Monday May 21 Redondela to Pontevedra (Day 8)

Last night’s sleep at this modern private albergue, Santiago Apostol de Redondela was restful for both of us. Joon had her ear plugs, and I have this innate talent that I can sleep anywhere, sometimes instantly (I have been known to drop off to sleep at times before the plane even takes off!). I did get a couple of bites during the night, but Dr. Joon diagnosed it wasn’t bed bugs, probably some small insect. Small matter.

When I woke up a couple of times during the night, I didn’t hear any snoring. Most of the beds were occupied by ladies, and I guess there were at most 3 other males in the 16 beds. You know the game, if you can’t see the tag, you are probably ‘it’. Hopefully, my snores were not excessively loud to my neighboring fellow pilgrims!

TIP: Pack everything in your backpack before you sleep, except for toiletries, clothes for next day’s walk and shoes. That way, you minimize disturbing your fellow pilgrims when you leave early in the morning.

Today’s route is 20km/12miles from the guidebook (22km/13.8 miles Fitbit). While the distance is more manageable, it’s the two uphill climbs that would be challenging.

I woke up just before 6am. I think we were either the first or second to start getting ready. By the time we were downstairs away from the beds, there was 2 other individuals and a couple that were also ready to have their own breakfast and depart from albergue.

This albergue, Santiago Apostol de Redondela, impressed us, opening up in 2017. A short description for those who wonder what an albergue is like. Per previous day’s post, the bunk beds basically are outfitted with foam mattress pads and one pillow. On check in, the staff handed us single-use mattress sheet and pillow cover. One takes the blanket or a comforter from a shelf (some pilgrims bring their own treated sleeping bags or liners). The incidence of thefts probably follows Haley’s comet appearances but it is best to be prudent. This albergue even had lockers so that pilgrims could lock up their stuff before heading into town. It had 2 shared shower stalls for men and women respectively, and one full bathroom per 16 bunk bed dormitory. 2 dormitories in the building. A kitchen area, a washer, an outdoor drying area, an eating area, a coffee machine. The charge is Euro 10 per person. Pilgrims are allowed one night, and one must have a pilgrim credential to stay in. We booked this via booking.com as it’s privately operated.

TIP: Figure out, or ask beforehand where the Yellow Arrowed Road runs the evening before. We probably wandered the streets for 10-15mins today before we were able to ask some locals and get onto the right route.

Walking uphill in the hot afternoon is like having a tooth drilling without anesthesia. In the mornings, the drilling is with anesthesia. Comprehendo? 🙂

The views today were spectacular, with the waters, the boats, the homes on the hill and the stone bridge in Arcade/Ponte Sampaio. This was the location where there was a major battle whereupon the Spanish troops allied with local militias defeated Napoleon’s troops led by Marshal Michel Ney. Such history deserves some lingering time, no?

Our first ‘peep’ at the beautiful scene that will unfold shortly.

How idyllic and tranquil a spot for reading a book.

A wondrous bay to behold.

We are used to seeing 3:2 aspect ratio pictures. Above is 1:1 aspect ratio.

I wanted to figure the bridge more prominently in this shot. My camera strap seems to have snuck in front of camera lens. Rookie mistake!

The bridge where the famous battle was waged. The middle section was destroyed during said battle.

During our walk so far, we have come across one other couple who are as photographic oriented as we are. Like us, they stop, pause, appreciate and capture a picture. Others prefer having picnics in serene outdoor settings. Others rest by streams and brooks. One girl even read a book under a tree. The destination town/city will always be there, but only you determine the quality of the journey. Don’t let the pace of fellow pilgrims detract you from your own desired journey.

As we came down the forested trail, we found this entrepreneur offering a stamp (‘sello’) as well as fruits, Camino shells/momentoes, snack bars. etc. I love it!

Location, location, location. The secret to earning the pilgrims’ business!

Creative marketing. The distances to respective destinations are marked on the soles.

I have noted this before in earlier postings, that not an insignificant number of homes have vegetable plots, even in city residential estates. This is obviously more pronounced when we are outside the cities. Here’s another picture in the outskirts today.

This home has allocated half of the front garden for a vegetable plot!

To Americans, this seems a way to have more organic vegetables for one’s meals. Its fresher and healthier, from garden to kitchen. There’s also personal satisfaction in growing some of what we consume.

However, I venture that for the Portuguese and Spanish, there’s a deeper and more significant aspect of these vegetable gardens. It’s their way of being ‘connected to the land’, to Mother Earth. It’s not just stocking one’s kitchen pantry with one’s own produce, but having a mind set, an attitude of gratitude and harmony with Mother Earth. It creates a kinship with Nature, and therefore, taking care of Mother Earth. It’s almost akin to how Native Americans live on the lands, before the Mayflower Pilgrims arrived. Imagine if every household could have a vegetable plot, what a revolution we would have!

There was a photographic moment when the sun was breaking though the clouds on a misty valley. I tried to photograph it with both my cameras, but failed miserably. Perhaps some scenes are never to be captured.

TIP: Have your walking partner, companion check how the backpack is sitting on your body. After Mr. Left Hip complained incessantly this morning, Eagle Eye Joon commented that my backpack wasn’t entirely centered on my back. I had adjusted my side straps to account for a camera that was on my left shoulder strap, but that caused the backpack to be off center. After some strap adjustments, the backpack sat better.

Today was Aussie day as we met and chatted with a number of Aussie pilgrims. One couple, Steve & Dee were holding a similar guidebook to Andrew & Debra that we met in Esposende. Turns out they both used the same company and know each other. We met three Belarus girls at a spot where I volunteered to take their group picture. The girls gave us a nice momento and we reciprocated with needed ear plugs for one of the girls. It turned out that our 8 Malaysians had left their flag at this spot and we ran into the group later. Small world indeed.

A group of Malaysian ladies on the Camino. Malaysia Boleh.

Our stay tonight is with Rosa, our delightful and warm Airbnb host. Her place is just 2 mins from Iglesia de la Peregrina, where the Yellow Arrowed Road runs by. The historical center of Pontevedra is a quarter that is adjacent to this Iglesia.

Rosa is a fount of knowledge about the area. She could recommend the restaurants and dishes. She could highlight the places to visit/sight-see. We have not regretted our Airbnb choices except for the one in Valenca. She went out of the way to get us some fruits too! Contact me if you wish to have her property details.

TIP: As pilgrims, we sometimes get the impression that the Pilgrim’s Menu at restaurants are the best deal. That is not always the case. We spotted an Asian restaurant near the railway station, and went in, based on the Pilgrims Menu @Euro 7.50. However, they had a buffet spread for Euro 10. No prizes for guessing what we ended up with!

This was truly an extensive spread, that we did more than our best!

Since Food was the 3rd theme, here’s our dinner dishes.

Grilled peppers, Padron style.

Pan grilled scallops. Yummy yummy.

Calamari, as good as it gets.

One of the special visits was the Sanctuary of the Apparitions. Those who visited or read about Fatima know about Sister Lucia, one of the three children who met with Mother Mary. In 1925, Sister Lucia was visited by Mother Mary and Jesus in the Dorothean Convent in Pontevedra! We were able to pray in the actual chapel where Mother Mary appeared to Sister Lucia. A very special spiritual moment for us. We didn’t make it to the garden where Jesus appeared to Sister Lucia, but it’s in the same Sanctuary.

Pontevedra will hold a special place in our Camino.

Author: Ben & Joon

Residents in the great Pacific North West. Living life as it happens, learning our purpose and trail blazing our own paths. Namaste.

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