DAY 24


PONTEVEDRA – CALDAS DE REIS

19 APRIL 2018

22.2km

We’ve had a good night’s rest – amazing what your own little room and bathroom can do for your morale!

And then, the cherry on the cake: To receive our clean laundry from the friendly staff of Casa Maruja on our way out and them waving us off with “Buen Camino” … yes, that has surely put a spring in our step (or in my case, in my blistered feet) 😁.

The first magnificent sight came within 1km after we’ve left Casa Maruja … the stunning Ponte do Burgo. Close to the bridge we could see the excavations of the foundations of the original Roman bridge, but it was so closed off with barriers that we could not really took any photo’s. But the Burgo Bridge was picture perfect in the glory of the morning sun!

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The Ponte do Burgo in Pontevedra was built in the 12th century near the former site of a Roman bridge

From here we had to negotiated our way through Pontevedra and its suburbs until we’ve came to a quiet road that took us pass a bird observatory and wetland sanctuary.

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Just follow the yellow arrows pass the wetland sanctuary … on our way to Santiago!

We’ve got to a wide road which fortunately did not deliver too much traffic (in terms of cars), but rather a big group of school children! They were probably on a school outing and it seemed they were very happy not to be in school! They had two teachers that accompanied them (and did a great job must be said, to keep them together).

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A big group of school children on an outing, walking in front of us

It took us some time to pass them all, but they politely let us through and greeted us with “Buen Camino”. On the Camino, the road belongs to everyone and we were not disturbed by them in any way.

We’ve continued close to the rail line for some time before we’ve got to the hamlet of Pontecabras. From here, you cross the busy main road until we’ve got to a great path that took us through dense woodlands.

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A scenic route through woodlands

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We’ve also started seeing more and more pilgrims now that we were getting closer to Santiago

Close to 10km after we’ve started walking from Pontevedra, we’ve reached San Amaro where the popular Café do Peregrino are situated. We’ve stopped for coffee and enjoyed resting outside under the umbrellas for a while.

The school group also came through during this time and suddenly the café got as busy as a railway station! We’ve waited for them to leave before we’ve put our backpacks on and start walking again.

It was however not long before we’ve got back with the school group … this time the children at the back had some Spanish pop music on a speaker system and we’ve again passed them – on the rhythm of their music 😉.

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Back with the school group … but only for a while before we’ve passed them for the second and last time today

We’ve passed through another woodland area and it was now only me and Berto and the occasional pilgrim on the road.

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A tranquil walk through a woodland

Although we’ve enjoyed the company of the children on the way, it was now great to have some quietness again … and the road to ourselves! The Camino now took us on wonderful country lanes and dirt roads … great paths to reflect on our Camino thus far!

Walking was blissful on the quiet country roads

We’ve also came across the soldiers that we’ve seen two days ago. They were resting in the shade of big trees when we’ve walked passed them.

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The soldiers’ ambulance truck was parked where they’ve rest mid-morning

We’ve seen a small café on our left, Café Muinada de Barosa and decided it was a good time to have some freshly squeezed orange juice. While we were sitting outside, our pilgrim friends from France also walked in. It was great to see them again and we’ve taken the opportunity of taking photo’s of each other 😃.

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Berto enjoying a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice

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Our pilgrim friends from France whom we’ve met in Porrino

From here we’ve walked on short stretches of vineyards that run parallel to the road. I said to Berto that this means we are in wine country and that we surely must have a glass of wine tonight!

Beautiful stretches of paths through vineyards awaited us on our way to Caldas de Reis

It was not long before we’ve got back to the soldiers again … they have not passed us, which mean there must be either more than one group of them or they are following a different route than us. But by the way they’ve greeted us so familiar, I’m sure it must be the same group!

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By now, I’ve called them “our soldier-pilgrim friends”

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That ambulance looked very inviting for my blistered feet …

We’ve continued on the quiet country lanes and every now and then we would join the main road before veering off to dirt roads again.

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We’ve seen a lot of horses on our Camino

After a delightful walk, we’ve got to Caldas de Reis … a day filled with school children, soldiers, a reunion with our French pilgrim friends, as well as some tranquillity walks … this is the Camino for you!

Crossing the medieval stone bridge over the rio Bermana into Caldas de Reis

As we’ve crossed the bridge, we saw several cafés and decided that, of course, we first need to stop for that “welcoming drink” into our overnight town 🤗.

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My two favourites on the Camino … my husband and a cerveza 😊

As we were enjoying a cold beer at the café, the soldiers came marching over the bridge … at least we can say that we’ve beaten them today … yeah right, if only!

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The soldiers marching over the medieval stone bridge

Accommodation – Caldas de Reis:

Pensión As Burgas

We’ve checked into another Pension for the night (that spoil of last night was just amazing) and we were welcomed in a beautiful room at Pension As Burgas.

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What a room for a (spoiled) pilgrim!

After we’ve done our laundry, we’ve walked around in Caldas de Reis. We’ve read in our Brierley guide book that Caldas de Reis has thermal waters that have gushed from its ground source at a constant 40 degrees for hundreds of years and that they continue to benefit from its waters as a major health spa … that would have been a great idea for any pilgrim!

But instead, we’ve walked over to a street restaurant where we’ve enjoyed a nice meal.

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Yippee, lunch time!

After we’ve had our late lunch, we’ve taken the time to stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens along the shaded banks of the river Umia.

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A view over the river Umia in the botanical gardens

We’ve bought a few snacks to nibble on before we went to bed, as well as for the road tomorrow. And then I’ve remembered my words to Berto about a “glass of wine tonight” … we’ve immediately returned to a café next to the river and ended the day with a crisp glass of wine from the region we’ve walked through today 😃.

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That promised glass of wine to end another day on the Camino

Now, it is less than 50km to Santiago – 2 more days of walking …

Categories: Portuguese Camino (April 2018)

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