Thursday, September 26, 2019

Camiño Portugues Day 12: Pontecesures - Santiago de Compostela

Set off from our hotel by the Rio Ulla - and the factory - in Pontecesures and headed across the bridge and into Padrón, where we stopped by the church of Santiago Apostolo.

Market in Padrón, preparing to open

Coming out of Padrón, we stopped again at the church of Iria Flavia, older than the cathedral in Santiago. 

Met another pilgrim outside the church

We continued on our way along the side of the highway for a short distance before leaving the busy road and granite-cutting industries for a rural landscape of gentle hills. 

It was a long day, 30 kilometres, and seemed even longer because we knew we had no rest until reaching kilometre zero, so the numbers on the milestones never seemed to get smaller very fast! 

A granite St. Jacques

We made sure we had less than ten kilometres left before stopping for lunch, tortilla and pimientos de Padrón, in Milldoiro. 

Tortilla española con pimientos de Padrón 

Pressing onwards, we were soon able to see the cathedral spires in the distance, through a clearing in the woods. It took willpower to keep our legs moving, under the bypass, up the hill, through the suburbs and the park... Then finally, we reached Praza do Obradoiro, the cathedral square! 

I don't know why, but I found it more exciting this time, after walking 284 km, than in June, when I had walked all the way from Toulouse! 

It was beginning to rain a little, so after the ritual hugs and photographs, we arranged to pick up the keys to our apartment for the night, right in the city centre. Then, rather than burning our clothes as pilgrims traditionally did, we put them all in the washing machine and then festooned the apartment with them, hoping everything would dry by morning. 

I had to forego the evening festivities as the pimientos de Padrón appeared not to agree with my stomach. But by morning I was back in shape. We said goodbye to Annette, who is continuing on to Finisterre. 

We went into the Cathedral, the part of it which can be seen while the renovation work is underway, and visited the tomb of St. James. 

We stopped by the pilgrims' office to get a stamp, and decided to take a number on the chance that our number might come up before we had to go to the station and take our train to Madrid. While waiting, we took a look around the market and sat in the sun in a café. We ran into some pilgrims from Wales we had seen often in our first few days on the trail and had our photo taken with them. Then we went back to the pilgrims' office, and our numbers were called just in time to allow us to collect our Compostelas and hurry down to the train station! 

We spent the rest of the day watching Spain go by outside the windows - without having to walk across it! What a luxury! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Camiño Portugues Day 11: Barro - Pontecesures

We survived our night in the "very basic" rooms above the truck stop café with rather iffy bed linens. Relieved to wake up without any itches or other damage, we went downstairs for coffee and then headed along the highway back towards the Camino.  We were relieved to see that after a night of heavy rain, the clouds were clearing, and at our first break for coffee we peeled off all our waterproof layers and stuffed them into our packs. The world was wet and as always on days like this I had fun photographing the dripping plants and flowers.

Passed through the town of Caldas de Reis, stopping only to take photos on the old bridge.

Then back into the country, among the vineyards, pumpkin patches, corn and cabbage fields. 

Cabbage attains its final destiny, as caldo gallego

After a tureen of the finest caldo gallego, cabbage and bean soup, we continued to Cruciero do Carrece, where we discussed such weighty matters as emigration, unemployment and national finance with  farmer José. He gave Annette a four-leaf clover and his address, so she could send him a copy of our group photograph, the old-fashioned way!

We were happy to arrive late in the afternoon at our hotel in Pontecesures, an industrial town just over the river from Padrón, less than 30 km from Santiago. 

One more day to go!