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

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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Walking Day 2: Rubiaes to Valença

TrackedMap-Rubiaes-ValencaContinued from Walking Day 1: Ponte de Lima to Rubiaes

Stage: Rubiaes to Valença 17 km
+ 11 km Valença fort to Tui for sightseeing and dinner, roundtrip
28 km total walking

The Rubiaes albergue was much more crowded than Ponte de Lima’s, so the room was very stuffy in the morning. When I cranked open the window next to my top bunk, I got a few nods of approval from the groggy people waking up. The metal bunk beds were a little squeaky, but I managed to get a decent sleep. I was so glad my sleep sack was treated with insect shield because a girl two bunks over was bitten during the night. She spotted a bedbug on her mattress and notified the albergue staff. Yikes! That was too close for comfort. I checked my mattress and bag liner and there were no signs of bugs. It seemed like a very clean and well run albergue. Below are a few photos.

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Bom Caminho: A Ponte de Lima Jazz Serenade

A light rain was falling when I arrived in Ponte de Lima around 8 p.m. after my train and bus rides from Lisbon.

A lone kayaker gliding along the river

A lone kayaker gliding along the river

Approaching the beautiful arched bridge built by the Romans in 1125, I heard jazz playing. I wondered where the sound could be coming from, because the small village seemed rather quiet and empty of people. The music became louder as I got closer to a street light on the bridge, and I realized the jazz was coming from speakers concealed inside the lamppost! I was mesmerized by the beauty and the feeling of that moment—crossing a bridge and being serenaded by jazz. It was as if the Camino had rolled out a welcome mat and said, “Come here child; we’ve been expecting you. You are exactly where you need to be.”  Continue reading