We got away from the hotel in good time. Everyone was ready for the final stages of the journey, eager to get on the move. First we went to the church of San Nicolas in Portomarin.
Back in the days of Franco the mediaeval village of Portomarin disappeared under a new reservoir. But before the water flooded the village the church was taken apart, stone by stone and moved up the hill. It looks like a fortress, a Romanesque church with huge walls. It being the Feast of the Visitation we sang ‘Her virgin eyes’ and though it was a bit early for it, we said the Angelus.
The rest of the village is a reconstruction of what the place might have been like, but it was a good place to visit and they served good coffee.
Then we were surprised when Rosemary Nutt from McCabe’s walked down the street. We knew that she was going to join us again today. But we didn’t know that it would be so early or in Portomarin.
We got back on the coach and headed off to join the Camino. The walk was lovely, through a beautiful forest with eucalyptus trees amongst the oaks. The result was gorgeous scents, dappled sunlight and the sound of birds singing. It was about a 5km walk, across a little stone bridge, past farms, cows and fields of varied and lovely shades of green.
Walking gives great opportunities for talking, and getting to know each other even more. That morning over breakfast I had met Brendan from Dublin. He and his wife were walking the Camino to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary. When were they going to arrive in Santiago, I asked. ‘When we get there’ was his reply. He told me that he had decided that you don’t have to rush at life. ‘Take your time’ he said, ‘you see more and learn more’. It was good advice from a fellow pilgrim.
So we took our time walking and enjoying the Camino. How many pilgrims had walked through these forests before us, all with the same goal, of reaching the shrine of St James? Seeing all the people walking, cycling, is simply incredible. So many people on the Way, so many people committed to the journey.
We arrived at Boente and the Church of St James. This was the end of our walk. Others had got there before me and were sat on the wall having a drink and full of the spirit of the Camino. I have mentioned that before and I wonder what I mean. I will have to work it out, but it is something about achieving a goal, setting your face purposefully towards a destination, as we are told Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem. And you do all of this in community, peaceful, at one.
We headed back to Melide for lunch. We had been promised Pulpo, the local delicacy of octopus and we got it.
To be honest it looks hideous but tastes delicious, a little disconcerting to see the suckers there on the slices – but what the heck, it tastes great and will see us off on the final stage of our journey to the heavenly city of Santiago de Compostela.