Day 29 – 8th November 2016, Redondela to Pontevedra
By now we had joined up with the inland route of the Camino Portugues and we noticed more pilgrims on the trail, which made a refreshing change from the solitude we had experienced for so many days on our walk.
Pilgrims and travellers in the albergue were up early and ready to get going. Brett and I grabbed a quick breakfast on the way out of Redondela and then slowly and surely wended our way through the streets and out into the bucolic scenery. Swirls of mist clung to the woodland-cloaked hills and there was a chill in the air, in marked contrast to the scorching hot days we experienced in Portugal!
Still, it was good hiking weather and we pressed on, pausing for a while at a spot where hundreds of pilgrims had tied their Camino scallop shells to a large frame (see featured image above). It was a moving moment to feel connected to pilgrims past and present.
The scallop shell is a simple yet profound symbol of pilgrimage – forged from nature, thirsty pilgrims used them to scoop water from wells and fountains; some believe that the numerous ridges, radiating out from the shell hinge, represent all of the different routes to Santiago and furthermore they signify the ending of the pilgrimage at the coast of Finisterre, where scallop shells are scattered along the beach in hundreds and thousands.
I decided not to tie my scallop shell there though as I preferred to take it with me all the way to Santiago de Compostela. Call me superstitious but my scallop shell was like a talisman, a powerful symbol of source energy, protecting Brett and I on our journey.
Once again, Brett and I found ourselves climbing steadily to a ridge, weaving through woodland above the river Vigo for a while.
Gradually we descended down to river level at the picturesque village of Ponte Sampaio, where Galician troops defeated the French during the peninsula war in 1809.
We crossed over the stone bridge and paused for a second breakfast at a small café, where we could look out over the river from the terrace.
Several pilgrims stopped by for refreshment, while others rushed on past and came full circle, having realised they took the wrong turning. That happened to me four times on the Camino Frances!
Eventually we reached Pontevedra, our destination for the evening. We wandered around trying to find accommodation and many places were already booked up or very expensive. In the end we settled on the Hotel Ruas, which was reasonably central and one of the better value deals we could find. Even so, it was slightly more expensive than we hoped for at 50 Euros for a double ensuite room, I guess there were no pilgrim rates!
Never mind, it was a beautiful and peaceful place to stay and I am always grateful for a place to lay my head down after a long day’s walk!. We offset the cost of the room by eating a fabulous cheap and cheerful dinner at Naciön . This is a fab place to go particularly if you enjoy healthy vegetarian fayre. We enjoyed a large organic, green salad and veggie pizza between us, which, for the first time on the Camino defeated us both, washed down with a couple of shandies!
Distance walked today = 23 km
Cumulative distance walked so far = 662.03 km
Peace, love and light,