Walking Day 6: Padrón to Santiago

IMG_8111Continued from Caldas de Reis to Padrón

Stage: Padrón to Santiago
27 km

For all the modern amenities the Albergue Corredoiras in Padrón has, it lacks in the coffee maker department. Groggy pilgrims were taking turns using a small Italian-style stove-top coffee maker.

Colorful decor and art

Cute kitchen, but they need more coffee makers

In the adorable-but-not-functional Ikea-like kitchen, I looked in every cupboard for a French press, hot water kettle, or even an American-style drip coffee maker, to no avail. I finally got my turn, made a stove-top pot of coffee, and shared it with the Aussies and they shared their milk with me. This coffee was enough to get me out the door. I knew I could get another caffeine fix later.

On my walk through Padrón there were detour signs. I did not think this would add much to the overall kilometers that day, but it ended up being the longest walk yet! Brierley’s guide showed 24.9 km for this stage, but my AllTrails app showed 27.4 km.

Detour Signs leaving Padron

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Walking the Camino del Norte and getting a tattoo

Happy Friday! Here’s a fun blog from an Australian who just finished the Camino del Norte.  Her latest post shows the excitement of arriving in Santiago, which brought back many memories. This photo caught my eye because I saw the same tattoo shop and walked in to inquire about getting a Camino shell tattoo.  Continue reading

Walking Day 5: Caldas de Reis to Padrón

CCaldastoPadronontinued from Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis

Stage: Caldas de Reis to Padrón
19 km

After my fifth night in a municipal albergue, I was getting used to the routine of putting my earplugs in to sleep through the “snorchestra.” Municipal albergues are the cheapest accommodations on the Camino: I paid just five euros for the first three nights in Portuguese albergues, and six euros the last two nights after crossing over to Spain. That is just thirty dollars at our current 1.12 Euro-Dollar exchange rate (the best exchange rate I have ever seen!). There is a range of comfort to match every budget on the Camino. I chose to stay in municipal albergues for two reasons: (1) to meet other pilgrims on my short Camino, and (2) because that is one of the requirements of being a hospitalero (volunteer) on the Camino.*

I couldn’t help but wonder what pilgrim life was like on the other side, like staying in a private room with ensuite bathroom and real sheets. Sure I could tolerate the sleeping above a different snoring man each night, but I was getting tired of the odd bathroom situations. The albergue in Caldas had an awkward setup and was lacking in good shower and sink facilities. Everything was shoddy and wobbly. I was thinking about how this would have driven my husband crazy. He grew up working in his Italian grandfather’s hardware store and learned many skills from the tradesmen. He even fixed a toilet in an old hotel room we stayed at in New Orleans!

Albergues are all different, and some are a little on the grungy side. For the low price, you get what you pay for. Nonetheless, Caldas de Reis was a beautiful small village that I would like to return to someday and stay in the hotel with the private thermal baths. Below is a 360° video I shot on the old Roman bridge by the albergue and fountain.

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The Walk of a Lifetime

I’m sharing a great article about the joy of walking the Camino, from the perspective of a former Navy SEAL (United States Navy’s SEa, Air and Land Teams.) As Bob Brooks says,  “The walk itself kicked my ass. I thought I was in good shape but it was kind of an ego crusher. It was a real humbling experience.”  Yep. This is why I highly recommend training for the Camino as much as you can.  Like the Nave SEALs motto,  ‎The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday, the Camino can be challenging, but Bob shares how rewarding it can be and how the Camino provides.

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Bunk Bed Yoga Stretches for the End of Your Pilgrimage Day

I saw this on one of the Camino Facebook groups and thought it was too good not to share.  Elle Bieling, RN, RYT, Holistic Health Coach, shows how you can prevent injury on the Camino by doing basic stretches in bed.

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Camino Times Two

Happy Friday! I’ve enjoyed this blog for the last few months now, so it’s about time that Camino Times Two is featured on my Favorite Camino Blogs page. Beth Jusino’s latest post caught my eye with the play on shadows.

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Walking Day 4: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis

Continued from Pontevedra: A Peregrina Paradise

Stage: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
22 km

After our wild night out with peregrinas at the Parador, Karin and I were both slow to get moving. The lobby of the albergue has an awesome map of the Camino Portugués on the wall, so we took a few photos.

We started walking through town and at one point Karin said to me, “You walk faster than me. Go ahead.” Instead of taking this personally, I thought to myself, she’s right, I do walk fast. We got along great, but we didn’t walk at the same pace, and I like to stop and take photos whenever I have the whim. And that’s okay on the Camino – everyone should walk at their own pace. So, I responded, “Okay, I’ll probably see you again along the way.” Sure enough, we saw each other a few times throughout the day, and a few days later in Santiago. Continue reading

Camino and Hiking Events in August

Here’s a roundup of Camino related and hiking events in the SF Bay Area for the month of August.  For those who live elsewhere there are Camino hotspots all over the USA and the APOC website has a listing of local chapters where you can find Camino events. There are also many active Facebook groups to learn about events in your region.

Below are three special events organized by local chapters of American Pilgrims on the Camino, followed by trekking poles workshops.

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Pontevedra: A Peregrina Paradise

Continued from Walking Day 3: Redondela to Pontevedra

A Parador, pulpo, sidra, tapas, and a Camino-themed chapel. What more could a peregrina want?

I was glad I had decided to walk all the way to Pontevedra that day. When I checked into the albergue, I was surprised to see two of the five Italians I met on the first night in Ponte de Lima. They were early risers and must have walked more than 35 km a day to get this far. Speeding through the Camino is not my thing; I feel that walking 18 to 22 km a day is a distance I am comfortable with. I had just finished walking 22.5 km when I arrived at the Virgen Peregrina albergue in Pontevedra so I was ready to rest my body.

This albergue has two large dorm rooms with fifty-six bunk beds. When the hospitalero asked if I preferred a top or bottom bed, I said bottom please. “As everyone does,” he replied and walked me to a bed that was super close to other beds. In fact, a guy was sitting on my assigned bed and looking through his backpack. I dreaded the thought of sleeping in those tight quarters. I know that I would feel claustrophobic. Continue reading

Walking Day 3: Redondela to Pontevedra

IMG_8072Continued from Walking Day 2: Rubiaes to Valença

Stage: Redondela to Pontevedra (O Porriño stage skipped)
22.5 km

I woke up in the Valença albergue to find the other pilgrims looking a bit panicked and flipping through their guidebooks. The skies were gray, and a big storm was in the forecast. Alas, it’s not all sunshine and flowers on the Camino.

Galicia Tourist Train

RENFE to the rescue!

I saw the same German guy I’d slept above in Rubiaes, Mike, and asked him what the concern was. He had walked this route before, and he told me about some detours around O Porriño; some people were talking of skipping that stage altogether.

Warning about stage rerouting

Warning about Camino rerouting

I was bummed about the rain and didn’t feel like walking through Tui (having already enjoyed it the night before) or crossing the border bridge again. I too had seen the warning signs about route detours and even heard about arrows being removed to confuse pilgrims. I felt the need to skip this stage and avoid navigating through the mayhem in the rain. It would also allow me to arrive in Santiago on Friday, in time for the pilgrim mass at the cathedral. I had given myself the flexibility to skip a stage if needed. (see My Camino Portugués Stages)

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