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The Camino Portugues Coastal Route 2014

The Camino Portugues Coastal

The Camino Portugues Coastal Route 2014

It took a bit of time to get the store and website up and running, but we did it! It has been a while since I’ve promised to post a summary of our first camino, back in 2014. Here’s a summary of our first adventure. Little did we know back then that our lives would be fully Camino-driven two years later!
Our first Camino (the Camino Portugues Coastal route) started in Baiona because that’s where my grandmother was born.

Here’s what we posted back then on Blogger; enjoy the read! If you are reading this because you plan on walking the Camino Portugues Coastal route: Buen Camino to you!


13 July 2014 – Day 1 – Baiona – Nigran

“Search for pension Kin and tell lady Carmen that you are the great granddaughter of ‘El Barbas'”, my mother said. So that’s what I did. We arrived in Baiona by car, sat down to have a drink while enjoying the ocean view, and I asked for pension Kin. This waiter, a young man in his 30’s replied ‘of course I know where that is, and YES lady Carmen (83 years old) still runs the place. We followed his directions and after a short call to her cell (number glued to her front door), we met her. There she was, 83 years old like my dad. I said to her ‘I’m the great grand daughter of ‘El Barbas’ (the beard’) and my mother told me to find you and see if you have a room available for tonight. The look on her face told me that I could not have made this old lady happier with any other statement or question. I showed her a picture of my mom and she literally kissed my iphone. She showed us the room, and told us that she would prepare a table with breakfast that same evening so we could depart as early as we wished to. A delightful lady this Carmen… I have a picture of us together which I know will make yet another old lady very happy…

The night was noisy – we had a room in the old part of town right in the center where Saturday Night fever hijacked the complete population and it lasted until 4 am. Drunk folks found their way home when we were just about to take a shower and hit the road. The weirdest thing happened. We slept just a few hours and it did not effect our mood. Needed coffee fast though….(Carmen’s coffee was decaf). We did (see Facebook posts on our page ‘Galicia here we come’) – some delicious surprises to accompany a cup of coffee were waiting for us: the Camino provides!

CP_breakfast

We found our first yellow arrow sign, telling us we were on the right track, and a nice little Hostal right on the camino in Nigran.

CP_first-arrow

We have plenty of energy left, but let’s take it easy the first day… Tomorrow we’re going to San Xoan…


 Published 17 July 2014 – Day 2 – Nigran – Vigo suburbs

Activating my memory cells, the dark side of not posting every day, brings back the first memory of that day. It was 6.30, and the pensión where we were staying was in the middle of nowhere. Breakfast was a mix of bread and… A coke. It wasn’t particularly tasty, but the caffeine worked which is way more important :-). We found our first arrow for this part, which gave us that safe feeling again of being on the right track:

We walked through beautiful places and less beautiful parts – a bit like life itself I guess…

We walked towards the coast to approach Vigo from a more attractive side (we read blogs from other pilgrims describing the horrible feeling when leaving nature behind and entering the horrible fog-exhaling city streets). When we were close to the coast we went down to San Miguel de Oia (see Joyce’s post) and we had lunch while enjoying a great view.

CP_coast Vigo

We carried on to Samil, which is in the suburbs of Vigo city and known for its amazing beach.

We stayed at a Hostal and enjoyed our holiday ;-). The food was simple and FAB! Forgot to take a picture, that’s how hungry we were…

Feet, legs, back – everything feels perfect so after a break in Vigo city with my aunt we should be ready to pump up the pace/distance!

CP_beach-Samil

Buen camino to everyone out there!


Published 17 July 2014 – Day 3 Vigo city

To be honest, we were totally blown away by the mass fog, people, concrete, noise, temperature and the need to ‘do’ things other than walking. The only thing that made us feel welcome was my aunt and her boys. From Samil it was only a 3 hour walk. We arrived totally drained. No energy left. That’s it: we hate big cities. We are leaving the next day as early as we can. Aunt Mariluz helped us to wash our clothes and we were so happy to have everything clean, dry and ready to start pumping things up! We walked to a small church to get our Credential stamp. Father Angel was really a nice man and wished us also a buen camino :-).

We were happy to leave town at 7 am. This city is agonizing – maybe it’s what happened to this one: totally dead by the road side…

Off we went… Let’s see if we can make it to Chapela…


Published 17 July 2014 – Day 4 / 5 – Vigo city – Chapela / Redondela

The feeling of freedom when we left the last buildings of the city behind us and entered the suburbs with it’s colorful little houses!

CP_leaving-Vigo-city

It was a bit of a climb, but very much worth it! Temperature started to rise but we had enough water and we made sure to rest often in the shade.

