Po.10. Sernadelo – Albergaria-a-Velha

Today I write again in my almost not perfect English. I wake up this night at 04.30 to go to the toilet, went back and tried to sleep more. A bit difficult because it seems that my hours asleep are the same as at home. But here I sleep earlier which means I wake up also earlier. Even after a long walk…..

I start walking at a quarter to 7. And I don’t know yet where I will stop today. When following the books and Gronze it will be again a short day, but I already decided to walk longer, how much I don’t know yet.

The sky is blue with white and some darker clouds, the temperature is ok. So walking, walking and the train starts to leave the station….

I get a rhythm like a Diesel locomotive, it’s going on and on and on. I pass some other pilgrims, new pilgrims and familiar pilgrims. At 9.30 I stop to buy some water and a lemonade, a bit further 2 paô Bico to eat during my walk. I haven’t seen any walking pilgrims anymore, but several on bics.

The weather stays good. Warm and cooler and warm, it is not as hot as yesterday.

At noon I arrive in a village where I could stay for the night, just walked 26k….. but it’s still early…. I take a lunch at a cafeteria and go on, the next place to have a overnight is 12k ahead, 2,5 hours of walk, just ok with me, I still feel good.

Half way this last stretch I see also an albergue….. but this is just a very very small village, I will walk on.

In Albergaria-a-Velha is an albergue at the center of the village, I will stay there for overnight, my real first night in a dormitory, a room for 7 and you’ll need to use your sleeping bag…… The first time… Lucky I am the first in this room so I can choose my bed, near the window with side table and socket.

First phone home, then take a shower, do the laundry (lavandaria). Just waiting now for the wash to finish, then in the dryer, some shopping for tomorrow, go back to the albergue and wait to go to the restaurant for a small diner. Albergue closes at 20.00 so I have to be on time back……

 

Po.09. Coimbra – Sernadelo

This time I write in English and not Dutch. The previous days I wrote in Dutch and let Google translate it to English. The reason so many people wrote me about my poor English..😉

My fifth day this year on the Caminho and 9th on the Portugese in total. Leaving a big city and moving on to the last big city in Portugal, Porto, but that one is still ahead.

Just left the overnight stay at 7.15 this morning because it’s going to be a short day, only 25 km.

According to what I have read the stretch would be long. And when you follow the most guides they make a stop here.

It looked cloudy this morning and the forecast was rain in the morning, that was what I read yesterday. Today the forecast is rain after 13.00.

In the first Street I already see a pilgrim and walking out of Coimbra 2 more. Later on I meet a group of Americans, some with and some without backpacks.

At my first stop I meet the 4 from Verona again. When I pick up my trail I meet a man from Rotterdam who’s walking his 5th Camino. After a second break a walk a bit with a Frenchman who walks pretty quick.

I arrive at just 10 past 12 at the albergue, a bit early. I get my room and have a short break. Lunch at the restaurant and take a shower. Water from the Mercado as well as some food for breakfast. In the evening I just have a small diner, make my report and go to sleep. Tomorrow another new day.

 

Po.08. Rabaçal – Coimbra

Today I woke up early by noises in the albergue. It was half past 5, still a while dosing and then got up anyway. Around 6.30 started out of stage four, actually number 8 ….

 

There are already pilgrims and there are also still in the albergue, but now one less. I’m the thread where I left off yesterday and walking again so the Caminho to continue to walk on gravel again after a piece of asphalt. Now there are also some more vines along the way in the field.

 

The road to some small villages and after a half hour I see already the first pilgrim, Korea is walking again in front. Will she find her purpose at Camino what she is looking for?

 

It still goes back tough up and down. The hill to Coînimbra is spicy. There is mentioned along the way that you can get a stamp at the ticket office … .. But then I have to wait at least one hour until to 10 o’clock.

 

It gets busy here there is a trailrun which will start at 9am. So I walk on otherwise I might run with them .. In a cafeteria take coffee, sweets and water. Here I talk with the four men from Verona, they each speak a dialect, 2 can speak a little bit English.

 

Not too long I must continue on to the next stop. The sky shows dark clouds and sometimes white … .. Does it dry or is there still some showers.

 

Fortunately it remains dry, only later in Coimbra I feel a few drops. The road continues alternating, asphalt, gravel, rock and mountain. Around 11 pm I am back for a drink, help the local cafeteria. The man who served me also speaks three words Dutch: Well thank you.

