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Published: September 7th 2019
Today I plan on walking 23.5 kms from Arcade to A Portela-Barro to stay at the municipal albergue there. The lady at the hotel/albergue desk supposedly made a reservation for me, although from what I’d read they don’t take reservations. She also called TuiTrans to transport my backpack. Apparently, I'm going completely through one stage, so the charge is 12 Euros instead of the normal 7. Also, she indicated that there were no more albergues where I could make reservations, and that TuiTrans would not be able to transport my backpack after today either! I am not looking forward to walking with my backpack again, but… little or no choice.
I was up and ready to go by 7am, so out the door I went, feeling fairly spry. After I left Arcade behind, I had some fairly steep and rough trails to take, with some gravel and paved roads along the way, and no cafes or bars for almost 2 hours. About half an hour down the trail I passed a guy setting up by the side of the trail to run a donativo, where you take water, or fruit, etc. and leave what you want to pay for it.
Right after that, I passed someone’s idea of the Alto Perdon statues on the Camino Frances. There were a couple of pilgrims, one leading a child, then a church, I suppose representing the cathedral in Santiago. Finally, just before 9am, I reached my first rest stop at Casa Fermin in Vilaboa, a ways before Pontevedra. After a nice cup of coffee and a restroom break, I was back on the trail heading towards Pontevedra, one of the common layovers on the Camino Portuguese.
When I entered Pontevedra, I soon discovered that apparently today (or this weekend) was some sort of special celebration or fiesta, since there were medieval decorations and booths set up all over the place. Just before entering Pontevedra, a young female pilgrim came whizzing by me, and I walk fairly quickly. I was able to keep her in sight until went up a hill and followed the Camino arrows up and around to an allbergue, where I found her sitting there with 2 male pilgrims, waiting for the albergue to open. This seemed strange, since it was not even 10am yet. Who stops for the day that early, especially one walking that quickly, in sandals no
less? Oh well. I wound my way back down to the main Camino and continued on through Pontevedra, a rather large town/city. I reached the river and had to follow a detour over a very modern bridge instead of the older one usually shown for Pontevedra. Just before San Cayetano I passed a very neat old church or monastery, then saw what looked like another good place for a rest stop called Stop San Cayetano. Since I’d passed through Pontevedra and hadn’t stopped anywhere for over two hours, I figured I’d check it out, along with a few other pilgrims. Apparently, it wasn’t any sort of café or bar, just a small building with a couple of vending machines and bathrooms. Welcome enough anyways, and they had a coffee machine, I decided to take a short break there. There was a very young couple there also, the girl from Poland and the guy from Italy. Apparently they had met during some sort of student exchange and were on vacation enjoying each other’s company. They also told me they were camping out some nights! We walked together for a ways, even though their pace was a bit slower then mine, until
we came upon two other pilgrims walking that wanted to introduce themselves. One was a middle-aged guy and the other was a much older lady. They were both from the USA, Los Angeles to be exact, and had met at their church there and apparently both decided to do part of the Camino Portuguese, from Tui. The guy was probably in his 40s, but the lady told us she was 83 ½ years old! They wanted to take photos with us, so we obliged. After a couple photos, the young couple started on, but the guy asked if he could take one more photo with just me and the lady. After that photo, I continued on but never caught up with the young couple again.
Around 12:30, I spotted a nice looking place for lunch called La Pousada do Peregrino in San Amaro. Since I figured my hostel might not have anything to eat until our communal dinner, I stopped and had a chicken empanada (sort of a sandwich) which was delicious, and a coke to refresh me since it had gotten pretty hot. I’d already checked the app on my phone to make sure of the directions, since
the albergue was a little off the main Camino. A little less than an hour further down the trail, I arrived at my destination for the day, the municipal Albergue de A Portela-Barro. Unfortunately, even though it was already 2pm, my backpack hadn’t arrived yet. I put what I had in my daypack on my bed to reserve it and went out back to relax and enjoy one of the albergue’s Cokes while I waited. Sure enough, about an hour later, my backpack arrived.
Tonight, the albergue has a communal dinner where we all sit down together for dinner. Sometimes that means everybody chips in food and other times, like this one when there is no supermarket nearby, the albergue provides the dinner as part of your stay. Dinner included wine (which I passed on), water, gazpacho, bread of course, a nice salad, tortilla de patatas (potato omelet), and fried Spanish padron peppers. I didn’t try the salad, but everything else was very good.
Currently I am planning on making it to Santiago in three more days, the 10th of September. Hopefully my back won’t let me down. I should know better tomorrow night and be able to
get tickets to return to Jerez de la Frontera where my brother-in-law will pick me up. So far, from what I’ve found online, flying is the cheapest way to go, at less than 80 euros, with trains at 160 euros and busses at over 110. The problem with flying is that I’d arrive late at night and have to spend the night in the airport at Madrid to catch the flight to Jerez the next morning.
Tomorrow I hope to put on my backpack and trudge my way from here to O Pino (Valga) for my next leg. See you then.
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