Overnight the drought broke, so to speak. A hurricane which had affected Mexico earlier in the week had become a low off the coast of Spain and dumped a lot of rain right over us. From about 1:00 am onwards it rained heavily and it was still raining in the morning when we woke up. Garry told us that this was the first rain in the area since early June when it last stopped raining. Some decisions had to be made and Pablo and Deb offered to take anyone not interested in walking to the local provincial capital for shopping and sightseeing. Of the twenty-three intrepid walkers only eight including Maree and myself opted to do the scheduled walk (Maree with some trepidation after having some foot trouble overnight). We were taken by bus to Sarria where we started trekking in the rain which got heavier and heavier as the morning progressed. The track was running with water and there were huge puddles some of which even Alan Marshall would have had trouble jumping. All the pilgrims were wearing rain gear, some better than others, and Maree showed her union solidarity by wearing her red AEU cape to cover her backpack. One group must have all bought their rain capes at the same shop because they were all a deep blue and the walkers looked like a group of monks or perhaps a group of Muslim ladies wearing burkhas.
Despite the rain the trail was very picturesque through rolling countryside along lanes lined with apple trees, blackberries and a variety of different farms, many of which had their own particular odours. We stopped for coffee after about 4km and then moved on steadily towards our lunch stop another 9km further. Maree and I were the slow ones this time but we plugged along and enjoyed the scenery even though we could feel water pooling in our walking shoes. From Leon the trail is marked every half a kilometre, we had started at kilometre 110 and were heading for kilometre 89 at Portomarin. Garry took a photo of us at the 100km marker and lunch was at Casa Cruciero a bar/restaurant at about kilometre 98 in the hamlet of Ferreiros. Lunch consisted of a very welcome lentil and vegetable soup followed by a salad, tortilla and chips with a cheese flan to finish. It was all surprisingly good given the remoteness of the hamlet which probably only survives these days because of the Camino.
By the time we had finished lunch the rain had stopped but the sky was still very overcast and we set off with jackets undone. The track was no longer running with water but there were still some large puddles to negotiate. As we approached Portomarin we could see some darker clouds heading our way and one kilometre or so from the town the sky opened again. My shorts had almost dried out and now they were getting soaked again. Portomarin is a town which has been relocated due to a dam and reservoir. The reservoir is used during the summer to make hydroelectricity and by the end of summer is virtually empty. There is a high-level bridge crossing from one side of the valley to the other and at this time of the year one can also see an original medieval bridge which becomes exposed when the water level falls. After about 5 hours and 22km of actual walking we arrived at the hotel and quickly hopped into the shower. We also found a novel use for the bidet - it was a great place to wash the grime off our boots. Then it was time to hit the bar for a nice hot cup of tea followed by a relax until dinner time at 8:30. The rain continued off and on, more on than off, for the rest of the day. The group who went into town said that they suffered a deluge at one point and all had to hide ion the shops, poor them, although they did get some opportunity to investigate the old Roman wall and old part of the city.
Dinner was in the hotel and was not a patch on yesterday's feast but it was finished off by Pablo, the bus driver, making a traditional Galician celebratory drink. It is made with grappa, oranges, lemons, coffee beans and sugar, The whole lot is lit up and gently stirred while a lot of the alcohol burns off and the mixture warms up. Eventually we were able to drink the warmed liquid which still packed a fair punch. It didn't taste too bad but you wouldn't want to drink a lot of it or you would not be standing upright for long.