Camino Portuguese: Day 10

I could have sat in this park for hours.  It was so quiet and peaceful here.

I could have sat in this park for hours.  It was so quiet and peaceful here.

10/18/12 Caldas de Reis to Padron

Today, believe it or not, did not rain!  I walked with Al and we kept up a pretty good pace.  It was definitely faster than I usually walk but we talked the whole way so it went fast.  Al is a wee bit taller than me, plus he has his "Camino" legs after having already walked the Frances and onward to Finisterre and Muxia.  He wasn't quite finished walking, so he took a train to Lisbon, then went to Fatima and started walking on the Camino Portuguese.  We stopped after about 6-7km of walking at a cute bar.  The owner was adorable.  She had her compostela proudly on display, as well as other Camino-related items.

After breakfast (OJ, cafe con leche and toast), we set off through a great track up and down a slight hill into Padron.  We arrived at 12:50p, just before the albergue opened.  While waiting for the albergue to open, we met another American, a woman from Florida named Teri. She was waiting for her "friend" Barbara to arrive.

The albergue was pretty cool.  It was a stone building with sturdy wooden bunk beds.  It was very basic, but very functional.  But it was also very cold. They assured us the heat would be turned on that night.

Al and I left to go get lunch at one of the oldest buildings in Padron.  I had a cheeseburger, which wasn't bad.  We wandered a bit, went to the grocery store, then returned to the albergue to bad news.  The power was out.  This meant no hot water and no heat.  I hadn't taken a shower yet, so this was definitely a problem for many of us in the albergue.  In usual Spanish fashion, they couldn't give us a time-frame for when the power would be back on. They were stressing out about it because the municipal albergues have to meet certain standards and hot water is one of them.  The two American women, Barbara and Teri decided they were going to find another place to stay.  They found a room with three beds and invited me to join them for 20€.  Even though the heat wasn't on there either (this is not uncommon in Spain), I had a scalding hot shower and plenty of blankets!  I slept very well that night, even though my mind was on Santiago the next day.


Camino Portuguese: Day 9

10/17/12 Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis

Morc made me a delightful breakfast of OJ, coffee, water, and bread with jam and butter.  She also sent me on my way with some fresh roasted chestnuts to snack on as I walked.  This woman is a saint in my book!  

I started back on the Camino with the intent to get to Caldas de Reis quickly because of the rain.  At my first stop, I found a great place for breakfast--and lost my lead.  Oh well.  I ran into my Spanish amigos from Avila and walked with them until Caldas de Reis.  At one point we abandoned the Camino because there was so much water on it.  It was like we were walking in a small creek instead of a path.  We ended up on the N-550 all the way into Caldas de Reis.  Not ideal to be road walking and by feet were not happy.  My Spanish friends were continuing on, so we said goodbye and exchanged emails.  I was the second pilgrim to check in and finally met my first American, Al from Cleveland, OH.  We went out for lunch of pimientos de Padron and a pork skewer plus a beer for me.  It was delicious.  After lunch, we both went to a china shop to get an umbrella for the rain.  After two days of getting soaked, I had had enough.  We both figured umbrellas would make the final two days of walking a little bit nicer...or at the very least a little bit drier.

After lunch I was feeling really chilled and started shaking a bit.  I got into my sleeping bag to warm up.  Al and I had planned to go to Mass but he said I looked too comfy and maybe I should just stay in my bag. I agreed with him.

At one point I started talking with a German guy who was walking the Camino Portuguese backwards and was trying to get to Morocco!  I gave him the info I had on the coastal route, since he was interested.  He was so excited he gave me a hug!

Al and I closed the evening with hot chocolate, which hit the spot.  I slept very well that night.

Camino Portuguese: Day 8

I never grew tired of these views.

I never grew tired of these views.

10/16/12 Redondela to Pontevedra

When I woke up this morning, it was raining.  Not a good sign.  As the day progressed it went from a drizzle to a torrential downpour.  At times, it was coming down sideways!  I sought refuge at one point in a makeshift cafe with several pilgrims.  A couple had converted their daylight basement into a bit of a cafe/tienda catering to pilgrims.  It was a welcome respite.

