Redondela – Pontevedra
18 April 2018
Three days to go …
While we were getting ready this morning and I was slowly putting my blistered feet into my hiking sandals, Berto reminded me: “Only 3 more days”. For my feet this was good news! But in my heart I wanted this Camino to continue for many more days.
It took us a while to get out of Redondela and its suburbs. It was a Wednesday morning and the roads were quite busy with locals on their way to work. So we had to keep a close eye on the traffic, as well as the yellow Camino arrows, as we walked out of town.
Leaving Redondela behind
About 3km later, a forest path appeared leading to the eucalyptus woods.
Walking into the eucalyptus woods
There were some challenging hills we had to face before reaching the highest point of this stage, Alto de Lomba. From here we had a lovely view of the Vigo River.
A view of the Vigo River from Alto de Lomba
Be aware of road walking:
Before we reached Arcade, we had to walk a stretch of about 700m along the dangerous main road. There was no barrier and it was on a bend. Sometimes a pilgrim needs nerves of steel!
Luckily we arrived safely in Arcade and rewarded ourselves with coffee and a sandwich.
There is enough bread on this plate not to leave us hungry again soon
While walking through Arcade, we saw an elderly group of people in front of us. They had just left a hotel, were beautifully dressed and strolled through the streets. They greeted us very kindly and clapped their hands when we walked past them.
They may not have been pilgrims, but they walked and enjoyed the fresh air – essentially the same as we did
Just before leaving Arcade behind, we crossed the old stone bridge (Pontesampaio) over the Verdugo River, built in 1795 over earlier foundations.
The old stone bridge in Arcade, Pontesampaio
Berto crossing the bridge Pontesampaio
John Brierley: “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 trail suddenly forks steeply up past the bridge memorial. By now I can only shake my head and smile at these sudden steep hills on the Camino.
A very steep hill in Arcade
After this we walked on quiet country roads until we reached the woodlands again.
Narrow country lanes leading to the woodlands
Walking on an old pilgrim path:
And then we reached the stretch I had been looking forward to since this morning – a walk on the ancient stone paved pilgrim’s way (Brea Vella da Canicouva).
The ancient stone paved pilgrim way
We felt privileged to walk on this ancient road
I was (almost) glad that this path was uphill because it meant we could walk it leisurely … it was such a beautiful stretch of road.
More pilgrims on the road:
Today, we saw pilgrims on our route for the first time. There was a Korean couple, whom we had not seen before, and we greeted them kindly with “Buen Camino”. They carried an awful lot of equipment. It turned out they were camping rather than finding accommodation in hostels – it must be a challenging journey!
A Korean couple with hiking and camping equipment on their backs
We need energy:
After all these climbs we needed something to give us renewed energy. All we had in our backpacks was a pack of jelly babies. Well, it must have worked, because we happily walked to Pontevedra!
A handful of jelly babies for the last stretch to Pontevedra
Take the option route just before Pontevedra:
We chose the option route where the trail continues along the river. Brierley’s guidebook promised that this optional route would replace the noise and danger of traffic and that one would instead enjoy beautiful woodland and birdsong.
It was indeed true! It was such a beautiful hiking trail that we only took one photo because we enjoyed the tranquility so much.
On our way to the scenic riverside walk
Accommodation – Pontevedra:
The last available bed:
Although most albergues are about 1.5km outside of Pontevedra, we decided to walk to the center of the medieval city in the hope of finding accommodation there. We decided to stop by Pension Casa Maruja and were lucky to get the last bed on the top floor!
Pension Casa Maruja in the centre of the medieval city
The very last available room in Casa Maruja (we were lucky and happy to have our own bathroom and bath towels)
A nice treat:
The lady at reception gave us a laundry bag and said we could take a nice shower and then bring all our dirty laundry in the bag to the reception desk where they would make sure that we would receive everything clean by early tomorrow morning. Oh, how nice to be spoiled like that!
She also told us about a great street restaurant that offered the biggest beers in town – of course we couldn’t resist.
Cerveza time on the Camino
Pontevedra is the regional capital with a growing population of 80,000. We strolled through the delightful medieval centre to explore the city and walked up to the Santuario da Peregrina (Pilgrim’s Chapel). The beautiful 18th century pilgrimage chapel was built in the Baroque style.
The Pilgrim Chapel in Pontevedra, built in 1778 and a gem of the Camino
A couple (and their dog) from the UK:
After exploring Pontevedra, we walked up to a bar near our Pension where we enjoyed a drink. A couple with a dog arrived soon after and were also looking for a place outside where they could sit with their dog. We invited them to join us.
For more than two hours we had a wonderful time sitting and talking with them. They are originally from the UK and bought a small farm in Spain a few years ago. We enjoyed listening to all their stories and how they experienced living in Spain.
And this is what makes the Camino, well I suppose also travel, so wonderful – the great people you meet unexpectedly. We can learn so much from other people and should therefore always be open to opportunities like this!
On the way back to our Pension we bought a few snacks and a bottle red wine. We were also looking for cheap glasses for our wine, but couldn’t find them anywhere. The only other option was to buy 2 plastic containers filled with jelly. Back at Casa Maruja we enjoyed our snacks (and jelly) and voila!, then we had (very small) glasses for our red wine.
First we had the jelly and then glasses for our wine
It was another great day on the Camino. Now, it’s only 66km to Santiago de Compostela!
Click here for Day 24 …
7 thoughts on “CAMINO PORTUGUESE – DAY 23”
I love your pictures. We walked from Lisbon to Santiago in September/October 2017 and took the coastal route after Porto so your pictures bring back many happy memories. Plus my blisters were healed by the time we got to Porto and my feet were tough so it was all good. We even got tattoos in Porto. It was such an adventure.
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I’m glad you’ve enjoyed our pictures! Well done to you for also walking from Lisbon to Santiago! And VERY happy for you that those blisters healed 😀. You’re right, it was an amazing adventure and we’ll always have fond memories about this Camino!
Another great read and you certainly seem to have been very lucky with your accommodation choices. Lovely looking garret room and laundry on demand – hiker’s Heaven.
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Amazing how resourceful one can be when motivated! I think you must be connoisseurs of beer!
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Haha 😁 … at the end of the Camino I was able to order two beers (well, one beer and one cider) in a complete sentence in both Portuguese and Spanish – with the correct pronunciation!
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