Padrón 4 th May

It was a tougher day with more hills and valleys and warmer weather. We took a few breaks which seemed to drag out the day’s walk but there was no hurry. We met quite a few different pilgrims along the way.

a wall of pupsOne lot was a group of Canadians who were being led by an Australian who lives in Spain. They were also staying at our hotel. They are being supported by a bus so anyone who feels the distance is too great or has any difficulty, has the backup to get to the next town without worry. They are only doing the last 100 kilometres and have other walking as part of the trip. They were a very happy group and at dinner burst into song. They were singing Happy Wanderer and so Anne and I joined in! It was a bit of fun.

As we walked along I got talking to the tour guide and explained about Bill and the bike. He then said he was interested in buying Bill’s bike when he gets to Santiago! Gary, originally from NSW, ptour guides all the different Caminos. I enquired about the French Way after Lyn’s friend said there were so many pilgrims. He said he had been on it a week ago and that it had been busy but not uncomfortably so. I asked the hotel reception here in Padrón what people did if it was all booked out in a town. She said people take taxis and go to the next town and then return to continue where they left off or she said some bring tents in peak summer so they always have some shelter.

Bill doing his jaunty rider impression. Made the bike look so comfy.

Our accommodation here was delightful but if you were too tired to visit Padrón at the end of the day you would not have seen the Church or any of the old town. Padron is small but has a significant connection with Santiago and Saint James was supposed to have moored his boat on his original arrival and it’s where his body was returned from Palestine by his disciples and transferred to land.

We all arrived hot and tired but separately. Anne and I had left Bill and Irene behind while Bill doctored her foot. We expected to meet again but they must have passed us while we were having a drink break and in the end we only saw them at the hotel. This place was a stately home and had a huge wall around it. The GPS guided us to the wall and then started to send Anne and I away! In the end I rang Bill and said we are so close but can’t see it. In the end it just required us to walk along the wall about 100 metres and the entrance was there!

After our usual routine of washing etc we decided to visit the town. I stupidly forgot to bring my credentia and missed getting a stamp from the church. I was quite disappointed. We were going to try this Pulperia Real restaurant for dinner and were delighted to discover that it was open early however when I wanted to order an herbois the waitress insisted it was only served with dessert and I had to choose something else! She did agree to Anne having ice in her sherry though. In the end I said I would have the local Galician wine. I had forgotten it comes in a small jug with a bowl! There were about four glasses of wine in it. No one else wanted to share so I had to drink it all on my own. The next thing was the food. We were determined to have Padron peppers in Padron but she said they were not in season! We have had them quite often but apparently they are imported from Morocco or Southern Spain so not local and therefore not on the menu.

After that knockback we decided to return to the hotel for dinner and had a delicious salad and pradrons. It was a big dinner and late as usual so I slept restlessly.

Caldas de Reis 3rd April

Today was a glorious walk. It was mostly flat and amongst forests and small villages. There were lots of small vineyards or really, plots of grape vines all trained high so we walked under them at times.

Leaving Pontevedra we crossed the Bourg Bridge. It has shells on the supports and is the the bridge built in the 12 th Century that replaced a Roman bridge. It was called the old bridge and that is from where the name Pontevedra comes.

There were lots of pilgrims today and at one stage we got ‘swallowed’ by a huge group. We were just rolling along happily most of the day until lunch time.There were lots of crosses today. They are very old and the statues are very warn. Some look quite pagan.

I received an email relating to a formal complaint from the body corporate in my apartments about Alfie and barking, so that jolted me back into the real world. After a flurry of emails with Hazel, my sitter and Nick my son, I hope we have a solution till I get home. I love my little dog but I can’t have a barking dog disturbing the neighbours. My dilemma is that I love travelling and he is well looked after but he barks when he is left on his own. I may have to think of him and consider re-homing him with some one who never goes away. I have only had a complaint when I was away.

After lunch somehow we all got separated. Irene and I had a pit stop and Anne continued on. I thought I would gradually catch her so I continued. Irene continued after me but left her sticks behind and had to return to get them. As we walked on I checked in a cafe but didn’t see Anne and I didn’t see Bill and Irene behind me so I just kept walking and finally met Dennis from St Andrews on the Peninsula near Melbourne. He and his friend Danny had been riding for four days from Porto and were now walking the rest of the way. They are also with Portuguese Green Walks so were staying at our Hotel. Because I was wearing the tshirt today and Anne too, i thought they might have seen her. When we came to descend a hill Dennis said he had bad knees and would wait for his friends Danny and their new friend Raphael, a Spaniard who now lives in Ireland.

