Redondela – Pontevedra
18 April 2018
While we were getting ready this morning and I’ve slowly put my blistered feet into my hiking sandals, Berto said to me: “Only 3 more days”. For my feet, that sounded great! But in my heart, I’ve wanted this Camino to continue for many more days …
It took us some time to get out of Redondela and its suburbs. It was a Wednesday morning and the roads were quite busy with locals going to work – we therefore had to carefully watch for traffic while negotiating our way out of town.
The town of Redondela in the distance
Eventually a forest track appeared about 3km later and that took us into the eucalyptus woods.
Forest tracks in the eucalyptus woods
We had a few challenging hills to walk before we’ve reached the high point of this stage, Alto de Lomba. From here we had a lovely view over the rio Vigo.
A view of the rio Vigo from the high point, Alto de Lomba
Before we’ve got to Arcade, we’ve had to walk a stretch of about 700m next to the dangerous main road. There was no barrier and it was on a bend … sometimes a pilgrim needs nerves of steel!
Fortunately we’ve arrived safe and sound in Arcade and rewarded ourselves with coffee and a sandwich.
Enough bread on this plate to take us to the end of today’s stage!
As we’ve walked through Arcade, we’ve seen an elderly group of people in front of us. They’ve just left a hotel, was beautifully dressed and strolled through the streets. They’ve greeted us very friendly and clapped their hands when we’ve passed them 😁.
An elderly group strolling through Arcade – maybe not pilgrims, but they were walking and enjoying the fresh air – the same as what we were doing!
Just before we’ve left Arcade, we’ve walked over the old stone bridge (Pontesampaio) over the rio Verdugo that was built in 1795 over earlier foundations.
The old stone bridge in Arcade, Pontesampaio
Berto walking over the bridge Pontesampaio … if these stones could talk …
John Brierley is telling us that it was here that a local militia inflicted a significant rout on Napoleon’s troops during the War of Independence
Just after the bridge, the route suddenly branches off steeply up past the bridge memorial … by now, I can just shake my head and smile about these sudden steep hills on the Camino 😊.
Berto leaning forward on a steep up hill in Arcade
We’ve continued walking on quiet country lanes after we’ve left Arcade until we’ve came, once again to the woodlands.
Narrow country lanes that took us into the woodlands
And then we’ve reached the stretch that I was looking forward to since this morning … a walk on the ancient stone paved pilgrim way (Brea Vella da Canicouva).
The ancient stone paved pilgrim way
Such a privilege to walk on this ancient road
I was (almost) glad that this path was on a steep up hill, because that meant we could take it slowly … we were almost speechless while we’ve continued on this special road.
For the first time today, we’ve seen pilgrims on route. There was a Korean couple we have not seen before and we’ve greeted them friendly with “Buen Camino”. They were carrying excessive loads of equipment to make provision for camping, instead of finding accommodation in hostels – it must be a tough journey!
A Korean couple with hiking and camping equipment on their backs 😬
After all these up hills, we were in need of something to replace our energy with … and all that our backpacks could delivered, was a packet of jelly babies … well, that worked, because we’ve happily walked to Pontevedra!
A handful of jelly babies for the last stretch to Pontevedra
We’ve chosen the option route where the walk continue alongside the river. Brierley’s guide book promised that this option route would replaces the noise and hazard of traffic with woodland and bird song.
That was indeed true! It was such a beautiful walk that we’ve only took one photo and then we’ve enjoyed the peace and quietness for the rest of the walk.
On our way to the scenic riverside walk
Accommodation – Pontevedra:
While most of the albergues are about 1.5km outside Pontevedra, we’ve decided to walk to the centre of the medieval city in the hope to find accommodation there. We’ve chosen Pension Casa Maruja and were lucky to get the last bed on the top floor!
The front of Pension Casa Maruja in the centre of the medieval city
The last available room in Casa Maruja … we were lucky … and very happy to have our own bathroom (and bath towels)!
The lady at the reception gave us a laundry bag and said we can have a nice shower and then bring all our dirty laundry in the bag to the reception desk and they will make sure we have everything cleaned and folded up early tomorrow morning … oh, how nice to be spoilt like this!
She also showed us to a great street restaurant that offered the biggest beers in town – we could not resist 😁.
Cerveza time on the Camino!
Pontevedra is the regional capital with an expanding population of 80,000. We’ve walked around the delightful medieval core to explore the city a bit and came to the Santuario da Peregrina (Pilgrim Chapel), the beautiful 18th century pilgrim chapel built in the Baroque style.
The Pilgrim Chapel in Pontevedra, built in 1778 and a great treasure of the Camino
After exploring Pontevedra we’ve chosen a bar close to our Pension to have a drink. A couple with a dog arrived and were also looking for a spot outside where they could sit with their dog. We’ve invited them to sit with us.
We had such a great conversation with them for over two hours. They were originally from the United Kingdom and bought a small farm in Spain a couple of years ago. We’ve listened to all their stories and what they’ve experienced in Spain while living here.
It’s always wonderful to meet such amazing people without expecting it. We can learn so much from other people and therefore must always be open for opportunities like this!
On our way back to our Pension, we’ve bought a few snacks and a bottle of red wine. We were looking for “take away” plastic glasses for our wine, but could not find any … the only other option was to buy 2 plastic containers filled with jelly … back at Casa Maruja, we’ve eaten our snacks (and jelly) and voila!, we had (very small) glasses for our red wine 😂.
First we had the jelly … and then we had glasses for the bottle of wine!
Another great day on the Camino … just 66km until we reach Santiago de Compostela!