 

If I continue going to get the two young German women inside that I already had seen earlier today and yesterday in the albergue.

 

I follow my path again, it will now continue to Coimbra with a steep slope there, according to the maps. It is a descent because we have to cross a river. Yes we are, I walk back with Fred, the last half hour we are together again. As we cross the bridge he needs right at the end and I left.

 

Bye for now …. We do not know when we’ll meet again. He has no idea where it stops tomorrow, I do not. But I feel like number one can so keep in touch.

 

The room I reserved have been run in a guest house in an old building by older couple. Nothing fancy, but old but clean. Later explored the city and in the evening Italian.

 

Tomorrow at 7 am on the road, it is only 25 km.

Po.07. Alvaiazere – Rabaçal

And again there is a new day … .. We have again completed a stage. Why everytime we, it’s me … .. I am now in  Rabaçal. Tomorrow the road to Coimbra, going less then 30+ kilometers … .. Today I awoke again at 6 am and already left after 30 minutes, so at half past seven.

 

The morning walk until my first stop was little uphill and downhill. And the first pilgrims I met, walked to Fatima. Later today I heard that there are now 1.5 million pilgrims in Fatima.

 

At the first stop, after about an hour, coffee taken with something tasty and paid of course.

 

Then continue and saw the woman from Korea again. A bit further on a mother and daughter from the Netherlands. They take it easy they have all the time and just want to walk around 15 kilometers per day.

 

The afternoon stop was a small lunch eaten with lots of drink and water bottles. The last part is about 10 kilometers and basically no ability to get anything.

 

The last piece again on and off nobody’s seen. But the route was ok and mainly went on paths with some asphalt roads. And today also the first Portuguese windmill spotted, unfortunately not running.

 

In the albergue are many people from Germany, Norway, USA, Spain, Korea, Portugal and do not forget: Netherlands ……

 

Later still a pilgrim menu and my vlog …. The internet seems to be quickly enough. My blog about yesterday I had this morning already at my first stop uploaded …… …….

Po.05. Golegã – Tomar

Started today just after 07 o’clock in Golegã. There were some clouds in the distance and I thought I could feel a single drop, but it stayed dry all day. At the first cafeteria I drank a large coffee, I had already had breakfast in the Inn. The man behind the bar spoke German, he had worked in Dortmund for several years. After coffee, continue looking for the Camino. Once on the route it would go almost without any problems this day. A country road interspersed with asphalt roads. Wooded area and farmland. Eucalyptus forest, hills with false flat and steep slopes. I walked alone all morning and I don’t mind. Had a break around 11 am, more than 19 km away from the starting point. In a cafeteria 1 can of soda, 1 bottle of cold water and 1 ham sandwich. At another table was also a pilgrim. A nod was enough now. He also left before me. After the break it would still be 11 km to Tomar. After an hour I saw him walking again and looking at his smartphone and basically walking around in circles. I also grabbed my smartphone. After 1 minute we had found the path that we had to take. We then walked together until Tomar, a Norwegian and a Dutch. And during our walk we discussed all world problems, but unfortunately no solutions were found. Just before Tomar he asked if I already had a place to sleep, no I would check if I was in Tomar….. wrong…. Everything would be full because of many Portuguese pilgrims walking to Fatima tomorrow. The first big day since the corona measures started. It was no longer possible to book anything through sites. At the first albergue I knocked on, there was only a private bedroom with shower/toilet available, which I immediately grabbed. On my later round through Tomar, I saw at many b&b and albergues that they were full. So, eat later and then sleep again. And yes I have already arranged a place to sleep for tomorrow in an albergue, again 30 km away, I mean walking. walk-eat-sleep-repeat…..

Po.56. Caldas de Reis – Padron

I stopped writing about our every day morning rituals. So when we stepped out of our overnight stay, we were lucky it didn’t rain (yet). We slept just 100 m away from the trail, other pilgrims had to walk uphill, we just downhill.

After a short while the road began to go up, and somewhere halfway it started to drizzle, so I put on my poncho. Didi had her raincoat on, it’s not raining hard enough to change to the poncho yet.

