Walking the Camino de Santiago: Sarría to Portomarín

Five pairs of feet around a Camino road marker in Sarría, Spain.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that this summer (2022) I finally finished walking the last 115km along the Camino de Santiago, from Sarría to Portomarín in Spain. This is the fifth leg of the Camino which I started in 2016 (if you’re interested, I wrote a Q&A post in response to some of the questions people had asked me along the way that year). In theory, was supposed to complete a leg each summer until 2020. This is Day 36 (other posts from other stages linked at the end of this post).

FINALLY! Two years late (thanks C*vid), I’ve finished walking the Camino Francés! On July 1st 2022, I set out with Neil and three good friends/ family to walk the final 115km from Sarría to Santiago – a trip that would take 6 days for a total of 41 days walking over five stages/ summers (but seven actual years thanks to the pandemic interrupting travel for 2 years).

Sarría Spain, start of the final stage of the Camino de Santiago.

Starting the final stage of the Camino de Santiago in Sarria.

Truth be told, it was a miracle we all ended up in Sarría on the same day – two of our party were coming from Portugal via bus, two of us were flying in from Toronto via Madrid and I was flying in from Toulouse via Madrid.  A missed connection in Madrid (Thanks, Air Canada and Toronto Pearson airport…) put two of us in the hotel in Sarría at 1am, not exactly optimal for a 22km first day walking.

Fortunately, breakfast was a hearty affair…

Breakfast in Sarría (toast, coffee, onrange juice, omelette).(not pictured – bacon a go-go for our late arrivals who needed food!)

And really, getting onto the “Camino rhythm” was easy…

Just… follow the waymarkers!

(and make sure you read up about any “Complémentario” options!)

Though this was a long day (22km), it was one of my favourite days on the whole Camino. Maybe it was the adrenaline of FINALLY being able to get back on track after 3 years or maybe it was the company but this was altogether a delightful day.

The sky was a bright blue and the countryside was lush and green. SO pretty!

Of course, around 6km, we stopped for some refreshments.  Newbies on the Camino had soft drinks, others went straight for the ceverza con limón (like a shandy/ radler)…

A little more walking…

According to the guidebook, there is the “earthy smell of cow dung”. There is.

A little bit later it was time for more refreshments…

(no soft drinks this round and YES for jamón flavoured chips!)

And then…

Could it be…

100km to go!

But with still a fair few kilometres to go, we pushed on… No time for celebrating!

We all had enough snacks and drinks to last us until arriving in Portomarín and were determined to just push on without another stop. Despite temptations…

But then…

We rounded a corner and saw a smartly-dressed chef chatting in the street with another person, also smartly-dressed. We peeked in and saw THAT view (^^^). Hastily consulted guide book – there was NOTHING in there about any fancy restaurant/ beautiful garden, all that was mentioned was that Mercadoiro was “a delightful hamlet with an official population of one!” Ok, it mentions that there is an Albergue here but NOT that it’s a beautiful setting with a spectacular view. With a “gastro bar”. So, I mean, we had to stop…

Fuelling for 22km is very serious business.

On a serious note (really), travelling with 4 other people on this leg was delightful because it meant we were able to order loads of different dishes and share. Not possible on your own. If you are travelling this leg, do not, I repeat, do NOT follow the example of the pilgrim in the book who is walking right by this place.

It was rough leaving this beautiful place but we only had about 5km to go at this point so we pushed on…

There was some concern right at the end…

Err, really?

Yeah ok so this was pretty steep and I don’t think I would have wanted to do this in the rain…

And just when you’re through this…

A huge long bridge (don’t look down, vertigo sufferers!) and a vertical staircase to get into the town!

Take a look…

And… we were done. In more ways than one!

 

Time for a nap, a shower, and a wander. And food…

 

We went for the traditional “Pilgrim Menu” – a set price for 3 courses and wine/ beer/ water:

(^^^ that, my friends is Santiago Cake – an almond delight. Stay tuned as I try to recreate this!)

Toasting a successful day (on 4 hours’ sleep!)

With 25km on tap for the next day, we went to bed before the sun set (easy when it’s still light out at 10.30 pm!)

Verdict: An unexpectedly delightful leg of this stage. Full of surprises and delicious treats. We lucked out with the temperature – very mild, even in the later part of the afternoon – and the scenery was gorgeous. A great start to Stage 5!

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Disclosure: I researched Camino trips independently and chose the Camino Travel Center based on a number of features such as flexibility to accommodate a couple of “splits” in some of the longer days, price, and customer service. They were, in fact, the first company I came across in my very first Google search and the one I ended up booking with. From the initial inquiry to the actual trips, they have been a pleasure to deal with and we have been very impressed with the service provided (bag transportation) and the accommodation choices. I was not compensated to write about this trip in any way but I love sharing companies and products I believe in with my readers. I couldn’t recommend the Camino Travel Center more and, in fact, we are all thinking about walking a DIFFERENT Camino in 2023!

Read more about the Camino de Santiago

Click here to read all my posts about the Camino de Santiago!

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3 thoughts on “Walking the Camino de Santiago: Sarría to Portomarín”

  1. Hi, I am from Asia. I will be walking on the Camino, could you let me know whether I could get the “Credencial” form in Madrid, Lugo or Sarria before I start my Camino journey. Which are the places issuing this form. Does hotel provide this form. This is for stamping onto the form during the Camino journey.

    Thanks.
    Cedric

    Reply

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