We had our first call of nature in nature… and referring to previous posts by Joyce I must admit right here and right now that she is the bravest. This was our potential audience – by miracle, no car past by… I preferred to climb up into the woods…

CP_nature-callsCP_climb-up

Relieved, we carried on…and what a beautiful walk it turned out to be…

Here, we met our first pilgrim. From Korea and starting at the French border, he arrived at Santiago, stayed a few days and… Left again, this time to O Porto – I.e. The official Portuguese Camino in reverse. He will be traveling back to Santiago for the 24th – and somehow we think we will see him again there.

He has been walking for over 2 months now! We’re very much looking forward to our next stage in which we will be seeing many pilgrims. The part of the camino that we did so far is rather ‘new’. This Korean pilgrim was able to confirm that up to Redondela it was quite an easy part of the road so convinced, we did about 8 km more – and we made it! This morning we woke up knowing that a day of complete rest was waiting for us – we slept until 10 am!! De-li-cious!

Tomorrow, we start here in Redondela. This stage’s end point is officially Pontevedra, but not only would we be walking far more than we are used to, we would also miss one extra opportunity to reach part of the goals. So for now, we are breaking almost every stage in two parts. Redondela – Arcade.


Published 17 July 2014 – Day 6 & 7 – Redondela – Arcade – Pontevedra!

Arcade, our planned destination, greeted us sooner than expected. A lot sooner actually… It was early enough to have a ‘second’ breakfast :-). So we did…

And we carried on… To Pontevedra? Nehhhh, that would be too far – let’s walk and see what comes our way… So we did…

The village of Arcade was not PAC-man’s home although it was full of creativity. People here were very nice and even waiving at the pilgrims from their cars when passing by. The woman at the little breakfast/shop/cafe had a very contagious laugh and I thought to myself how nice it would be if everyone could be as happy as she was while selling breakfast to pilgrims for only 3 Euros (coffee, fresh orange juice and large toast). We could live in a village like this one – mental note: Arcade…

We left the village behind us and prepared to enjoy a walk in the forest. It was raining just a little bit, but that was nice for a change! The road changed into a goat path though – less nice for my ankle, but nice to be doing the real stuff like my sister called it on our FB page ;-).

We saw a few pilgrims on our way. Among them an English grandpa, a Hungarian lady, and a German boy who was doing the Camino in reverse (following the blue arrows). Always good to see you’re not crazy – or at least not the craziest nor the only one…

The last 5K were really an endurance for us – just getting used to 15k, this time there was no place to stay, so we had to carry on surpassing the 20K and the bit of rain had changed into a little bit more – we got to try out our backpack rain covers. They worked :-). When we arrived at the Hotel Peregrina we felt very much relieved and ready to hit the shower and rest… Already knowing that my ankle would need another full day of rest to be able to continue the trip.

Buen camino!


Published 20 July 2014 – Day 8 – Oops… Pontevedra – Barro

So this morning we started from Pontevedra for a ‘short’ walk.

After some nice stops we ended up in Barro which translates to ‘mud’! To be honest, it isn’t much better hence a mud bath would have been nice! Luisa felt her ankle couldn’t take her much further without ruining it, so we didn’t walk further to the casa rural, a home in the country side (and this one came with a swimming pool and jacuzzi!!) as it was just a bit up the hill. This had been my goal for the day, I looked very much forward to take a swim. But now we’re somewhere which is a bit, well actually nothing… It looks rough, dirty and old. But we’ve got clean towels (like sand paper) and clean bed sheets. I don’t see myself as needing extensive luxury or being a spoiled woman but this is definitely a hurdle. We even smell better than the people here in the bar/restaurant.

I’ve no doubt we’ll live another day and it’s good to experience this. Probably we can even laugh about it (in 20 years or so). For now, it is what it is and I hope tomorrow we won’t regret having stayed here. I just heard the owner will make us coffee at 7.00 – that’s nice of him – He usually opens at 7.30). Wished he’d only take a little time to clean…

We had a nice day though, enjoyed the walk and there were surprising things…

We are not religious, but we walked a couple of minutes close to a little church where nuns were singing – a bit Gregorian chant-like to give you an idea of how it sounded – we enjoyed it and Joyce recorded it – can’t upload it here now though so that’s something to share via Youtube once we’re somewhere where they actually have WiFi…

Buen camino, Joyce & Luisa

Ps. I won’t blame Luisa forever just a couple of years ;-).

Ps. By Luisa: what’s new? :-P


Published 21 July 2014 – Day 9 – Barro – Caldas de Reis – O Cruceiro

We arrived in paradise (after yesterday’s experience). But first things first. We left hell this morning at 7.10 am after a quick cup of coffee and without showering first (really, showering would have infected us with some nasty bug). We walked on, left the little town and entered a path that carried us into and through the wine yards. Suddenly, the awkward feeling, that had been accompanying us since we had arrived in town the previous day, vanished. Without having said a word we looked at each other. It was as if we had stepped through some invisible line. Totally spooky, but somehow also comforting. We talked a little bit about this and we concluded that we experienced the same in Arcade – the other way around – just entering that village we immediately felt welcome (well before the first person we met smiled at us)! We’ll be on the lookout for similar vibes…

We had a great walk – wonderful nature, cute little churches, refreshing wells, private houses with creative owners wishing passing pilgrims a ‘Bo Camiño’.