Other pilgrims still didn’t change there coats, but some walked already with a coat over the backpack. As we went on, the rain started to increase, so Didi also changed to the poncho. The positive thing about the poncho is: you won’t get wet from the rain. The biggest negative element of a poncho? You get wet underneath it of the sweat…

All pilgrims we see have poncho’s, some just a raincoat. And I wonder if the 2 Dutchmen we saw at the cafeteria yesterday, only use their umbrella ☂️.  The rain and wind play with the poncho and make you bigger…. But, just keep smiling…….

Just before 12 we had our lunch break in a cafeteria and during that break the rain increased a lot and the wind blew harder than before. When we started to walk again it was less, so we were lucky to sit inside during that extreme weather.

Didi had some pain when we started to walk again, so our tempo was lower, not forcing more muscles. Luckily most of the trail now was going down. Just before the final village we had small talk with a man born in Portugal and now living in the States. We took a photo with him and went on.

Our hostel was just at the beginning of Padron, so we were in our room just before 2 o’clock. We tested a bit, took a shower, packed our dirty laundry and went to a lavanderia. Just as we wanted to leave the hostel, the for opened and who came in? The Dutch and Belgian friends we met earlier this week. This is the 3rd time we spent the night in the same place. In the lavanderia we got clean clothes for the next days. Just 6 € for washing and drying.

With clean and dry clothes we walked through Padron and visited the Church of Saint James of Padron. Here we get our 2nd stamp of the day. Looking for a restaurant which serves food at 18.00….. No they all open past 19.30…  We go to a supermarket, but some food there and eat at our hostel.

Later that evening we do the other things I write already….. Vlog and blog….. And go to sleep….

Po.55. Pontevedra – Caldas de Reis

I think I stop writing about our first daily activities, because they are always the same…🥱🥱🥱 It’s better to just write the more important parts, about the weather and so on.

We left the hostel at 08.20 to start our 5th walking day. According to the book just 22,2 k. And I can already write here they it’s wrong, it was 22,23 k…..  The day started with a cloudy sky, the sun was hiding and it took a long time to come out… For just a few moments.

Just outside Pontevedra you have to choose if you want to follow the original path, just 3 more days to Santiago, our take the Variante Espiritual, which is 4 days to Santiago. We choose the original way.

We see more pilgrims and new pilgrims everyone and some we already recognise from the days before. After 6 k we have a coffee break at a cafeteria before starting the climb to the top of the only hill of today, San Amaro, just 135 m high. Just like other climbs here in Galiciën there are some steep parts to conquer.

Just past 12 we had a small lunch, sopa, and started our last part to Caldas. Just 10 minutes away and it started to rain. Just hard enough to put on our poncho’s…… And after 15 minutes it stopped. So time to take out the poncho’s again, because you will get wet more under the poncho than the poncho gets wet on the outside……

Entering Caldas around 14.30 and looking out for our address…… We have to walk to the end of the village and just outside, 100 meters from the trail, we found our pension. It’s outside the village. Do if we want to eat or do groceries, we have to walk back to the center… Which we did of course.

Do I still have to report what we did in the evening? I think not, it’s the same as yesterday and the day before, and the day before……

Goodnight….

Po.54. Redondela – Portevedra

Followers already know how our day starts, so I can leave that part out. If you’re a new follower and this is the first part you read, just start at the beginning of our journey, it’s better to start at the beginning.

We had our breakfast in the pension and left around some time…… When we closed the door behind us, we saw the Dutch man from yesterday opening a window above us. He and his companion stayed in the same pension as us. We asked him where they had a reservation for this coming night and would you believe me when I write: the same as ours? Just believe me, it’s true.

We started walking and soon we saw other pilgrims on the road. First in Redondela and than outside in the suburbs and nature. The trail went up and away….. We see a woman selling small items and giving stamps to those how want them. Just making a small but of money from us pilgrims.

We already see some familiar pilgrims on route. And also new ones. Sometimes the trail goes up steep, sometimes down a bit and off course up some more. After we climbed the first hill we walked down to Arcade. At the national road we saw a group coming from the left. These are pilgrims who took the Coastal route from Porto.

In Arcade, just at the other end of the Roman bridge we stopped for a coffee and fruit juice. And a stamp of course…. We need at least 2 stamps a day….. If we want to receive the Compostela in Santiago.

The second part can start, going uphill again. Just outside Arcade we heard a backpipe playing music. Not only in Scotland they play the backpipe but also in some parts of Spain. We walked on and see again 2 people selling small items and giving stamps.

