Winter arrived way too early in Minnesota this year and we are still in the midst of a pandemic. I guess I’ll just have to rely on one of the many lessons learned while hiking… embrace the suck.
I find joy in living day to day, not in the future.
August 17, 2018 | 26.5 kilometers | Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
Apparently, we missed a huge celebration during the night and as we leave our hostel a little after 5 a.m. we find a young man slumped over a table. This larger facility has a security system, so this sleepy young man most likely found himself locked out of the building after partying. Oh well…
The groups of men huddled together near alleyways (especially near the ATM machine) bring our guard up a notch. Leaving town poses to be challenging in the dark, but friendly, young revelers help us out with directions to the river, so we find our way to cross the long bridge. An older gentleman on his early morning walk is also kind enough to give us a detailed city map and directions.
Why the early start? It appears no beds are available to reserve in our destination of Caldas de Reis, so we opt to race for the 50 beds at the Municipal Albergue. Excitement fills the air as we count out backpacks in line and discover we made the cut-off…46, 47, 48! The crowd of fellow pilgrims cheer along with us, Yay, Minnesota! We wait until the 1 p.m. opening and continue to stand in line as each pilgrim is slowly checked in. As we get closer to the building entrance we are able to chat with friends already checked in as they leave to shower at the city pool since the albergue showers are dirty. I overhear others leaving to go to the drug store to purchase bed bug spray. No big deal… at least it’s a bed and we’ll survive. We get within 4 people and discover they only have a total of 42 beds (per small hand written sign in door) and we are turned away.
Luckily, an assertive (Irishman that lives in Italy?) man with excellent Spanish speaking skills takes on the role of advocate for all of us waiting in line. The albergue employees say they can do nothing as there are no beds available in the whole town, so we all must start walking the 10 kilometers to the next town, (Even though it is now mid-afternoon.) Our spokesperson continues to argue and scolds them for not cutting off the line of pilgrims hours earlier to allow time for those of us without beds to walk on. He insists the community must attempt to accommodate this overflow of pilgrims and proceeds to call the police, churches and hospital to no avail. Not one to give up, he continues to plead his (our) case. Like a true Camino miracle, affordable beds a short walk away and just a few Euros more than the public albergue magically become available. Yes, the Camino provides…
Our Camino Angel advocate is still very upset with the municipal albergue and the unprepared, unresponsive community, so he continues walking down the road. I hope he finds a bed.
Thursday, August 16, 2018 | Cesantes to Pontevedra |
Albergue included breakfast for a fee so arrangements had been made for an early start to try and beat the afternoon heat. The number of pilgrims has increased substantially since Tui, so the odds of scoring beds, especially bottom bunks, appear to be slim to none in Pontevedra. Thus, we have a reservation at a hostal across the street from the public albergue. No worries today.
A large grocery store is within walking distance so the evening meal consists of lettuce salads and pizza washed down with wine, all consumed in our cozy little room.
Absolutely no available beds to be found in the next destination of Caldas de Reis so it’s early to bed ~ tomorrow will be an epic bed race for the 50 municipal albergue beds listed in the Brierley book. Can we do it?
Tuesday, August 14, 2018: Excitement fills the air as we make our way from Portugal to Spain. The albergue in Pedreira was kind enough to pack a breakfast for us the night before since we are leaving well before sunrise.
We arrive at our destination city, Porrino, and proceed to get lost. Oh, well… we wanted to complete some extra credit hiking today, anyway, to cross over the 30 kilometer mark.
Senda Sur, Porrino, was a great albergue with super bunks, nice showers/bathrooms. The small kitchenette facilities were quite basic, but all we need is a way to heat water for instant coffee in the morning and we’re happy!
I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I know it won’t be boring.
A pilgrim walks through the cooler air of a tunnel on a hot day along the Camino de Santiago. Impressionistic effect created using Topaz Studio.
It seems as though every popular European cathedral has a sad-looking woman at its door soliciting donations. You feel the tug at your heart-strings and you just want to help such a desperate soul.
I have no problem with charitable giving, but I don’t like to be scammed or have my items stolen.
A list of some popular scams can be found by clicking this link: Tourist Scams and Rip-Offs by Rick Steves
We enjoy the wonderful people we have met across the globe, but some precautions are necessary. We have found value in dressing down (no flashy or expensive items showing), saying no when needed, being aware of people/surroundings while making any money transactions and keeping passport/money secure and under wraps.
Travel is not a reward for working, it’s an education for living. ~ The Travel Channel
The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other …again and again and again. If you can find beauty every step of the way, you are truly blessed.
An early start to a thirty kilometer walk today with random conversations and historic villages along the way. I arrive at the steps reaching the bridge into Logrono catching the tourist information office gentleman at the top just as he is about ready to close. The excellent map he gives me makes my journey to tonight’s lodging a piece of cake allowing me time to pay it forward and help another young pilgrim find the municipal albergue in time for her to get a bed.
Seems like I’m just getting my trail legs and this Camino has ended. The departure process now begins with a bus, three planes, my very first Uber ride until my little red car takes me all the way back to the border of Minnesota/South Dakota.
It may be time to go home, but it’s never too early to start planning the next adventure… I am truly blessed.
Cold, rain and fog accompany us as we walk through the Pyrennees from Refuge Orrison to Roncesvalles. The thumping sound of large, raindrops pelt against my rain gear… a constant drumming throughout the day. Soaked gloves offer no protection from the cold resulting in numb fingers and toes. Large flocks of sheep hunker down together, staring at the passing Pilgrims as if to say, …and they say sheep are dumb. We later discover that the mountain was closed to those leaving St. Jean that day.
Maybe I do feel like a hiking beast…
The following stretch from Roncesvalles to Larrasoana provides a much better day for hiking with plenty of photo opportunities due to the pleasant weather. I am much more appreciative of this wonderful weather today due to the rough weather yesterday. Minnesotans learn this lesson early in life.