Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 10

Day 10! A Picaraña to Santiago de Compostela!!

Of course we set out in the dark. The race was on! Santiago de Compostela or bust!

The first thing to peek up out of the darkness at us was a little…bizarre to say the least.

But we soon had daylight…just in time to see our first milemarker that broke the 10km mark!

It felt like it took us no time at all to get to the city limits.

Again, a glorious day filled with sunshine!

The LAST DAY feels were hitting hard!

Making our way into the city was a little misleading. We kept thinking we were going to turn a corner and be there…only to find one neighbourhood after another…staying forever on the outskirts.

But we were definitely getting there.

Less than 5km to go, and it still felt like we were so far away…

Then we hit this little earworm and I knew exactly what song I’d be humming for the rest of the morning. Thank you, Freddie Mercury!

How about one more gorgeously picturesque bridge to walk over before reaching the cathedral? Don’t mind if we do!

One quick stop as we reach the town proper…to get our first stamp of our day!

One last piece of street art before we finish our last day…

One last moment of confusion…

One last hórreo…

I had the great idea of walking AROUND the cathedral so we could come in at the same place as the Camino Frances and see the pipers in action before taking in the cathedral’s facade.

For the first time, we walked into this little covered part not to the sound of a piper, but to a guitar.

WE MADE IT!

Three very tired but accomplished pilgrims! Senda Litoral Route – Portugues Caminho – 280km in 10 days!

We quickly made our way to the pilgrim’s office to queue up for our compostelas (the certificates of completion)!

Compostelas in hand, we made our way to the very first cafe we came to and rewarded ourselves with a full breakfast each! One of the best breakfasts I have ever eaten!
We were fortunate enough to get to see the Botafumeiro swing during mass that afternoon! It doesn’t always happen, so we were thrilled to witness it!

So ends another Camino! There was more, of course…but the finish line was crossed! The next day we even took the rooftop tour of the cathedral. If you ever do the Camino, make sure to look into taking the rooftop tour! The views are amazing. Just being on the roof of the cathedral is quite spectacular in itself!
Thinking of doing the Camino? Do it! You’ll love it, even if it nearly kills you or your feet. It’s an experience of a lifetime!

You might even go back for more. This was my 3rd Camino. Loved every minute of it, even when I wanted to cry over the absolute PAIN my feet experienced. When it’s all over, the foot pain becomes a distant memory. You remember the moments and the beauty.

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022- 280km in 10 days! PORTO, PORTUGAL to SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, SPAIN.

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.

 

 

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 9

Day 9! Caldas de Rei to A Picaraña!

Our second last day of walking! Unbelievable. It takes so long and it’s so arduous, and it’s over in the blink of an eye. Such a dichotomy!

We were off in the dark of night once again!

It very quickly brightened up this time, though.

Another picture perfect day on the Camino. Spain was giving us the best possible weather! Not too cold, not too hot.

The sunrise and the scattered clouds and big blue sky were giving us all the feels!
Immediately following the glorious sunrise, we came upon a little cafe and it was time for a Café con leche! Coffee is ALWAYS better in Spain!

Does it get any better than this picture of an early morning Spanish sky?

It was a day for soaking up the beauty that is GALICIA. It has a special place in my heart…

A picture perfect day!

Just 33km to go!!!

We’ve reached the part of the Camino where your pains don’t matter all that much and your perspective is clear and the beauty gets in. The world hushes and allows you to stop thinking about the aches in your toes and heels and knees and hips and thighs. Everything around you opens up to you…

We had reached Pontecesures. And we were about to experience culture shock…loud obtrusive culture shock. With every internal trip into serenity, comes its opposite.

Just one pic as we made our way through crowds and crowds of people at a weekend flea market type event that had the town hopping with what felt like thousands of people…

Way too overwhelming an experience for me. I was lulled by the nature we had just experienced and the crowds felt like sensory overload of the worst kind!

We were so glad to make our way back out of the chaos of that town!
We were soon to arrive in A Picaraña. Though we were happy to arrive at our lodgings, this was not one of the great discoveries we were so lucky to score along the way. I don’t even have a picture of the inside of this place.

d

Pension Glorioso was…adequate. The 70s furniture was…adequate. The WiFi didn’t even work all that well. It was probably our one fail booking of the whole Camino. Can’t really complain.

Day nine was over! ONE. DAY. LEFT. And a short one at that. We’d be in Santiago de Compostela in the morning!

 

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.

 

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 8

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.

Looking for signs in the dark…

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.

Just as the light began to hit, we came across some statues in the woods…

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!

Again, LOVE the artwork found on the Camino! LOVE!
Again, don’t care…love the artwork. Graffiti or not, it’s all good.