After the 2nd hill we went down passing a area were they are making a new national road, be careful when passing by bike. A bit further I expected a cafeteria so I when left to check, but soon 2 Spanish people were calling me to tell me that I took the wrong road. After me asking if there’s a cafeteria near they said dos kilometros further on the trail.

We kept on following the trail, see some more pilgrims and also, after more than 2 k a sign of a cafeteria 50 meters off trail. We had our late lunch there and started for our 3 part of the day.

We came to a splitting point where we had to choose: take the normal route ( following a busy street) or the Complemantarios ( more scenic and quiet) following a small river to Pontevedra. We took the scenic route.

Just before Pontevedra the 2 routes joined together again. Now we had to walk some 2 k to reach our hostel. From the suburbs to the older part of town, passing shops and a church. Just before we came to our hostel we saw our neighbors from this morning, they had already arrived.

We took a rest in our room, took a bath and went outside again for sightseeing and diner. When we came back to our room, we made we our vlog and blog and later on fell asleep……🥱😴😪🌜

 

Po.53. o Porriño – Redondela

At the usual time we wake up, too early…. We had our breakfast in the kitchen with the for we bought yesterday. And when we left our backpacks were still there. It was a quarter to 9…. We hope the service will pick them up.

We went to the Camino to pick up the trail and already saw pilgrims. During the first 5 minutes some little drops of rain came down, but it stopped before we were crossing the highway. And we were apparently not the only pilgrims….. The line behind us grew…… A lot we saw following us. We were the TomTom for all of them….. TomTom=Navigation.

Most of our day we walked outside…. Of cities. We were just passing by some very small villages, walking under trees and uphill…. A little bit downhill and uphill again. We also met a Belgian and Dutch pilgrim, it was their first day on the Camino.

The sun was our companion today and all the pilgrims….. We were not the only one walking. The last climb we expected to be longer, but at noon we were already going downhill to Redondela. On the steep downhill road we had our lunch.

It was steep, the downhill walk, not only for use but for all the pilgrims. At 13.15 we arrived at the pension were we would sleep. The owner was very friendly and helpful. He already put our backpacks in our room, a room for 4 persons, just for the 2 of us…..

After we had a break in our room, we took a shower and washed our clothes, there was a washing machine and dryer just outside our room. With the wash finished we wanted to have an early dinner. Looking on internet is was difficult to find a restaurant where we could eat early.

The one we thought and went, no cook too early…. Looking for restaurants made us decide to buy ready made mails to hear up in the microwave at the pension. Also some noodles for later this night.

We had enough time to make our blogs and vlog for all our followers on internet…..

 

 

Po.52. Valença – o Porriño

This morning we were awake before the alarm clock rang…. As usual. We prepared ourselves and the backpacks, so they could be picked up again for this new stage.

We left our packs at the reception and we went out to a cafeteria for breakfast. We had coffee, tea and 3 🥐 and we paid less than 5 €…..  Afterwards we went back to the hotel and picked up our small backpacks and started walking just before 9.

We walked downhill to the old iron bridge to cross the Minho river into Spain. It’s just a 15 minute walk but we arrived in Spain at 10.15….😂. Different timezones….. In Tui we had to walk down first before we could start our way up to the cathedral of Tui. To enter you have to pay, but because we are Pilgrims the price is lower.

Afterwards it’s going downhill again to the path of our way. The weather is good, no clouds and a shining sun for the whole day ….. We walk through woods, on roads and crossing over a highway. The road goes slightly up and down, up and down.

Just past 12 we have a break for lunch before we go on for part 2 of this walk. The most boring part of today’s walk is ahead. We will pass an industrial area, a road of 4 and 2 km long. We could also choose a more scenic route, but it would be 2 extra km.  The change in timezones made us decide to take the short route, otherwise we would be later in our overnight stay.

It was indeed a boring stretch to walk, but it had to be taken otherwise we wouldn’t reach o Porriño. We had to look hard for our pension….. The address was a restaurant without any signs of the pension. When we inquired we were at the right address. After registering a waiter took us to a different place, 300 meters away to a apartment which was redesigned into 4 bedrooms (each with a bathroom) and a kitchen. Our backpacks were already present.

After a resting period we went out again to see the town and looking for a place to eat and do some shopping for tomorrow.

Walk – Eat – Sleep – repeat…….