Camino Portugues Spain Spiritual Variant

Day 25: Armenteira to Vilanova de Arousa

This is a stunning stage following the Ruta de la Piedra y del Agua (The stone and water route) passing 51 ancient mills and cascades, before turning west at Pontearnelas towards Vilanova de Arousa, my destination for today. Apart from the downhill from an altitude of 300m in Armenteira, it was a relatively flat day.

As I mentioned yesterday, there wasn’t any hot water when I arrived at my hotel, and despite them coming and saying there was, I had to get them come again and agree that there wasn’t. Of course it didn’t help, and there still wasn’t any this morning. So a very quick shower and a 30 Euro refund.

The first 13 kms today were along a the stone and water path, set in a forest the path follows a stream and then a river lined with stone mills, cascades  and vineyards. It was extremely beautiful.

I am walking the spiritual variant on a Sunday morning. The only noise was the ripple of water, there were grapes ready to be made to wine, and I was looking for bread for the half a brie that was left over from last night, that was cooking in my backpack. In the River Umia (after the stone and water route) there were thousands of fish, an Italian group meant they were carp. It almost couldn’t be more spiritual.

After Pontearnelas, I stopped at a cafe. Four Spanish ladies, also walking to Santiago, came in a few minutes later and all called home to their children and/or partners at the same time. It was very noisy. Shortly after the break I was speaking to the group from Italy I had met earlier as we passed a small chapel. Two ladies invited us in to get a stamp. It turned out that they were from the UK, and had lived in Spain for 20 plus years. They sang a song and whilst listening my phone rang – it was the company running tomorrow’s boat ride, telling me they have changed the departure from 7.30 to 10.00.

The three pictures below were taken within five minutes of each other. The crosses, called cruceiros, stand next to roads, crossroads, squares, or in the courtyards of churches. It is estimated that Galicia has between 10,000 and 15,000 cruceiros. Many of them are located along the road to Compostela, marking the route taken by pilgrims. Cruceiros has a double meaning, both meaning crossroads and the granite stone crosses. They are usually topped with sculptures of Mary with child and/or Christ crucified. During the Christianization of Galicia, cruceiros were put up over original Roman altars to protect roads and other places they are erected.

I passed a handful of beautiful small villages surrounded by more vines.

I continued towards the coast, reaching it just before the bridge to Arousa, and island off the coast. I walked along the coast for ca. 4km, passing many packed camping sites and a few sunbather’s enjoying the nice weather. I was feeling tired.

I made it to the hotel at around 3pm and finally found some bread at a bar/baker, directly opposite the hotel. I ate it for lunch with the now very ripe brie. And finally, a warm shower.

I went back to the bar to buy a cake and ran into a Spanish father and son who had stayed at the same place as I had last night and were walking the Camino. The son was 11 years old and spoke excellent English, whilst the father spoke next to no English – a sign of the times in Spain. I walked around town, but only the bars were open and doing a good business. I sat on a bench to write this and watch the world pass by, before taking a before dinner beer in one of the bars. I had dinner (fish) at the hotel.

Tomorrow, the plan was to take a boat up the River Ulla, 28km towards Pontecesures. The trip follows the journey made by the remains of St. James, the origin of all roads. The boat was planned to leave at 7.30, but whilst walking this morning, they called me and said it would leave at 10am, arriving in Pontcesures at 11.30, I still need to walk the last 25km to Santiago de Compostela. I can sleep longer, but it will be a long day!

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