Day 20: Sarria, 19km

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 Yesterday, I was in a terrible mood. I was tired, mostly. And it was hot walking. But, I’m not really sure why I was having such a bad day. Of course, when you decide to go trekking for four weeks, you can expect that some days will be less than ideal. Yesterday was my first bad day on the Camino, and it wasn’t all that bad. It was mostly after lunch when Stefan and Marie left to continue on. I didn’t know anyone, and I just wanted to sleep.

 Eventually, I forced myself to wander into the common area of the alburgue to talk to the few English speakers, since we’re getting close to Santiago the number of Spainards has kicked up a lot. This helped me slowly lift the haze of irritation. I talked mostly with a guy from California, who, is the first person I’ve met doing this for partially religious reasons. I’d say 80% of the people I meet aren’t religious at all, or if they are, it has nothing to do with why they’re doing the Camino. I also met an Australian girl, we talked about the usual things, which while sometimes can get tiresome, in this case it was relieving. I got a good nights sleep, miraculously in a 20-person dorm. And the next day the fog lifted further.

 The walk was easy today. I leisurely left at 8:30, my latest departure yet, stopping for coffee and clementine cake at the half way point. I walked mostly alone, but with a few people I knew, and two new people from Chicago. The walk was through gentle rolling forest paths, past farms that were, on occasion, quite malodorous. The shaded forest paths kept me cool though the temperature continues to rise.

 By 1pm I reached Sarria. This is the starting place for many pilgrims, though in my brief wandering around town I’ve only seen familiar faces. I had a late lunch and ran errands for my trip to León tomorrow. I’m so excited for this break, to actually see León and to see the girls again, although Aoife won’t be there as she had a family emergency and had to end her Camino. Or, delay finishing it. But at least, I will see her in Dublin. I need this break, the last week since Madrid was great, and challenging, but it is hard work and my body is telling me it needs a day or two off. And when I get back? I only have four more hiking days! Straight to Santiago, in a week from today I’ll we standing at the cathedral. I haven’t really processed that it’s coming to an end. It seems like I’ve just started, but also, that St. Jean was a lifetime ago. But for now, on to León!

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