Day 8! Ponte Sampaio to Caldas de Reis!
Somewhere along our journey, we had begun to set out in the dark. Once you start doing that, there’s no turning back. We were now doing it every day. We were now counting on the little torch apps on our phones to guide our way for the first hour or so of our day.
Thankfully, there was still the odd streetlight guiding our way through the town.
Before the sun was fully up on our 8th day, we were walking through nature in complete and utter darkness. It was time to pray we didn’t go over on our heels or trip over the jutting rocks in our path.
Sunrise on the Camino is always worth crawling your way through the darkness while awaiting its arrival!
Soon it was daylight and our fears were behind us. Nobody fell off a cliff-edge or twisted an ankle. We would live to see another day.
We noticed that the vineyards were plentiful on this day. Whether they stretched across acres and acres of land, or stayed within a tiny well-groomed yard, grapevines could be seen at every turn. It also seemed that, wherever we looked, people were picking grapes this day.
Early in the day, we came across a tiny little church that was built in 1617!
We soon reached Pondevedra…a bit of a bustling town after all the small ones we passed through.
Inside the church pictured above, I witnessed one of the little things that chips away at the magic of the Camino. A busload of tourists actually lined up to get their credencials stamped. I was apoplectic. I couldn’t believe that, one, the tourists and the tour guide would do such a thing, and, two, that the person inside the church would actually stamp their credencials. I hoped against hope that these bussies didn’t do this all the way to Santiago de Compostela and then march in to the compostela office and get their certificate. Surely, the guide would prevent that from happening!
Soon, another bridge…
After Pontevedra, we were heading back into nature for a while. It was feeling very much like we were back on the Camino Frances. Galicia was opening up to us with its vibrant mossiness and greenery…
We soon found a place to stop for a little rest. The entire patio of this cafe was covered by a hanging trellis of grapevines…beautiful!
Placing a stone on the milemarker…
Every stop sign had a message of one kind or another. “Don’t STOP believing!”, “Don’t STOP me now!”, “Don’t STOP now!”, etc.
Picture perfect grapes everywhere!
Today was the first LONG day that didn’t really feel like a long day. Except when you take into account the shape of our feet, that is. We were soon in Caldas de Rei!
This is the town where I finally broke down and bought some new sandals. I couldn’t wear my shoes another second. I put the cheap new sandals on before I left the shoe store. The gentleman who dug through a box to find the slip on sandals that would fit my gargantuan feet will always be remembered as one of my Camino Angels! Thank you forever!
Again, we scored huge with the apartment we booked on Booking dot com. Just what we needed after another long day! With a restaurant just next door!
The restaurant had one of our first, if not our actual first, pilgrim menu options! Caldo Galega was mine!!! I just love the Galician soup served in this portion of the Camino! LOVE!
Day eight over, it seemed impossible that we were just two short days away from Santiago de Compostela and the cathedral at the end of the yellow brick road. We were almost there! Day nine? A Picarana or bust!
I’m also an author. One of my novels, a young adult story, is set on the Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago. THE CAMINO CLUB. It follows six teens on their journey from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. The teens walk with court appointed counselors in a juvenile delinquent program that will see them free of their records once they make the journey to Santiago…a clean slate. Think of a more diverse The Breakfast Club, but on the Camino de Santiago over two weeks instead of in a school library on a Saturday. Give it a look! It’s available wherever books are sold. Here’s the Amazon USA link.