We left Padrón on Sunday morning at 7:40 and walked into the Pilgrim Office in Santiago at 1:15 pm. We had a great final day. We outpaced the weather until just at the very end when a few showers hosed us off. But, it was arrival day and nothing was going to stand in the way of the special joy a pilgrim feels on that day. As always there are reflections on this or that or some other thing regarding the Camino just walked. I'll leave those for another day. For now, our joy is palpable. Robin and I have experienced the gift of yet another Camino, two if you throw in our days on the Camino Vasco. Santiago continues to seem like another home to us. It isn't perfect, but for those on the pilgrim road there is no sweeter place to walk into. Now we just need to exhale and relax. Actually we are pretty good at that as well. Prayers and blessings to all from Santiago. We will be shapeshifting into our other selves as of this coming Thursday when we once again return to our home state of Washington in the magnificent Pacific Northwest. Thanks to all who in some way shared this journey. Peace be with you.
John and Robin
Prayers offered at the chapel at the Pilgrim Office in Santiago.
We awoke a bit early at Torre de Rio, and started in on the breakfast that had been set out the night before. We had told the lady in the dining room the previous night that we would like to get underway before their preferred breakfast service at 9:00. So she had everything laid out for us. As we were enjoying our meal the day staff arrived and immediately asked us if we wanted something else such as eggs, bacon, ham, etc. So we signed up for the full meal deal and felt more than adequately nourished for the day's walk ahead. A taxi took us back into Caldas de Reis and dropped us off at the church. Five minutes later we were crossing the Roman bridge out of town and heading off to Padrón our destination for tonight. We caught yet another break with the weather and set out under clear, cool conditions. As the sun climbed over a ridge whose shadow had kept us fairly cool it's radiant heat now forced a halt and our jackets were peeled away. We proceeded uphill (mostly) and then downhill (somewhat) following a mix of paved roads and forest trails. In all it was a very good day's walk. We arrived in Padrón at 1:30, had nice cold Estrella Galicia and headed off to our hotel, the Chef Rivera. After some lunch and a shower we walked over to the Church of Santiago. The sacristan invited us up to the alter where the stone pilar to which, according to legend, the boat that brought St. James' remains to Spain was moored, now resides. We enjoyed our visit to the church, that is until a Spanish tour group laid siege, after which we quietly retreated. We strolled around a bit just enjoying the evening air, and eventually called it a night. We are Santiago bound in the morning. It is always a time of mixed emotions when our time on the pilgrim road draws to its end and life back home beckons us to return. But, God willing, we will find another road to walk when, once again, we are ready. For now let's just get to Santiago. More on that tomorrow.
The Roman bridge out of Caldas de Reis
Looking pretty good.
Eat your greens.
The pilar is just behind and below the altar slightly to the right of center.
We had a fine and uneventful walk to Pontevedra. The weather started out chilly but quickly warmed up and layers of clothing were peeled off. There were some hills to climb, and more stream bed rocks to hop, but with abundant sunshine, the day just seemed brilliant. We were feeling strong and walked at a good pace all day. Once we walked into Pontevedra we stopped at the first bar we could see and ordered our usual two cañas. Once our thirst was quenched we caught a cab to the Parador where we would spend the night. The price was quite reasonable with breakfast included. No complaints, we had a great room and the hotel was just steps from the Camino.
Friday brought a few morning rain showers along for the ride. So, as we stepped out of our hotel we reached for our umbrellas as we set out for the bridge that would takes us across the river and set us on our way to Caldas de Reis. I would say within 45 minutes the umbrellas were back cinched alongside our packs. There was a little uphill work to do to climb out of Pontevedra, but after a couple of hours things really flattened out. We were walking in a shallow valley from that point on to Caldas, and it was pretty much dead flat. I wasn't watching the clock that closely but it seemed we left the Parador at 9:00, and walked into the palm lined church plaza in the center of Caldas at 1:15. We had kept up a good steady pace but our tongues were not hanging out as walked into town. Again, much like yesterday Robin and I both felt healthy and strong and the kilometers slipped by accordingly. Two great days walking that we thoroughly enjoyed. An added treat for us was the lodging I booked just outside of Caldas, the Torre do Rio. Very nice indeed. Beautiful building set on gorgeous grounds. It's worth trying I can assure you. Two more days to Santiago. We are off to Padrón tomorrow and will arrive in Santiago, in the rain, on Sunday. That's all for today. Time to start relaxing in our new digs.
View from our apartment in Redondela
Chapel just outside Pontevedra
Pilgrim church in Pontevedra
Basilica of Santa Maria in Pontevedra
House on the road to Caldas do Reis
It wasn't all road walking today
Church plaza in Caldas do Reis
Our backyard at Torre de Rio
The pool fed by a stream
New hotel to the left, ruins of old mill to their right