Camino de Santiago – Day One

And, so we were ready to start our first day of walking, which took us from Sarria to Portomarin.

The first part of the walk was fairly open, but did allow for extensive views over the countryside.

One of the old towns which we walked through, which always brought back the spirit of the camino to me as pilgrims would have taken this route for many centuries.

Our lunch stop, which is perhaps most notable for Bev and Sarah becoming a little overwrought at the sight of something and Bev being told off for queue-jumping for the toilet. She tried to explain to the Spanish lady that she wasn’t queue-jumping, she was just looking through the toilet window at Gordon, but I suspect something was lost in translation.

Our first sight of the Miño, which is the longest river in Galicia.

A map just before we got into Portomarin, which initially seemed confusing with all the different options and the former pilgrim route shown across the river. Much more made sense when we realised that Portomarin is a new town, built higher up the bank of the river after they flooded the old one to build a dam.

Incidentally, it warned of a very difficult section, so I took a little detour, although it appears that they exaggerated the “very difficult” nature of the message.

This is some of the former Roman bridge which was flooded in the 1960s for the new dam. I initially thought that this was all that remained of the bridge, but this is actually a separate bridge and its footings. The medieval bridge is still there, just by the new bridge, but it’s only rarely visible when there is a very low tide. It’s in excellent condition and can be walked across for anyone fortunate to be there at the right time, but this must be one hell of an obstacle to navigation for boats.

Looking across to Portomarin, with the old bridge being just to the right of it, although it’s underwater…

Looking back over the river.

Steve after smashing a wine glass when the excitement was all too much for him. This was a pleasant little cafe in Portomarin, although the bottle of wine I bought seemed to disappear and it look quite a while to find a staff member to remind them to bring it.

The free crisps kept flowing at the bar, so we kept drinking, which was all rather lovely. The crisps came from what looked like a huge sack rather than from delicate little packets, but they tasted satisfactory and went well with the beer.

And sampling the Pilgrim’s beer. Which was unexceptional shall we say. The wine was better.

The town centre of Portomarin. I had hoped that they would have these signs all along the Camino, since there was a similar one in Sarria. But they didn’t…..

Iglesia de San Pedro de Portomarín.

This is Igrexa de San Xoán de Portomarín, a fourteenth century fortress church which was established by the Order of Saint John, who upheld the values of Christianity for many centuries in Malta. The order helped to protect pilgrims on their journey and the building, like the other historic ones in the town, was moved stone by stone in the 1960s because of the dam.