Camino Portugues Spain

Day 22: O’Porrino to Pontevedra

Today was a very enjoyable and beautiful stage, clearly the best since I started the Camino Portugues back in February outside Lisbon. 39km from O’Porrino to Pontevedra, partly on backroads and partly on paths through forests (giving some shade) and following streams. And with three bigger climbs (and numerous smaller), many of them steep and totaling almost 600m, this was a good test of what is to come.

I started the day at 8.00 after a coffee, orange juice and a croissant for breakfast. It was already 22C and there was a queue of pilgrims leaving town, including a number of families with children. Throughout the day I met many other walkers.

The first bigger village was Mos, after passing a Roman milestone. Mos has a church (Ingrexa de Santa Eulalia) and the very grand Paxo de Mos, a L-shaped building built for the Marquises of Mos, recently restored.

Uphill, through woods and along dirt tracks and roads it was nice and varied, and there were a number of walkers including a trio of Spanish walkers who I had a chat with. I stopped at a bar for a rest, cola and coffee, very close to Vigo airport. I was 250m above sea level and there were some great views towards Redondela and the valley.

I was evidently on the flightpath to Vigo airport, and an Airbus A300-600ST flew over (check it out, Google “Airbus looks like Dolphin”). One minute later I came to a spot with a spectacular view over the countryside, and what would have been a fantastic picture with the plane in view. I couldn’t help think about what a difference a minute makes. (The picture on top of the post, I cheated!)

It was a very steep decline from the viewpoint, but as I reached the bottom of the hill another and then yet another “dolphin” flew overhead – which I managed to take pictures of.

Many of pilgrims I spoke to today, were stopping in Redondela, but it was still early (11am), so I passed through. It seemed to be a great town, with two viaducts passing through and lots of bars and restaurants.

I bought a Galician pasty for lunch (similar to a Cornish pasty) and ate it as I took a break on yet another climb up Alto de Lomba (162m) towards the San Simon inlet and Arcade, passing the scallop shell memorial. I could see the water between the trees as I again descended (what goes up comes down). There is a train station in Arcade, and I had considered stopping here for today and taking the train to Pontevedra, and coming back tomorrow. It was still early afternoon, so after stopping to buy some water, I continued.

Today the temperature was in the upper 20’s, although still hot, it was 10C cooler than yesterday. As I walked through the town, a man was washing a wall with a high pressure cleaner. He asked me if I wanted a shower and sprayed water over me. It was nice to cool down a bit.

After Arcade, it was up and down along uneven paths. Still wary of my ancle, I walked carefully, watching every step. I had to help an Italian lady off her mountain bike as she got scared going down a bumpy hill, and then help her push it up a hill afterwards. She was from Sicily and had read that there weren’t any difficult parts for bikes – perhaps the bike route was elsewhere.

The paths flattened out again, and I popped into a small chapel, Santa Marta, to get a stamp and found somebody else’s stamp book on the floor. I noted the name and looked for him on facebook later in the day, but couldn’t find him.

Into Pontevedra, I followed a 5km alternative route by the river, very peaceful, in contrast to walking along the road into what seems to be a lively town, my destination for today.

It was a long day, and 630pm by the time I arrived at the hotel, which was plum in the middle of town. I lay down and rested for 30 minutes, showered and went out into a packed nightlife. It is Thursday, but everybody seems to be out. I found a restaurant just as it opened at 8.30pm, so managed to get a table – it was full-up at 8.45pm, and people waiting in line at 10.30 when I left. I had tapas with octopus and prawns, supposedly local specialties and Spanish baked cheese cake. This was the best cheesecake I ever tasted – and I love dessert.

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