We soon reached Pondevedra…a bit of a bustling town after all the small ones we passed through.

Strangeness always has its place on the Camino…

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!

The city name…displayed as city names around the world are now displayed…in that great big Instagrammable way!

Soon, another bridge…

 

Hi, artwork!

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.

graffiti
Day 8 – no shortage of grapevines today!

Picture perfect grapes everywhere!

Many times, we saw multiple generation families picking grapes today!

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.

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 7

Day 7! Vigo to Ponte Sampaio!

Milestone day! This was the day we crossed the 100km mile marker. We began our day in Vigo at just over 100km from our goal of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela!

One of the very first mile markers of our day 7!
After walking through the city proper, we arrived at its outskirts where we were to begin an ascent…

When you take a photo to show the depth and steepness of a hill, it almost never turns out. Trust me on this, when we got out of the city it was quite a brutal uphill climb to a ridge above it.

A brutal climb, but well worth it once we were able to take in the views the ridge afforded us.

It was actually quite breathtaking…and once we were up there, it was relatively flat for a while.

We kept coming across new vistas that felt like the perfect place to take the day’s selfie…again and again…

There was no end to the beauty below us. A look to the left, throughout this entire Camino, was bound to offer beauty…

Soon after breaking the 100km mark, we were gently being eased back into nature…

The hills of Spain! They’re everywhere!
THIS is what the Camino is all about. Being at one with the nature around you.

Leave it to the Camino to have the most interesting and gorgeous artwork appear out of nowhere along the path. Some call this graffiti or vandalizing, but whatever. I love the art we find along the way. I always appreciate it! I don’t give a rat’s ass what the naysayers say.

Like a fish out of water…

Mid-day we had to climb DOWN into a town. At this point, my toes had had enough! It was one of the most painful descents of our entire Camino. I did find this interesting doll on the porch of one of the houses on our way down, though. Turns out it has its own Instagram and they change the clothes and theme periodically…

https://www.instagram.com/meryitsme_/

I always love the way some locals just get all in when it comes to the Camino. Whether it’s little things like the Meryitsme_ doll, or big elaborate yard decorations. Love!

Once we climbed down into the little town, we found a place to have lunch. The food on the Camino–always simple and fortifying–is ALWAYS just so GOOD! It probably has something to do with the level of exhaustion you’re feeling, with your absolute need to have calories! At any rate, even your run of the mill everyday sandwich tastes like manna from heaven! Especially when paired with a cold beer!

Simple but delectable!

After lunch, we left the little town and found ourselves back in nature. And back to yet another makeshift Camino altar…

Spontaneous ‘altars’ like this one pop up all along the Camino. Little places where pilgrims leave offerings to lost loved ones…

Just prior to reaching our day’s end goal of Ponte Sampaio, we reached a rather iconic Instagram famous landmark. The two shoes!

Follow the YELLOW shoe to Santiago de Compostela…

After crossing a short bridge (a bit of a theme on the Portugues Caminho, as we came to realize), we were in Ponte Sampaio…and just a few hundred feet from our albergue. A few almost impossible hundred feet. The last km is always the worst, I swear!

But we soon discovered we had scored again in the accommodation department. Our lodgings for the night were just shy of perfect! And complete with laundry facilities and a church outside our bathroom window!

The restuarant a couple of doors down was affiliated with the albergue and offered some great fare! We were just happy we wouldn’t have to walk too far to fuel up!

If you’re stopping in Ponte Sampaio, you won’t go wrong staying in El Hostel Albergue O MESÓN de Ponte Sampaio. The link is to their website, but we booked through Booking dot com.

That’s day seven over! 3 days to go…how fast the Caminos go! Day 8? Caldas de Reis 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.

 

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 6

Day 6! Baiona to Vigo!

Day 6 began with passing a church. Surprise. There are more churches in Spain than people…

It was one of those Big Sky days, where the clouds and the sun were both endless, fighting each other for power. My favourite kind of day.

A Big Sky kind of day!
Some nice vistas as we walked out of Baiona! So pretty.
There was a bit of nature on today’s walk, but mostly it was city walking. This path was a gorgeous momentary respite…

 

Quite a few churches this day. We were definitely in Spain…

We were getting farther away from the shoreline, but it was still within our sights…for now.

So many different terrains this day. We even walked beneath a rather major highway…

This actually felt like the easiest day yet. We had found our stride, I think.

We arrived in Vigo in no time! It was a fairly big city in comparison to some of the others we had passed through. It was lovely walking through the streets of Vigo, big Europe energy! And the food was great, too!

Vigo, where, aching feet aside, we may have finally found our groove!

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.