Let me describe Paradise: you stayed in the filthiest place on earth, you did not have a shower, you had bread and cheese for dinner, you slept only a few hours, you walk 18km, your feet are aching – then, you step into a Hostal, where it smells utterly clean, you get to shower and eat a wonderful meal two hours post normal lunch time, a glass of wine, a wonderful desert and you finish with a cup of coffee, knowing that there is a clean bed waiting for you to sleep and rest in…Paradise I tell you!

Tomorrow we’re going to try to get a little bit beyond Padrón, which will leave us with one last stage to do on Wednesday (or Thursday if we need to take it easy): arrival at Santiago de Compostela – to enjoy the festivities of St.James. Buen Camino!


Published 24 July 2014 – Day 10 – Caldas de Reis/O Cruceiro – Padrón

This camino (we are not yet familiar with the other caminos) is very divers. You can enjoy walking through small medieval villages and crossing big parts of pure nature. We enjoy the latter most…

I think we did about 18K? It seems ages ago – we arrived yesterday in Santiago…

Padron was okay I guess, but it was so hot that we were not able to really enjoy our rest – we knew we had to do a few kilometers more, to cut down a bit the final stage to Santiago (24,4K) – way too much for us junior pilgrims! We had lunch at a restaurant where we sat down in the shade but the high temperature was exhausting and it drained a lot of the energy that we needed to do 4km more. We decided to do 2 more (found a hotel through a google maps search) and we continued.

We ended up at a hotel with nice views and a discription in their brochure that stated the hotel to be a modern state of the art hotel with an incredible sense of tasteful design… I laughed my x off when I saw the room – I guess taste is indeed very personal – I would never have green carpets with matching green bed covers.

But did we mind? No way, too tired… A shower, some drinks, dinner and off to bed because tomorrow is the big day and it’s going to be the heaviest of all stages: 20K, of which the last 15 climbing with some parts at 15%…and wheather forcast is making the beach tourists happy…

Buen camino!


Published 24 Jul 2014 – Day 11 – Padrón – Santiago de Compostela

It is with mixed feelings that I (Luisa) start writing this post. I’m still tired from yesterday’s final stage and the mix of tiredness with the ‘and now what feeling’ are marginally overruling the more positive thoughts. Margins can be adapted however – as we learned during our walk… We walked and walked and walked and it was sooo hot, but this time we could not stop because well, it was simply not an option.

We stopped in almost every shade we passed but only for very brief moments.

The downside to stop walking is the flood of blood you feel pounding in your already heavy feet. That hurts more than walking, so you keep walking. My feet started to hurt really bad when we still had at least 6K to go. We decided to stop for a longer break and recharge for the final steps. We ate, refilled our 4 bottles of water (backpack heavier again) and carried on with the final part through nature. Arriving at the top of the hill, this is what we saw: Santiago de Compostela with the cathedral, still very far away in its centre…still…one more hour at least to go…

My cousin Manolo met us just outside the city to accompany us during the final steps. A great guy with a huge passion for Santiago and her Camino’s. He guided us to the Cathedral. More and more pilgrims agglomerated around us, mixed on the streets with ‘the normal people’, used to seeing Pilgrims, not bothered by them so it seemed, however not concerned with them either…

The pressure of the city is almost tangible. For both of us it was a bit of an anti-climax: many many people bumping in to you, not saying a word , the “Buen Camino’s” remain unspoken (unless you start again!) and the moment you’re on the square in front of the cathedral you’re suddenly one of many.

Like I already wrote on Facebook: the cathedral should be on a  mountaintop without a city surrounding it. However, that’s just the end part. The most important part is the journey.

For now, we miss our backpack, the walking -although it hurts sometimes (good blister band aids do help!) and we miss the Buen Camino’s!

Tonight we’re going to see the fireworks and hope to see some peregrinos we’ve met. Tomorrow is the fiesta of San Jacobo/Xacobo.

We went to the office where we can get our Compostela. There was a huge line of people waiting so we will try again tomorrow or the day after and very early in the morning….

Buen Camino…. is over…for now…


19 June 2016 editorial note: more pictures and posts of this first Camino can be found on our personal FB page we used back then: www.facebook.com/luisacaroucaminodesantiago/

To follow Camino Comfort’s more current adventures, follow & like us on our CC FB page: www.facebook.com/caminocomfort/

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