Camino de Santiago | Day 27

Padornelo – Sarria

16.43 | 421.59 miles

+1,327 | -4,089 feet

We began the day with a six-mile descent. The path was in good shape and the slope reasonable, so it was a nice way to start the day.

The trails were great all day. It was so nice to be back on the wooded trails and back roads.

There was very little traffic, and it was a very peaceful walk. Because I am “off stage,” I was by myself most of the day. I think this may be my last day of quiet walks.

Sarria is a popular starting point for the Camino. It is just over 100 kilometers to Santiago, which is the minimum distance necessary to get a compostella (pilgrim’s certificate). I should be behind the crowds a bit tomorrow because I’m 5 kilometers outside Sarria, but I’ll be “on stage” the last five days into Santiago.

800 year old Chestnut tree

On the west side of the high mountains, Galicia is very green but also more wind-swept.

We didn’t have sweeping views after the initial descent this morning, but it’s all still very beautiful to look at. In some places, you can see the trees are changing color.

I accidentally booked myself into a fancy place for the night. It’s a lovely house with five rooms. Because it is 5 kilometers outside Sarria, there is nothing around. They don’t serve meals, but the owner drove me into town to the grocery store so I could buy food for lunch and dinner. Then she cleared out a shelf in her refrigerator so I could store my food. She also let me use the washer, so all my clothes actually smell clean! There is a lovely terrace overlooking the countryside, which is where I’ll be spending this evening.

This morning I was thinking more about walking in the valley yesterday. I thought of Psalm 23: “Though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death.” The valley was damp and cold. It also took a while for the light to reach us because the sun needed to clear the mountains and the trees. But maybe part of what makes it feel like the shadow of death is because it’s isolating to walk in the valley. It’s easy to feel alone. And as you look up and see the bright sky, it can feel as though everyone else is in the sun.

As I mentioned on Day 11, when I walk in the dark in the morning, I often feel alone. But if I look back, I can probably see someone’s headlamp. And as it gets lighter, I will see someone ahead of me on the Way. I think the same is true in the valley. Even though we may feel alone, there are others walking in the valley. And even if we can’t see them, we know that God is with us. Just like every mountain top has a descent, every valley eventually opens up to the sun.

Last night’s sunset

Buen Camino

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