Fiesta in Sarria

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Last year everything slowly went horribly wrong after Sarria.

A lot of Spanish “pilgrims” start out from Sarria on their way to Santiago and for one purpose only; to receive their compostela (certificate of achievement) and in the hope that it will help them with their employment prospects. As a result you can see a lot of “pilgrims” on the last 100km stretch dressed as if they had just left a 5 star hotel breakfast buffet, and many without a rucksack on their backs. I’m not judging because everyone has their own way on the Camino, but the last 100km demonstrates the power of comparison with regards to the preceding 700km. This was one reason why my walk went horribly wrong and I found myself, like others, trying to grasp the magic and spirit of the Camino that I had nurtured since Saint Jean and which was suddenly being tested so heavily.

Another reason for the turn for the worse was that I invited a friend from Prague to join me from Sarria, who had been having a hard time because of a messy divorce, and who proceeded to sleep with another pilgrim friend whom I was walking with and who himself was married. It was a slap in the face for me and a slap in the face of my Camino.

Finally, the disaster of having my rucksack stolen approx 50km from Santiago and within a few minutes losing everything I had carried with me; passport, computer, etc.

So, this time I plan to focus all of my positive energy on making the last 100km a positive experience; well, at least more positive than last year 🙂

Yesterday the fiesta in Sarria was noisy. Real noisy. So noisy that the only place good to play my guitar was up at the semi-deserted church. I had began playing down at the river and where there was a Medieval festival but the occasional bursts from the mobile brass band dented any prospects I had of making any money, or being heard. Nice place though to sit and practice for a while:


So, I decided to climb the Sarria Camino steps:


And began to play.
As soon as I began a church procession meandered down the street, accompanied by more brass music:


I did manage to play for about an hour and earned 11 Euro, so I bought a glass of wine and enjoyed a simple but refreshing tapas:


Late afternoon I walked out of Sarria and found a wonderful church step where I slept deeply and without any interruptions.

99km to go until Santiago:


This morning I got chatting to an American woman whom I have met along the way and she explained that the Camino can be viewed as a reflection of life; you begin at Saint Jean as a child and as you gradually reach Santiago you near death. She explained that the closer you are to Santiago, the slower you become. You don’t want the Camino to end. You want to prolong the experience. Then of course the walk from Santiago to Finisterre is rebirth.

Btw, one advantage of the crowds on the last 100km are the amount of donativo cafes:


So today I continue along the path and getting ever closer to Santiago and then to the walk of my rebirth to Finisterre.

Neville David Thomas

Categories: Walking into Spring and Summer [My 3,109km walk from Prague to Finisterre]Tags: ,

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