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.

 

Camino Portuguese: Day 5

10/13/12 Ancora to Tui (foot and train), about 2.5km of walking from Valenca to Tui

This was the view from where I stayed in Ancora.  Not bad, huh?

This was the view from where I stayed in Ancora.  Not bad, huh?

Today was a difficult decision day for me.  My feet, body and mind really took a beating yesterday.  The route finding without proper maps is really starting to feel unsafe to me.  As luck would have it, the train picks up right behind the hotel.  I wandered over there to check the schedule and it was picking up in twenty minutes.  Decision made.  I took the train to Valenca, then walked over to Tui.

It was a little bit wet on the walk over.  But so pretty!!!

It was a little bit wet on the walk over.  But so pretty!!!

I wasn't sure where I was going to stay, but I needed a new SIM card for my phone, so I started off following the Camino, knowing it would take me to the old part of town and to the tourism office.  I found an Orange shop on the way and stood in line forever.  the guy ahead of me was asking a lot of questions.  Finally I was able to get the SIM card.  It worked perfect and I'm not having the same battery issues with the the Vodafone SIM card I bought in Portugal.  I found the tourism office and decided to go to a private albergue called San Clemente.  For 10€, it was right on the Camino and close to the Cathedral.  Ivan, the hospitalero and owner, was so sweet.  The albergue just opened in February this year.  He has great plans for the place and I cannot recommend them enough.  They also have private rooms available as well, reasonably priced if you want more privacy.

I relaxed for a bit, then took off to see the Cathedral and buy groceries.  I finally saw pilgrims!  I also got a sello from the Cathedral.  I went back to the albergue and the doorbell rang.  I was the only one there as Ivan was gone and the albergue technically wasn't open yet.  I decided to answer the door and there were four French pilgrims!  I invited them in and explained the hospitalero would be back later.  Later seven German pilgrims arrived so we went from just me to a full house!

Ivan offered to take me to his parent's restaurante later so I decided to take a nap since it would be a late dinner.  I had grilled squid, rice and pasta salad plus a bottle of vino tinto, bread plus yogurt and cafe con leche for dessert.  All for 9€.  Ivan picked me up and dropped me off at the albergue where we said our goodbyes.  We talked about many things and he was really cool.  I had no trouble getting to sleep once my earplugs were in!

 

Camino Portuguese: Day 4

0/12/12 Viana do Castelo to Ancora, 12.6km

I didn't get a picture the day before, but this is the Eiffel Bridge.  Pretty cool.

I didn't get a picture the day before, but this is the Eiffel Bridge.  Pretty cool.

Looking back at Viana do Castelo.  I would really like to visit this town when not walking on the Camino.  They seemed to want tourists and I am happy to oblige them in the future.

Looking back at Viana do Castelo.  I would really like to visit this town when not walking on the Camino.  They seemed to want tourists and I am happy to oblige them in the future.

 I grabbed a quick breakfast at the hostel before setting out.  Today was supposed to be another long day, 27km to Caminha or so I thought.  The walk out of Viana do Castelo had two options and I chose what I thought was the easier option, to walk along the coast. At some point I moved inland and I followed that through some woods before coming to a crossroads.  I had lost the yellow arrows again.  This was a common occurrence on this trail.  At the crossroads, both directions had yellow "x"s on them.  The "X" means the Camino does not go through there.  There was a "third" option but it had a sign that looked like it said "no trespassing" so I decided to head back down the hill and get reconnected with the coastal route.  This would be known as "THE BIG MISTAKE".  I ended up walking on more boardwalks, then the beach, then through more forest and so on.  Not to mention, there were no yellow arrows, so I was essentially following a Google map printout plus the map on my iPhone and hoping I was where I was supposed to be.  I had wasted so much time finding the Camino, my mind was toast, much less my body.  I made the decision to get a room in Ancora, still about 9km from Caminha.  I found a hotel for 39€ for the night.  It was perfect.

This picture does not do justice to the amazing meal I had here.  One of my most memorable meals on this walk.

This picture does not do justice to the amazing meal I had here.  One of my most memorable meals on this walk.

   After a shower, I set off to find an ATM and a grocery store.  I also wanted to find a place for dinner later.  I found all three.  I got off the tourist track on the beach and discovered a lovely restaurant for dinner.

   The waitress spoke some English and I ordered Caldo Verde, a local specialty.  It's basically kale in pureed potato soup.  It was delicious.  For my second course, I had salmon with potatoes, carrots, green beans and cabbage.  It was so good.  Of course, I had a hearty glass or two of vino tinto with dinner.  After dinner I enjoyed an espresso and a local digestivo made with honey.  It hit the spot.  All for 20€.  Totally worth the splurge.  I went to bed happy and content but undecided about tomorrow.


Camino Portuguese: Day 3

10/11/12  Fao to Viana do Castelo, 27.5km

Morning view, heading out of Fao.

Morning view, heading out of Fao.

This stream crossing was so tranquil and quiet, I could have sat here all day just enjoying myself.

This stream crossing was so tranquil and quiet, I could have sat here all day just enjoying myself.

   Today's walk started out following along the coast then moved inland as I walked the "Costa" route.  I found an albergue in Marinhas that wasn't listed anywhere.  It looked really nice.  It was closed, though.  The "Orla Litoral" route looked sketchy so I decided to play it safe and stick to the other route.  There was a great stretch through the woods and a river crossing with a stone bridge.  I could have stayed there for hours.  The rest of the day was a slog through neighborhoods, eventually leading up to the Eiffel bridge.  Yep.  Designed by the same guy as the Eiffel Tower.  

I'll freely admit.  I spent a LOT of time here.  These goats were very curious and so cute, I couldn't help myself!

I'll freely admit.  I spent a LOT of time here.  These goats were very curious and so cute, I couldn't help myself!

   As I was coming off the bridge, a guy on a bicycle offered to take me to the local church where the priests hosted pilgrims.  I had my mind set on cleaning my clothes in a washer and dryer at the youth hostel so I declined his offer.  I found the hostel, and on check-in asked about the washer and dryer.  Sadly, they were out of order.  I was pretty tired, so I took a shower, skipped dinner and spent some time chatting with the front desk person at the hostel.  She was very kind and I really enjoyed the conversation. Still no pilgrims and as near as I can tell, there weren't a lot of people in the hostel either.  I had another 4 bunk room to myself.