Day 28 – 7th November 2016, Nigran to Redondela
The distant beauty of the Cíes Islands
This was probably one of the toughest and yet most magnificent walks we have enjoyed on the Camino Portugues. It was also a sad day in some ways because we knew we would begin turning inland, once again, when we reached Vigo.
Feeling rested and refreshed, we set off from El Retiro at early o’clock in the morning, before the sun came up. The sky was crying, affording another opportunity for Brett and I to don our bright blue rain ponchos.
I don’t mind walking in the rain. I admired the dramatic clouds and seascapes, ever-changing, in front of us as we peered out towards the rugged archipelago of the Cíes Islands. Note to self, another potential destination for Brett and I to visit onboard Theros on our future round the world voyage!
We climbed steadily through the urban expansion of Nigran, a fair distance from but within sight of the sea, up onto a ridge to Vigo. Here we turned to follow the River Vigo inland to Redondela.
Vigo sprawled along the estuary and our feet pounded the pavements through its centre, finding brief respite in a pleasant woodland walk along a stream in one of the parks. We bumped into a local man and his dog, who talked to us for a while and showed us the way to pick up the trail again.
Overcoming internal struggle by remembering the Four Agreements
The hike was a hard one, climbing again to a long, meandering trail through a park overlooking the river. I must admit, I was flagging in the afternoon. At least the pathway underfoot was a sandy, dirt trail instead of asphalt. Although the views were spectacular from numerous vantage points along the way, it was disconcerting to me to see Redondela miles away.
I began to silently panic inside because I didn’t feel as though I could carry on. My feet were painful from the constant pounding on hard ground and my whole body ached. However, Brett encouraged me and a group of local ladies, out for a sprightly afternoon stroll, also and kindly, willed us on, explaining that we were only a few miles from our destination.
I reflected on that time of internal struggle and the physical and mental challenges that confronted me on both the Camino Frances and even more so on the Camino Portugues. A big part of overcoming these obstacles for me, was learning to press the reset button on the soundtrack in my own mind, regarding my own negativity and lack of belief in my ability to keep going. I often would give in to the “I can’t” instead of the “I can” and “I will”.
Brett constantly reminded me that there is no such word as “can’t” or that it would be a great idea to remove “can’t” from my vocabulary! Thoughts and words spoken can form one’s reality! I am reminded of the book “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, in which two of the four main lessons came into sharp relief:
- Be impeccable with your word – this means taking care in choosing words carefully, neither to speak negatively against ourselves nor gossip about other people. I know from my own experience that so many times I have put limitations on myself by using language to speak negatively about myself;
- Always do your best – a simple phrase my mum and dad said to me to encourage me, whenever I lacked confidence or worried about something, is here in the book as the last of the four agreements. This lesson implores each one of us to let go of our worries, expectations and self-limitations and give each day of our lives our best shot:
“God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, “I love you, God,” is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, “Thank you, God,” is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.” – Don Miguel Ruiz
With Brett patiently walking by my side, I found the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other, down the sharp incline and onwards into the town of Redondela. Thankfully, we came to a hostel quite quickly on the left-hand side as we walked towards the centre of town, called A Conserveira. Here we were able to book two beds for 10 euros each in a shared dorm, where the beds were laid out in cubicles of four or two beds, with curtains for privacy. The layout reminded me of the hostel in Roncesvalles on the Camino Frances. Bright, airy, clean and well thought out, there were spotless showers and toilets and a communal kitchen and lounge area too.
We rested for a while and napped. I felt the cold in the air to huddled down in my Cumulus comforter to warm up. Later on, we strolled around the town, in the cold and wet, hunting down a place that was open for dinner. We settled on Gastrobar 78 and devoured artisan burgers and salads before heading back to the albergue and a well-earned rest!
Distance walked today = 31 km
Cumulative distance walked so far = 639.03 km
Peace, love and light,