After cleaning up, I lay in a hammock and read my book. Luminous green fields and mountains surrounded me. Other pilgrims trickled in, including the German family, and I whiled away the afternoon chatting in the garden.
Our hosts served a communal meal in a cavernous dining room. We were all seasoned pilgrims now. Two Queensland girls and a lively Irish grandmother, Rosemary, and I speculated on the state of the novice pilgrims we would meet on the morrow out of Sarria. Rosemary feared the influx would spoil the walk and we would enjoy little solitude or silence once we passed the 100 kilometre marker. The two Queenslanders didn’t know that anyone who walks the final 100 kilometres is eligible for an official Compostela, or certificate, from the Cathedral. I’d heard that many pious Spanish people take a week from work to walk this last section of the Camino to gain the Compostela. What will be will be, we concluded. I retired early to revel in my solitude and write in my journal.

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