Walked today: 7.8 miles
Walked Camino 2019: 345.8 miles
We’ve mentioned backpack transporting on several occasions.
For Camino 2019, we have transported Linda’s backpack almost every day. This has actually made it easier for both of us. Linda has instead carried a daypack weighing 5-6 pounds vs her full pack of 20 lbs. This puts less stress on her knees, letting her walk longer distances more comfortably and avoids getting totally wiped out at the end of a more difficult walk. Jim offloads less critical items from his backpack and stuffs them into Linda’s transported pack, reducing his pack weight by about 5 pounds, making his walk easier. This way, if Linda’s pack doesn’t end up where it should on a given day, Jim still has all our essential items with him to sustain us while tracking down Linda’s pack.
The backpack transport system is quite simple and easy to use. Transport service envelops are found in every place pilgrims spend the night. Here’s how it works:
1-You pick the place you are staying tomorrow night.
2-You fill out a transport envelop with your contact info: name, email address and phone number and current location
and your destination information
3-For Jacotran you put 5€ in the envelope and seal it
4-You attach the envelop to your backpack.
5-You or someone in your albergue calls Jacotran before 7 pm today and tell them your name, where you are staying tonight and where you want the pack taken to tomorrow morning.
5-You leave your backpack in your hotel/albergue’s designated pickup location as you leave to walk tomorrow morning.
6- Your backpack is waiting for you when you arrive at your destination.
An increasing number of pilgrims are using the service since our first Camino in 2012. The tipoff is the number of pilgrims with day packs instead of regular backpacks.
We tested the backpack transport service for the first time in 2017, using several different carriers 9 out of 68 days along the different regions of the Camino and felt most comfortable with Jacotran. So, we have used them exclusively in 2019 and are very pleased with their service thus far.
We also had relied on our hotel reception to make arrangements for transporting a pack in 2017. Jim has now taken on that role, calling Jacotran himself, communicating in either English or Spanish, depending on the Jacotran operator.
Also, we bought Spanish mobile service sim cards for our phones when we arrived in Madrid, which lets us make all phone calls locally and directly, giving us more freedom and control to schedule Jacotran, as well as making room reservations, without relying on someone else to do it for us
We left Pintin in heavy fog this morning which stayed with us almost all the way to our destination. This kept the temperature below 60F, ideal for walking. The combination of fog and one section of forest made us especially cautious because it was almost like dark and the footing was unpredictable.
We also noticed that in this area, when the Camino crosses a road, a patterned inset in the road makes drivers more alert to potential pilgrims crossing.
We began walking along the road, still in the fog as we approached Sarria.
We stopped for breakfast just before Sarria and chatted with Yvonne, a young lady from Hamburg, Germany. She was a real estate agent and had begun her Camino in Burgos on September 1. She’s averaged around 25 km per day which will put her in Santiago in about 4 more days. We left while she was still eating and said our Buen Camino’s.
We walked into Sarria (pop. 13,590) and followed the Camino markers through a relatively unattractive part of the city.
Sarria is a major starting point for those wishing to do the minimum 100km to receive a Compostela. The infusion of new pilgrims can drastically change the character of the experience of other pilgrims (who have been on the Camino for a while) as beds become scarce and groups enter the Camino who may be less familiar with pilgrim etiquette.
Yvonne caught up with us halfway through Sarria just as we were about to take an alternate route (and shortcut) through town to avoid a very steep up and then very steep down section which we endured in 2015, but avoided when we discovered the alternate route in 2017. Yvonne opted (as she should) for the main route since this was her first Camino.
We parted once again, but as we reached the merge point of the two routes, we looked back and there was Yvonne catching up to us again.
We waited for her, and walked a short distance together, wishing each other the best and then parted company, probably, finally this time, having enjoyed each other’s company in such a delightful way. Such is the Camino.
Shortly after leaving Sarria, the dirt path took an abrupt turn over a small creek then climbed upward at a very steep grade. We were passing through a very old forest, evidenced by the very old trees lining the path. Some of the trees were very distorted but beautiful and majestic in their own way. We finally reached the top and walked a short distance into Barbadelo (pop. 342) where we stopped for a light lunch of tortillas and bread, anticipating a full meal tonight at dinner.
We reached the tiny hamlet of Rente and Casa Nova de Rente (33€) at noon and waited in the parlor until our room was ready.
Dinner was prepared by the lady of the house and her daughter. We watched her gather
the lettuce, tomatoes from her garden, then watched her prepare a delicious salad, lentil soup, beef stew, potatoes fresh bread, local red wine and cheesecake for dessert. Our dinner companions, Ted and Diedra from Connecticut were walking to Santiago from Ponferrada to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
We ate in the kitchen rather than the dining room which seemed to really please the chef, who spoke zero English.
Totally stuffed, we climbed the stairs and called it a night.