So the final five walking days and the sprint for the line started today. I was really glad to be on the road again after Sarria, but the day came as quite a shock.
There are now so many people on the trail that to some extent it dampened my enjoyment of the day. So many people and groups start from Sarria to walk the final, much easier 100km that it becomes crowded. At one point the Camino went round three sides of an open field – I counted 45 people within 50 metres of me before I gave up. There are many more Germans, Irish church groups, bus loads of shallow Americans, more Italians (one group started singing loudly, and badly, at full voice just as I was passing through them), the college group from Wabash College, Indiana (“you haven’t heard of it?”), European school groups. Ninety per cent are supported by tour companies that take all the effort out, and many people don’t carry a thing.
I have seen a group deposited at the top of a hill so they only had to walk downhill. Denis saw Koreans dropped a few hundred metres from the next albuerge so they could experience the walk to their next cafe stop. The support bus of an Australian company, Peregrine, was everywhere in case their clients needed water, needed to take off a layer in the heat and not carry it, or was setting up the provided lunch spread.
And all will claim the Credencial. The peregrinos called them touristos. The traditions and meaning of the Camino were absent. Gone, on this day, were the friendly “Bueno Camino” or “Hola” as someone passed you, and hardly a response when passing them.
It was hard not to be so judgemental on this day. Everyone does their own Camino and for their own reasons. In the end the observations above, become somewhat a criticism of yourself. It is another journey through the tourist end of the Camino.
I plodded along till I reached the next town and overnight stop, Portomarin.
This day took me over the 700km mark, and it was now less than 100km to Santiago.