Friday, December 28, 2012

Day 53: The Beginning of the End

Dscn4022bOctober 3: By morning, the rain had stopped, but a drizzly kind of mist hung in the air. I pulled out my umbrella, ready at a moment’s notice—I was absolutely certain I would need it so kept it readily available.

Out of Triacastela, I had a choice between two paths. In this case, the alternative, recommended option was quite a few kilometers shorter than the long road route. I can’t imagine why a longer road walk would even be an option. Most pilgrims just took whatever path was the shortest, even if it meant giving up the more scenic and secluded options. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would have selected the longer and less scenic route. Actually, it might have made sense for those on bicycles since it was less hilly and probably better paved. But for anyone on foot, I couldn’t think of one good reason for the longer road walk.

On my way out of town, I met a couple of Spaniards walking the trail who said that they were actually from Santiago, walking home. I’d met a few people along the route who lived in towns along the trail, but these were the first who said that they actually lived in Santiago. The one was severely overweight and clearly struggling, but I was happy to see him on the trail. Inspired to walk to his town. It might not be easy for him, but it was bound to be good for his health—especially if it inspired him to exercise more in the future.

Headed out of town, I saw a couple of pilgrims a few hundred yards away on a dirt road leading in, what I felt, was the wrong direction. But maybe it was ME walking in the wrong direction? I usually have a good sense of direction when tend to realize quite quickly if I’ve taken a wrong turn, and I had absolute confidence I was on the correct path… unless I saw those two other pilgrims in the distance. Then I started second guessing myself. Maybe I had missed a critical turn?

I backtracked about five minutes to the last major intersection of dirt roads. I was still inclined to think I was on the correct path, but better safe than sorry! And the yellow arrows definitely confirmed I was headed in the correct direction. Which means the pilgrims I saw were walking in the wrong direction, or that they weren’t really pilgrims at all. They sure looked like pilgrims, though.

The rest of the day was non-eventful. The expected rain never materialized, so the umbrella stayed closed. But the misty fog definitely made me a little wet as if I had walked through a slight drizzle.

Dscn4037bI checked into a hotel in Sarria. The desk clerk tried to wave me into an elevator to take me to my room. I wasn’t going to fall for that trick again, though—I hadn’t used an elevator since that desk clerk in Saint Jean tricked me into one—so I shook my head and told the lady that I couldn’t get in the elevator. I couldn’t really explain why I didn’t want to use the elevator with my Spanish very well, so I just told her that “I didn’t like them.” She probably assumed that I was claustrophic or something. Is there a word for a “fear of elevators”? I’m sure there is, but I don’t know it. Nor do I suffer from such an affliction. I just wanted to stay off all forms of modern transportation on my hike—including elevators. =)

But I wave her on. “Second floor?” I asked. (Which would be the third floor in the United States.) She nodded yes, and I said I’d walk up the stair and meet her there. I actually jogged up the stairs and arrived at the elevator just as the doors opened and she exited. I think she was a little surprised to see me already there. =)

The room was absolutely adorable—I kind of expected a dump for how much I paid for it—but it was actually a pretty nice room.

I took a brief stroll through the city to see all of the major sites along the route. More pilgrims start their hike in Sarria than any other town along the trail—about 21% of all pilgrims reaching Santiago. The reason for this being such a popular starting point is because it’s the last significant town with train and bus service on the trail where you can still get credit for “walking” the trail when you arrive in Santiago, just over 100 kilometers away. It kind of strikes as incredulous that anyone would even want credit for hiking such a short distance. I could do 100 kilometers pretty easily in a three-day weekend, and those who start here have missed so much of what makes the trail worth hiking. They barely even have time to form blisters on their feet before they reach Santiago.

But I didn’t really feel as bitter as I might sound about things. It’s their own loss, not mine. If I were running the church in Santiago, though, I’d definitely require people to walk from at least as far as Leon to get credit. They should be waking for at least a week for their hike to count!

At the same time, it marked another important milestone for me. This really was the beginning of the end. I was just a few days away from Santiago now. So close, that everyone who wanted to hike to Santiago was now on the trail with me. I picked up dinner at a grocery store across the street from my hotel, walked back to my room, and made myself comfortable for the night. =)

The road looked like it was rained on, but if it did rain there,
it was before I arrived. The misty fog kept everything
quite damp, however.


The streets of Sarria.

My hotel room for the night. =)

A door handle in town.

A mural outside of a library. I’m pretty sure this
represents the big, bad wolf chasing after the
three little pigs. =)


Unknown said...

"I believe that this phobia is currently unnamed by the scientific community. It either falls under "acrophobia" or "fear of heights" or under claustrophobia or "fear of small, inclosed spaces".
I would suggest something along the lines of sursumdeorsumphobia, which means litterally, in latin, "fear of up and down" it seems to fit. Sursum is up and deorsum is down, and it makes sense."
so how about
fear of small, high places that go up and down.

Kristin aka Trekkie Gal said...

There are phobia words for things such as a fear of beautiful women (Venustraphobia), the fear of losing cell phone service (nomophobia) and the fear of ferns (pteridophobia), but there is no word for something as common as the fear of elevators??? That just seems...wrong!