Nothing pleases me more than walking in the forest. I am an Orang Utan. "A man of the forest" in Malay. My stay in Malaysia gave me a sacred respect for nature. All morning I follow a mountain river. I am surrounded by mighty oak trees. Birds are everywhere. I am all alone. Once again, the longer and harder Samos trail has proven to be the righteous path. Ain't that Biblical?
I am soon joined by a Dutch pilgrim. His name is Joop and he walked all the way from Holland. Starting a Camino in Saint Jean is pretty bad ass, doing one from home is totally insane. It took him 3 months. He carries a surprisingly large backpack, a necessity. France doesn’t have the same system of low budget albergues. Sleeping at a Gide quickly costs 25 euro, so carrying a tent and wild camping are the only ways to make ends meet. We soon hit the road to Sarria. The Camino is a simple dirt track next to a big asphalt road. Although the road is at least 7 meters wide, cyclo-pilgrims insist on driving on that same dirt track. Since having a bell is considered uncool, you only hear them scream ‘buen camino’ as they’re about to drive into you. Seriously, you have all the space in the world, do you really expect us to go out of the way? I’ve said it before, these idiots in lycra don’t belong here.
Located at 115 km from Santiago, Sarria is a popular starting place for pilgrims with little time, still able to score a Compostela paper. As the minimum distance required for hikers is only 100 km. I’ve been warned about the final stretch. The roads will be packed. Mainly with Spanish faux pilgrims, who are just walking the miles to have Compostela on their CV. Despite all the bad vibes, Sarria is surprisingly charming and calm. I must have arrived in a kind of vacuum. The large pack of pilgrims has already left town, hours before me.
The rolling Galician landscape is breathtaking. Signage is top notch. Every 300 meters, there’s a brand new concrete cube with the exact mileage, reminding me how slow walking truly is. I’m slowly running out of steam. So I promise myself to book the first albergue at the magic 100 km barrier. I’m getting that chance. Exactly at kilometre pole 100.746 sits the Albergue Casa Cruceiro. It looks kinda small, but it will do the job. Anyway, my legs refuse to go on. But after I check in, the hospitalero walks me to the other side of the road, where - tattah! - there’s a brand new, super duper designish pavilion. I’ve hit the jackpot! After taking a comfy shower, I see an old message from Morten asking about accommodation. I really gotta tell him about his place. Just as I’m busy taking pics of the facilities, I hear a voice calling my name. Guess who’s sitting behind me? Morten!
Albergue Casa Cruceiro - Ferreiros (Lugo), right at kilometre sign 100 - +34 639 020 064 - Open Mar-Nov from 11 am till 11 pm - 18 beds, 10 euro. Top notch facilities, one of the most designish hostel you’ll ever sleep. Great restaurant and cafe in the old building on the other side.
Next episode: ‘Day 25 to Palas de Rei - Rain, Mud & Anger’