Thursday, June 5, 2008
Day 11, Sarria to Portomarin
The ascent into Portmarin was not nearly as rigorous as the description I had given my fellow peregrinos based on the available information from google.com. Our trek over the Rio Mino (or the Belesar Dam) was immediately followed by a moderately brutal staircase; then we were in paradise.
We spent an unecessarily long time choosing a restaurant (because there was only one kitchen in all of Portomarin, as we would soon discover) at which we enjoyed a mediocre multi-course mid day meal (or menu del dia).
In a stroke of luck, Professor Gyug and I wandered into a bar with a particularly informative bartender, a Portomarin native. He showered us with books discussing the history of Portomarin. It was there that we discovered Portomarin was home to a factory that makes the best and most important of the much beloved Tarta de Santiago. I suddenly felt rejuvenated and excited about my presentation of Portomarin.
For our tour of the town, we met outside the Church of San Juan, which is basic Romanesque style and designed to function as both a church and a fortress. We explored the church, soaking up all of its architectural features differentiating it from the other churches we have seen along the camino.
Afterwards, I invited all of the willing peregrinos on an adventure to the Tarta factory. The majority of the group was enthralled and gleefully followed my lead. We walked into the ¨factory¨ (which appeared to consist of a woman with a cutting board) to whom I declared ¨tenemos que mirar around¨ (with the necessary hand motions). She didn´t respond. We then filed out in a cloud of shame and disappointment.
Despite the mishap, we had a wonderful day in Portmarin. According to Kevin, the weather was comparable to that in California at this time of year. We basked in the sunlight outside of our albergue, entertaining the possibility of swimming in la piscina or kayaking in the Reservoir. Instead, we ate more and went to sleep.