Pontevedra – Caldas de Reis
19 April 2018
We enjoyed a good night’s rest. It’s amazing what your own little room and bathroom can do for your morale!
And the icing on the cake this morning: To receive our clean laundry from the friendly staff of Casa Maruja. On our way out, they greeted us with “Buen Camino” … yes, it certainly put a spring in our step (or in my case, in my blistered feet).
Beautiful Burgo bridge:
The first magnificent sight we saw, was within the first kilometer after leaving Casa Maruja – the beautiful Ponte do Burgo. Near the bridge we could see the excavations of the foundations of the original Roman bridge, but it was closed with barriers and we couldn’t really take pictures. But the Burgo Bridge was picture perfect in the glory of the morning sun!
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 negotiate our way through Pontevedra and its suburbs until we reached a quiet road that took us past a bird observatory and wetland sanctuary.
Follow the yellow arrows past the wetland sanctuary, on the way to Santiago
A group of school children:
At a wide road, which fortunately did not produce too much traffic (as far as cars are concerned), we found a large group of school children! It looked like they were on a school outing … which they seemed to be enjoying a lot as there was a lot of laughter and chatter among the young crowd. They had two teachers who accompanied them (and did a great job of keeping everyone together).
A big group of school children walking in front of us
It took us a while to walk past them, but they politely let us through and greeted us with a cheery “Buen Camino”. On the Camino, the road belongs to everyone … and it was good to see young people also spending time in nature (even though it might be forced).
In the woodlands:
We continued near the railway line for quite a while before walking into the hamlet of Pontecabras. From here we crossed the busy main road until we reached a path that took us through dense woodlands.
A scenic route through woodlands
As we got closer to Santiago, we saw more and more pilgrims
A short stop at Café do Peregrino:
After walking almost 10km, we reached San Amaro where the popular Café do Peregrino is located. We stopped here for coffee and rested for a while outside under the umbrellas.
The school group arrived a little while after us and suddenly the café became as busy as a train station! We waited patiently for them to finish their purchases before picking up our backpacks and starting walking again.
Walk past the school group (again):
However, it wasn’t long before we caught up with the school group again. This time the kids walking behind were listening to Spanish pop music on a speaker system. We quickly passed them – to the rhythm of their music.
It’s the school group again
The hiking trail continued through another woodland area and it was now just the two of us and a few pilgrims on the road.
A tranquil walk through a woodland
Although we enjoyed the company of the children on the way, it was nice to have some quiet time again! The Camino now took us through beautiful fields and on dirt roads. This was the ideal time to reflect a little on our Camino so far.
Walking was blissful on the quiet country roads
The soldiers (again):
We also came across the soldiers we saw two days ago. They were resting in the shade of large trees when we walked past them.
The soldiers’ ambulance truck
Meeting our French pilgrim friends (again):
We saw a small café on our left, Café Muinada de Barosa, and decided it was a good time to enjoy freshly squeezed orange juice as it was quite hot. As we sat outside, our pilgrim friends from France also walked in. It was nice to see them again and we took the opportunity to take some photos.
Berto enjoying a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice
Our pilgrim friends from France (we met them for the first time in Porrino two days ago)
Is this a wine region?
From here we walked along short stretches of vineyards that ran parallel to the road. I told Berto that this meant we should be in a wine area and that we should definitely have a glass of wine tonight!
Vineyards on our way to Caldas de Reis
The soldiers (again)!
It wasn’t long before we saw the soldiers again. They didn’t pass us, which means there must either be more than one group or they are following a different route than us. But they greeted us so kindly that I’m sure it must have been the same group!
Our soldier-pilgrim friends
That ambulance looked very inviting for my blistered feet
We continued on the quiet country roads and every now and then we joined the main road before finding the dirt roads again.
We saw many horses during our Camino
Welcome to Caldas de Reis:
After a lovely walk we finally arrived in Caldas de Reis. It was a day filled with school children, soldiers, a reunion with our French pilgrim friends, as well as peaceful forest walks … well, that’s the Camino for you!
Medieval stone bridge over the Bermana River
Time for a beer:
After crossing the bridge, we saw several cafés and decided that we should definitely stop first for that “welcome drink” in our overnight town.
Two of my favourites on the Camino … my husband and a cerveza
While we enjoyed a cold beer at the café, the soldiers marched across the bridge. Did we beat them? No, probably not.
The soldiers on the medieval stone bridge
Accommodation – Caldas de Reis:
We checked into a Pension again for the night (that treat from last night was great) and we were welcomed into a beautiful room at Pension As Burgas.
A great room for a pilgrim
After doing our laundry, we explored more of Caldas de Reis. We read in our Brierley guidebook that Caldas de Reis has thermal waters that have flowed 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 – just what a weary pilgrim needs!
But alas, we were more in the mood for a nice plate of food than a spa and found a street restaurant that served a delicious meal.
Lovely Botanical Gardens:
After enjoying our late lunch, we found our way to the beautiful botanical gardens located along the shady banks of the Umia River. It’s such a lovely place to just sit and relax, especially after a long day of walking.
A view over the Umia River in the botanical gardens
That glass of wine:
We bought some snacks to take on the road tomorrow. And then I remembered my words earlier today to Berto about “a glass of wine tonight”. We immediately returned to a café by the river and ended the day with a glass of cold white wine from the region we walked through today.
That promised glass of wine to end another day on the Camino
It is now less than 50km to Santiago – which means, only 2 more days of walking ahead of us.
Click here for Day 25 …
4 thoughts on “CAMINO PORTUGUESE – DAY 24”
That bridge and the reflection are stunning. I’m intrigued by the soldiers.
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That bridge is one of my most beautiful memories on the Camino – early morning is the best time to be in nature! As for the soldiers, it was a mystery … but they were very friendly, so we were quite comfortable with them around.
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