25 September 2016, Sunday, Pontevedra to Caldes del Reis


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September 25th 2016
Published: October 19th 2016
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25 September 2016, Sunday, day 25, Pontevedra to Caldes de Reis, 23 kilometers. Hotel O Cruceiro Center

Fitbit: 65 stairs, 13.58 miles, 31,085 steps

Today, last nights rain had stopped and the moist air created some fog and low clouds as we passed over the old bridge leaving Pontevedra. Brierley accurately describes today's walk."One third of this stage is along natural pathways through woodland along gentle river valleys which we share with the rail line. ..Approaching Caldas de Reis we hop on and off the N-550 but the stretches are short and level with good sight lines...there are few bars or cafes." It was mostly on secondary roads and wooded farm tracts with a few stretches along busy N-550. Many vineyards were along the route.

We stopped at the very old church, Igrexa de Santa Maria del Alba, and looked at the interesting figures, crosses and stone art work along the walls.

Then got a peek in through an open door at two goats chewing their cud.

At one point in a few 100 meters I could count 18 pilgrims. We were passed by many more today. Moira and Jo viewed an ancient wayside cross showing
The wide view of the paradorThe wide view of the paradorThe wide view of the parador

Yesterday we photographed the bikers arriving in the gateway.
St. James at a angle with a staff and looking towards Compostela. Beyond this cross was a wall and gate that lead to a park with picnic tables, play equipment and more that looked very inviting. next we saw a lady walking a goat and a man, boy and dog walking another goat. They staked them both in a field of grass near each other. Jo thinks they may be going to raise baby goats?

It was a 9 kilometers climb to our first cafe and coffee. We left the small hamlet of San Amaro with the café about 11:45 and opted to walk for another 5 km before eating our lunch sandwiches.

After enjoying the goats we decide we are hungry and there is nary a cafe or picnic bench to light and enjoy our usual pilgrim lunch of roll, ham and cheese. So we all assume different positions along a ditch bank hoping to remain upright as we munch away. An older woman comes by and stops to chat. She pulls out an apple and tells us, as she enjoys her fruit, she is from Kauai, Hawaii. She inquires as to where we will be spending the night and how to get to the next town. We become a little concerned as she appears to have done little planning for the trip. All at once Moira thrusts herself into the role of a true pilgrim and remembers she had made complete copies of maps along our route and gives them to the lady who is very delighted. One meets so many other pilgrims and you wonder how their Camino unfolded. In most cases one can only "pray them on their way" and wish for them a Buen Camino!"

As we walk by the many grape vines we see the posts of the trellis' are cut from stone - granite. I have wondered if the stone posts are holding up the grapevines or if the grapevines are holding up the stone posts. We pass a man and woman loading grapes they have just picked into the back of their small pickup. They gave us a sample. A portion of the camino actually 'walks' under a grape arbor for some distance on the way into Caldes de Reis.

There are many items commemorating the evangelism of the apostle St. James in this area. We learned while walking the next days that many pilgrims reenact the final voyage of St. James. They take a boat from Vilanova just beyond Pontevedra to Padron much like his disciples when they brought his body back to Iberia.

Julian and Moira are at the accommodation we had asked for and did not receive. The bonuses of their lodging are; the dining room has windows that extend over the river and they have a sunny upper story deck on which they can dry their clothes! Our hotel is down the way and very 'blah.' It obviously caters to tour groups as the 'lobby (but not really a lobby just a hall) is stacked high with incoming luggage. There is no seating in the area, the rooms are 'vanilla' and all is bland. On the plus side it is clean-period. I would rather have a few dust bunnies and have accommodations with a little personality.

Ah, but we are looking forward to the authentic Taberna O'Munio and a wonderful meal. Our Briarley book says, " by the bridge on the way in to town where you can eat inexpensively with the locals down by the river. The camarero (waiter) is wont to wipe the sweat of his brow with the self-same cloth that wipes the glasses, but if you've made it this far you should survive and even enjoy the experience." This will make up for ho-hum rooms! So, we set off to meet Julian and Moira at the restaurant but we see them on the street and yes, looks as if the joint is shuttered. Now that does not mean the proprietor might not come by and decide to open at 8:30! But, we are hungry and cast our eye around and see a cafe with tables outside, viewing the river, and tables inside. We sit down and a sweet waitress comes and says we are too early for dinner so we have a cool drink. Last year I could not get enough tonic water. This year the drink of choice is KAS carbonated water, Lemon flavor. We see the waitress is having her dinner and shortly, before the appointed hour for dinner to begin, she comes for our order. We were very appreciative. And dinner was delicious. This is certainly a local hot spot. Couples with young families and babies in buggies squeeze in; businessmen stop in for a
 Scallop shell motif on this house. Scallop shell motif on this house. Scallop shell motif on this house.

The whole wall is made from real shells
drink, pick up the newspaper for a quick skimming; and, the staff is also preparing for a very large party to arrive for dinner. It is a comfortable atmosphere and a good ending for the day.

After dinner we show Moira and Julian some of the hot spring fountains and pools with pilgrims lining the edges.


Additional photos below
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Karen beside the Santa Maria Church doorKaren beside the Santa Maria Church door
Karen beside the Santa Maria Church door

And the man on bench is named in previous photo
Just eight minutes later we see this ancient crossJust eight minutes later we see this ancient cross
Just eight minutes later we see this ancient cross

The figure of St. James with staff and looking toward Compostela.
This couple had just picked several baskets of grapes to load in their truck. This couple had just picked several baskets of grapes to load in their truck.
This couple had just picked several baskets of grapes to load in their truck.

They offered us a bunch and they were delicious. The white grapes are what the Albarino wine is made from.


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