- Distance Today 4.9 mi
- Distance Camino 2017 438.3 mi
In just three days the atmosphere of the Camino has dramatically changed, and in our opinion, not for the better. We especially noticed it this morning when we walked out of Portomarin at 8:45.
Literally hoards of people of all ages, neatly dressed in new, unblemished shoes, brand new, unstained small daypacks and particularly, women adorned with designer blouses and slacks, earrings, heavy makeup and not a wrinkled garment in sight.
We counted over 50 “pilgrims” in front of us walking down the hill from Portomarin and an endless stream behind them unloading from tour busses. For the first 400 miles of the Camino we might have walked for two days without seeing 50 pilgrims.
As we began the steep climb out of Portomarin passing a few older folks but having most pilgrims pass us, we didn’t hear one unsolicited “buen Camino” from a passing pilgrim. Our “buen Camino’s” were mostly not responded to in wonderment while others looked blankly at us or just smiled.
At one point along the way on a narrow section of path, a group of four well dressed middle aged Spanish adult “pilgrims” stopped and began chatting as one member of the group placed their pack in the path and decided to remove a jacket. They completely blocked the path until a couple “holas” from this particular pilgrim caused them to slowly make way for us and other pilgrims to pass, the four seemingly unaware that they were not the only people on the Camino this morning.
We’re sure that many of these pilgrims are here for a meaningful experience either spiritual, religious, educational or otherwise. It’s obviously not appropriate to judge other people’s motives or actions, especially with little or no facts about their life or situation. It is, nonetheless, troubling to see such a change in atmosphere for what has been a truly sobering, meditative, energizing, tranquil and otherwise wonderful experience. Maybe these last few miles to Santiago will be the ultimate challenge to not allow the external environment to diminish the personally satisfying and enriching life experience that is the Camino Frances.
We are staying in Gonzar (pop.43) at Casa García (35€) with nice accommodations, tasty food and a good environment for a restful afternoon and evening.