Outside, the town was bustling early. There were several tour buses with engines idling for their tourists to finish final packing, get pictures taken, and board up. We thought we were getting an early start, but there were several pilgrims already underway. We moved out to the main road and started heading downhill along the side until we got to the town of Linares. While on the road, we ran into Joseph who had stayed the night in La Faba. It was good to see him, and he walked with me for the rest of the day. Greg got out ahead of us after Alto San Roque where we saw an enormous statue of The Pilgrim.
Now, we had read about it in the guide book, and heard about it along the way, that the Camino became much more crowded from this point on and especially from Sarria on in. This was becoming quickly apparent. At the statue, everyone wanted to have their picture taken there, and it took forever to find a moment when no one else was in the picture. This was a little annoying, and it reminded me of the situation at the Cruz de Ferro several days earlier. I did the best I could. Joe and I set out down the hill to Hospital de la Condesa and followed the main road for a while until it veered off to the right onto a trail through the woods and fields.
At a road that head down to the north, we notice two female pilgrims ahead of us that had missed the trail to the left. We shouted at them, and they turned around and came back. They were Italians and were very thankful that we had stopped them from getting too far afield.
From here there was a steep climb up to the Alto do Poio. At the top is an alberque where a lot of pilgrims and tourists were gathered outside. One of them was Greg, who was at a table drinking a coke and fixing a blister. Joe and I decided to keep on moving and told Greg we would see him later. Joe shared a bit about his life. He was a retired IT guy from Staten Island, who worked on Wall Street in a very high-stress job. He and his wife had two grown girls who were living in various parts of the world. One daughter lived in Paris, and the other lived in Colorado, I believe. He decided to take this trip by himself, because he wanted to find out who he really was. Along the way, he found out how much he missed his wife and loved her. His daughters were going to join him in Sarria and walk the rest of the way with him. He was very much looking forward to this.
We stopped in Fonfria at a small bar/café and bought some food to eat at a table outside. About ten minutes later, Greg came by and joined us. He got a big bocadilla from inside. Joe had some food in his pack which he supplemented with a turkey sandwich that he bought in the bar. Greg wanted to stay for a while, but Joe and I decided to leave and move on. The walk from here was delightful and Joe and I had a great conversation along the way. Eventually, we got to some huge Chestnut trees that must have been there for hundreds of years.
We took some pictures there and kept on until we got to Triacastela. We stopped at the first bar in town and Joe bought drinks for us. I sat nursing my beer and Joe left to find an alberque to stay at. We said goodbye and realized that since he was staying an extra night in Sarria with his daughters, that we would most likely not see each other again. Such is the way of the Camino.
I sat at the table outside the bar for about ten more minutes and Greg finally came by. He ordered a Coke Light and soon we were heading down the street to the far end of town and found the Casa David. The owner was a jovial sort who led us around back to our room that was on the lower level and had an entrance via a large patio that also adjoined a back yard that had a beautiful view of the surrounding hills. He told us that if we got our laundry together and gave it to the maid, she would wash it in the hotel washer and give it back to us so we could hang it out to dry in the backyard. It was only about 3 pm and we still had a lot of sunshine left in the day, so we thought this was a great idea. We got settled in the room and assembled our laundry. After showers, I got the laundry out to the housemaid and gave her 5 Euros. She took care of the rest. About a half hour later, she knocked on the door while Greg was asleep, and I went outside to find our laundry in a neat little pile in a plastic bucket. Moving around the side of the patio, I found a basket of plastic clothespins and hung up all our stuff on the more than ten clotheslines available in the yard.
Five minutes later, a fellow woman pilgrim showed up and hung up her clothes also. She and her companion were from Canada and had just joined the Camino the day before in O’Cebreiro. She picked my brain about all sorts of things for the next 30 minutes. I was happy to share our experiences. This was a common courtesy that we all gave to each other along the way.
I tried to nap also, but was unable to do so. By seven, we were on our way to the middle of town to get some dinner. We saw the Canadian women at an outside table and said hello. Inside the restaurant we saw the fellow from Switzerland that we had met in Rabanal. He was already finished with his meal and was soon out of the restaurant. He was staying at our hotel, as it turned out. There really isn’t much to do in Triacastela, except to sit in a bar and drink, so we just went back to the room and soon were asleep.