I continued on by myself and was so busy talking with two young American girls from Texas that I walked right over the bridge. I still hadn’t connected with the others so I decided to stop at the nearest cafe, grab a drink and snack and send them a text and also look for the hotel. By the time I checked the book and looked up I realised I was sitting across the river from our hotel! It was almost the same time that I got a text from Bill wondering where I was. They had just arrived.

Our hotel had a thermal water swimming pool and we were soon into it for a swim. It was about 38 Degrees so not super hot but just lovely to be in. Irene would have preferred it warmer but she still had a bit of a soak. We had all booked feet massages and Anne was first to go followed by Irene, then me. It was a great treatment, starting with a soak in alternating hot and cold water, then a massage with a menthol (Piernas liger – light legs) in a circular motion. It was very cold but had the desired effect of loosening up our legs. It cost €19.80 for 30 mins.

We joined the two Aussies for drinks and I finally had an Herbois liqueur over ice. It is a traditional Galician yellow liquor that is slightly herbal in flavour. It was a generous portion. I was keen to have a wander about town but Anne was nursing a sore ankle and Irene was too tired. We killed time until 8.30 when we could go into the dining room.

The food had been reviewed as good so we had expectations of a pleasant meal. When we went into the dining room we selected a table with a menu but were hustled away to the area over the river. We could see it flowing fast beneath us. Bill kept making cracks about us falling into the river when the structure gave way. He was in a mischievous mood. The meal came quickly. A lovely pumpkin soup, things were looking up! Then the main course was a disaster. Bill and I had chicken wings and roast potato slices.They were quite tasty but Irene and Ann had monkfish in a buttery, globby sauce. It was quite disgusting. The piece de resistance however was dessert. Irene and Anne had ordered what they thought was fruit salad but turned out to be a bowl of fresh fruit! Two huge pears, three mandarins, two massive kiwi fruit and a banana. The look on their faces was priceless.

After our 22 km day, a long swim in the thermal pool and dinner we retired to our bungalows. Another big day but we are counting down.

Pontevedra 2nd May

We slept in till 7.00 am and breakfasted at 9.00. This is a basic hotel, clean and no frills. The staff are friendly and helpful but the dining room is basically spartan with no staff at breakfast. I discovered the fresh tomato in jam-like pods by accident. I thought it was plum jam! It was a nice alternative to sweet jam on my toast.

With breakfast done we set off to the Pilgrims church again to receive our stamp and Bill, Anne and I went up the tower. It was rather underwhelming with a good view of the plaza on one side and the rest of the town obscured.

From here we were keen to see the sculpture park alongside the river. On the way we saw a few swimmers racing up the river around huge buoys and decided that this must be training for a triathlon. It was stiff going against the tide and the wind. They were all in wetsuits. The bridge we crossed to get to the park had metal rope like structures to support the bridge and they were clattering in the wind. It was so loud. A most unusual design feature. Below in the water were schools of mullet (?) sunbaking it seemed. They looked really large.

Unfortunately the sculpture park was rather disappointing. The Labrynth looked like a toilet block from outside( according to Anne) and when we walked to the centre it seemed it had been used for such too with lots of tissues and even a pair of underpants on the gravel. The next sculpture was a house squashed into a space between trees and another was a set of granite seats with writing we didn’t understand. This adventure was considered anticlimactic but we did see the promenade along the river and the University before we visited the Pazo de Cultura. Another curious place. There seemed to be an art gallery or exhibition space without a door!

Some what disappointed we took ourselves off to the old town for a delicious menu del dia, 3 courses and a bottle of wine for €11.50. The sculptures around town were far more interesting.

Our leisurely lunch over we strolled back to the hotel where Irene and Bill promptly fell asleep. Anne doctored her ankle with a remarkable cold bandage that works a bit like a Coolgardie safe, in that it uses the air to keep the gel type bandage cool. We talked and I wrote the blog and read up on the next day.

The wind had come back with a vengeance and was howling around the hotel, rattling the windows. We hoped it would diminish overnight. After our big lunch we opted for a sandwich and a drink at a nearby cafe. I had a toasted salad sandwich with egg. A salad sandwich always includes ham and cheese too. On the way back we stopped to check out the vending machines and were most amused to see a vending machine beside the lollies and drinks that had an array of sex aids. We were somewhat confused about some of the items and how they would be used! Travelling sure has its surprises. U