Camino Portuguese Day 11

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September 9th 2019
Published: September 9th 2019
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Camino Portuguese Day 11:

I tossed and turned a bit again last night, and finally got out of bed before 6:30. There were about 8 or 10 other pilgrims getting ready to leave too. I finally got pack up and was out the door soon after 7am. As usual, the Camino wound its way around the outskirts of small towns and went up and down a lot. There were only a few short stretches of steep climbs today. I guess I set a pretty good pace again, although it took me a couple hours to start catching up with other pilgrims. About an hour and a half later, without any other cafes or rest stops, I came upon another of those self-service pilgrim rest areas or descansos. Having learned my lesson days ago about passing up slightly early rest stops, figuring there would be another soon, I stopped to have a cup of coffee from the machine, use the restroom, and rest my feet. The coffee was as usual from a machine, sort of blah. The restrooms were pay toilets that only took 50 centimos pieces, which I didn’t have, so I hoped I could hold it a while longer.

Around 9am, I got my first view of Pontecesures, one of two bigger towns to pass through today. I quickly walked through the town and out the other side, looking to take a break at the next big town, Padron. About two hours later, just outside Padron, I saw a sign pointing off the Camino saying there was a bar called Bar O Descanso only 50 meters away, so I went for it. After a good cup of coffee and a while with my shoes off and toes wiggling, I was back down to the Camino heading for Padron. I was a bit surprised to reach O Faramello, my destination for today, just past noon. I’d walked around 20 kilometers in about 5 hours, so not bad. Unfortunately, about an hour before I got there, my left calf started to hurt. I pushed through it and got to my albergue, Albergue Calabazas de Peregrino. From the ap I was using I’d expected a bit more, which is why I’d picked it over the municipal albergue. It is in an older building with all the beds upstairs in two rooms, with no kitchen and no vending machines. They do have WiFi though, and they sell cold drinks, and food in a small restaurant. After stowing my gear and putting on one of the gel heat pads I’d brought for my calf, I went back downstairs to see about lunch. Apparently the cook hadn’t shown up, so I went back up and watched a bit of the Good Witch series on my tablet. When I went back down, I discovered a cord across the stairs the a large shutter over the reception area. They were closed at the time for some reason! Needing something to eat, I started walking back down the hill to the café I’d seen somewhat occupied when I came into town. Well, they were closed too, so I turned around and went back and then walked another kilometer I imagine, almost all of it uphill, until I finally found a Café Bar that was open. I ordered a good portion of Ensaladilla Russa (Russian Potato Salad) and a helping of flan (custard) for dessert. The salad was quite tasty and more than I could finish, if I wanted to eat my dessert. The flan was exquisite!

After lunch, I walked back down to my albergue. The reception was open again, but they didn’t seem to be serving food yet. I grabbed a Coke and sat up in my bed to make reservations for tomorrow’s hostel and figure out how I was going to get back down to Chipiona. I picked Meiga Backpackers Hotel because they had WiFi and a ktichen and quickly reserved a bed. Soon afterwards, I got a confirmation email. Next, I needed to find a way back south to Chipiona, or Jerez de la Frontera, to join my wife. There was an Iberian flight on Wednesday which would be perfect, except for the fact that I’d have to spend 9 or 10 hours in the airport in Madrid before continuing onward. I decided to go for it anyways, since it was actually cheaper than by bus or train. I spent the next 30 minutes trying to make a reservation, but I had to join Iberia Plus and something on that website wasn’t working. I tried Kayak instead, for the same flight, but then they sent me straight back to the Iberia website! I gave up and looked for a train instead. I thought I’d picked train as transport, but then good old Busbud came up (the same website that I’d used to get from Jerez to Porto), and I realized it was a bus instead of a train, although the price was about as good as the plane was. Oh well, I was getting tired of fighting it and went ahead and bought the tickets. I leave in the early evening the day after tomorrow and get into Jerez the next morning around 8am. My wife asked me to buy a bus ticket from there to Chipiona so nobody would have to take off from work to come get me.

Right now, I’m waiting to find some place to eat some sort of dinner, then I’ll probably lie in my bed and watch more episodes of The Good Witch. Tomorrow I make the final walk of 13 kilometers to the Cathedral in Santiago. I’ll check into my hostal, then take care of my Pilgrim Credentials, getting a new certificate to put on the wall. I’ll try to get someone to take a photo of me in front of the cathedral to add to tomorrow’s post. Buen Camino!

Oh, I forgot to mention that after I checked into the albergue and turned on WiFi, I got a message from Silvia. She and her husband walked most of the last 100 kms of the Camino Frances with me. I knew they planned on doing another Camino of sorts this year, but they’d told me they couldn’t get vacation in time to join me in Porto for that Camino, but instead were going to do the Camino from Santiago to Finesterre (the end of the world), and then maybe some other section. Lo and behold, she said they would be arriving in Santiago tomorrow, the same day as me!

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