I met a doctor from Madrid and his wife, plus another couple from Avila.  The French pilgrims I kept running into were also there.  After a snack, I set off again and ended up walking with my new Spanish friends.  Once we arrived in Pontevedra, I said goodbye.  I continued walking to meet up with my Airbnb host.  She was close to the historical area and the Camino.  I am not sure of her real name, but her username was Morc (as was her little dog's name too!).  She took me to her apartment, located in a former synagogue in what was once considered the Jewish area of the city.  It was beautiful.  Very serene and quiet.  I was greeted with chant music, incense burning and a really nice vibe.  I immediately shed my wet clothes and took a nice, hot shower.  Morc served me lunch after my shower.  She is a vegetarian, so she served me lentil soup, salad with greens (a rarity on the Camino, where salad is usually iceberg lettuce) and whole grain bread with hot tea.  It was so delicious and very nutritious.  I took a nap and a couple of hours later, went out to explore.

Morc was so sweet and kind.  She offered me her Camino boots so I could leave my shoes behind to dry by the woodstove.  I couldn't resist her offer and her boots fit me perfectly.  I went out for a bit, visiting some churches and doing my usual wander when I am in a new town.  

There is a church in the shape of a shell, but there were a lot of people in it, so I didn't stick around too long.  I had some gelato and as I was walking there was a guy playing the Galician bagpipe.  I decided to toss a few Euros in his hat and he played me a beautiful song.  I am not sure what possessed me to give a street musician so much money, but it was totally worth it.  I had a relatively uneventful dinner and went back to the apartment and fell asleep!

Camino Portuguese: Day 7

Camino Marker

Camino Marker

10/15/12 Porriño to Redondela

   After last night's disruption, I got a decent start around 8a.  I found a bar around 9 or 10a and stopped for a cafe con leche.  Shortly after Mos, I met a German pilgrim on his way to Pontevedra, a long day for sure!  We walked together until Redondela, then I stopped for a late breakfast at the beginning of town.  I found this really nice bar with a great menu for pilgrims.  I had some fresh-squeezed OJ, a cafe con leche and some toast.  From there I continued walking and decided to stay at a private albergue instead.  I arrived at 1p and there was no one there.  I rang the doorbell.  No one.  So I decided to call and was told where I could find the key.  I made myself at home, took a shower, ate a snack then wandered around a while, buying more snacks for later.  I found a small bar down the street from the albergue.  I had an early dinner.  I was able to get caught up on a few days of journaling before heading back to the albergue.  There's a group of seven German women I keep running into and they were outside waiting to pay for the room in the albergue so I waited with them.  A woman finally showed up, we paid our money and she was gone!  It was weird.  I had a room all to myself that night and slept very well.

Camino Portuguese: Day 6

One of many old Roman stone works.

One of many old Roman stone works.

**NOTE: I am getting caught up on my blog.  I am a bad blogger.  This is my first update in over three years.  Hoping to change this but not making any promises!  Here is the remaining posts from my Camino Portuguese walk in 2012.

10/14/12 Tui to Porriño

I got on the Way around 8:15a and it was still dark with nothing open.  I had yogurt, mango nectar, and an energy drink for breakfast. 2 out of 3 ain't bad on the health meter!  The first half of the walk was through woods and quiet country roads.  About 6km into the morning, I came onto a restaurant/bar in the middle of nowhere and open on a Sunday. Score!  I also met two pilgrims, Justin from Canada and Kenneth from Denmark.  I sat with them for a bit while I ate a tortilla patata and cafe con leche.

With renewed energy, I kicked it into gear for the slog into Porriño through the industrial area.  I arrived shortly after 1p and settled into the albergue.  Took a shower and did some laundry.  I ate some of the food I had bought yesterday and then I took a nap.

Familiar pilgrims started arriving.  The Korean couple, the French group.  Around 7:30p, a group of what many call "tour"igrinos showed up.  There were about 20-25 of them and they were loud!  Many of them were wandering around trying to find a bed and in general being quite disruptive.  Almost all of the bottom bunks had been taken, so it was interesting to observe the whole process of people going to every room to try to find a bottom bunk, only to return and grab one of the many available top bunks available.  Around 10p, everyone finally decided to go to bed.  This was a good thing since that's usually the "lights out" time in most municipal albergues.  I had a Catholic nun above me who seemed to really struggle to get to sleep.  Next thing I know, it's 3:20a and they ALL got up and left!  They woke me up, even with earplugs in, with their movement.  They all seemed to be gone by 4a and I was able to get about three more hours of sleep before having to get up again.