The reason this blog is late is because today was a huge day.
36 kms and 12 hours walking.
I left Samos this morning at 6:30am, and I arrived at Portomarin at 7:30pm. I got lost, and added another 3 kms to the trip. I had lunch of 30 mins, and a break of 15 minutes. Otherwise, the day was walking, and taking photos.
I started off slow. I did the first 12kms from Samos to Sarria in 5 hrs. That's about 2.5 kms / hr.
Here's the thing though – today I took 276 photos. Now, as you can probably gather, I take my photography seriously. (You wouldn't think so most of the time, looking at what I post, but I do.)
So when I see something that I think could make a shot I stop, consider it visually, get my camera out, start it up, (which doesn't always happen instantaneously), select the focal length, the aperture and the ISO, I then frame and focus, check my exposures, re-frame and refocus, and finally I take the shot.
Then I do the same thing from a slightly different angle. And then I do the same thing closer. Or wider. I figure if something is worth stopping for and photographing, then I may as well do it properly.
I walk slowly so I don't miss anything. I'm constantly on the lookout for shots.
I estimate that it takes me between 30 seconds to 90 seconds to take just one shot. I don't just shoot from the hip. I consider everything carefully. And I look and try to see. Then at the end of the day I look at what I've shot and wonder why the hell I wasted so much time on such a bunch of ordinary images!
(I've taken about 4,000 shots so far and of those, there's only about 6 or 7 that I really like.)
Anyway, my point is this – I walked today for 12 hours. But of those 12 hours, I spent a hell of a lot of time taking photos. Let's say I averaged 1 minute per shot, which for me is about right. That's 276 minutes. That's over 4 hours.
I could have walked the journey today in 8 hours, which would have put my speed at about 4 kms/hr. Instead I stuffed around taking pictures.
But what my photography enables me to do is really see the Camino. I see stuff that most people miss. They walk right past some amazing things, because that's not their purpose. Their purpose is to walk.
My purpose is to dick around with my camera.
Lets talk about today. Or rather, let's start with last night.
I went to Vespers in the Samos Monastery chapel. (I'd always thought Vespers were little Italian motorbikes.) There are no pictures because photography was not allowed, however the chapel was inside the monastery – a simple but beautifully elegant chapel – and there were a dozen monks that sang Gregorian chants. Some were very old, stooped, and tiny. With their robes, they reminded me of little Obi Wan Kanobis.
It was beautiful though – and worth doing, even though I'm not CathoIic and I had to stand for about 40 minutes and my knee was aching like hell.
I then left early this morning – 6:30am – and grabbed a coffee and some “mother's” cake before I left Samos.
Again the track leading out of Samos followed the stream. There was a gorgeous stone angel by the track at one point, and on several way markers people had left photos of loved ones – presumably those that had passed.
As I said, I got into Sarria at 11:30am, and stopped at a Supermercado to pick up my lunch:
- 1 x Coca Cola (they didn't have Coke Zero)
- 1 x packet of potato chips, crinkle cut.
- 1 x packet of sugar coated lollies (they looked too good not to buy them)
- 1 x block of milk chocolate.
Yep, that was my lunch today.
I ate it on a moss covered rock about 2kms outside of Sarria. Later in the day, at about 4pm, I had a proper lunch – Galician soup, fried eggs and bacon, and French fries. Much healthier…
Later, I stopped and had my photo taken at the marker for 100 kms to Santiago.
And still I kept walking. It was a long day, made longer by my getting lost just before the end of the journey and adding about another 3 kms to the day.
(I'd just taken a shot and got distracted and missed a crucial marker. Stupid me and my stupid photography.)
Anyway, the title of this post is that everything is different in Galicia. This is why I'm going so slow. Because the images are so enticing. Different light, different textures, different weather.
Rain and wind – and if it's not actually raining, then it's drizzling. And the food is different. The Galician soup is sumptuous, and of course there's the Pulpo. Octopus.
The buildings are all stone, and there's such a strong Celtic influence to everything.
I am now 90 kms from Santiago. I can't believe it. After these past two big days, I'm now going to take it a bit easier.
And I'll try not to take as many damned photos!