Near the end of the day, we pass Sarria, which is just over 100 km to Santiago. It’s the final starting point for pilgrims who want to get their pilgrimage certified by the church in Santiago, so the road becomes significantly more crowded from here on out. We allow ourselves a few unkind thoughts about these new pilgrims, and congratulate ourselves for having come so much further than they did. But our attitudes quickly change to acceptance in the view of far more vehement expressions of unwelcome. I guess sometimes the Camino makes you MORE of a judgmental jerk and less open minded.
There’s more graffiti on this stretch of the Camino than I’ve seen before, most of its the same hippy-dippy wannabe spiritual stuff we’ve seen before, but it’s peppered with surprising hostility to the new arrivals. “Hey tourigino! Jesus didn’t start in Sarria!” One graffiti’d way marker declares, with an agreement written right below “Absolutely true!!” and another seeming agreement “Yeah. Fuck pimpins.” Never mind the fact that, Jesus reportedly died about 1000 years before people started walking this way to honor one of his disciples. One day from Santiago, I’m proud of what Dorcinda and I have done, but I know that many people have walked further, or, through no fault of their own, could only walk a much shorter road.
Before dinner, we try to make an effort to be more social with the other pilgrims in our hostel, which include an older man we met in O Cebreiro and a woman from Toronto who is limping badly. We’re mindful of becoming a little more insular and cliqu-ish than we were at the start of the road, since we’ve been walking so long with Brenda, and seem to have little in common with most of the pilgrims who have just started out. There’s also a younger German man and a man who speaks only French, and the German attempts to translate for him. We talk about where we started, and Brenda is encouraged to hear that many of the other pilgrims have come, like us, from St. Jean, or other places beyond O Cebreiro.
At dinner, Dorcinda and I fight and I go to bed angry. It’s the dumbest thing really, but it casts a pall over the whole end of the trip. I once again take a chance on some food I don’t know, dessert this time, and get some kind of bland pudding. Dorcinda asks to taste it, and when she does, she bursts out laughing, drawing everyone’s attention. It’s so terrible she says. I say its not that bad, and I mean it – I am happy to take a chance on something new, without judging good or bad right away. Just to experience. That’s part of the whole trip for me. But she offers to give me some of her dessert, saying I can’t possibly keep eating what I ordered. I hate that everyone’s looking at me, that I’m being made an object of ridicule and pity, so I snap at her. Stop talking to me. It’s awkward and does little to relieve the tension of unwanted attention.