Saturday, 6 June 2015
Life is a beach.
Today the Camino and the excellent advice of our friend Davinia Brennan led us to an idyllic paradise, Playa de Cesantes and the Hotel Antolin, where the golden sand stretches as far as the eye can see and the blue clear sea shimmers in the bright strong sunlight. Paradise has to be earned and our journey today started with coffee shared, at around 7am, with our German friends Adrian and his father Peter. Our flexible planning had been changed yesterday when we walked through Valenca and Tui to the Hotel Alfonso about another four or five kilometres further along the Camino. Our original thought was to stay in Valenca yesterday and then do the short trip over the river and border into Tui today but we spent an hour in each centre and since we were walking so well decided to keep on going. Today's walk of approximately 31K was varied but without the walk we would not have reached our final destination and have the experience of swimming in the warm sea. I will quickly gloss over the first twelve kilometres into Porrino since at least half of it into the town was through heavy industrial estates and on main roads. The stretch of path from the San Telmo bridge of fevers along a woodland path to the little hamlet of Magdalena and the medieval stone bridge was in stark contrast to what lay ahead as we entered Porrino. We didn't stop in the industrial town but were soon walking along small rural roads that at times joined the Romana XIX which took us to our first stop at the Albergue Santa Anna where we had the traditional breakfast of freshly squeezed orange juice, toast with jam and for me coffee con Leche. Suitably fortified we started the hard ascent through the beautiful village of Mos, where Mary watched as a florist arranged the displays in the local church. I must say that the displays were excellent but certainly not up to the standards that Mary has scaled. Onwards and upwards we climbed and as we got higher along the road met several walkers finding the gradient tough. Finally at Parque we made the summit and breathed a sigh of relief that the climbing , for today, was over. As we walked through Parque there was a Saturday market and this gave us the opportunity to take a time out and wander, as tourists, through the various stalls. The route then took us along several large forest trails where we saw large numbers of local mountain bikers out on their Saturday morning runs as they sped quickly along the narrow paths. Unfortunately our now leisurely stroll was about to change as we were faced with the steepest and longest downhill stretch I have ever experienced, so it was with shaking, wobbling, legs that almost thirty minutes later, we finally made the relatively flat valley floor. The walk from here into the town of Redondela was fairly uneventful. Redondela was a lovely busy town with beautiful buildings and many interesting monuments and far exceeded our initial expectations. The only blot on the landscape was a large iron railway bridge that not only spanned the valley but passed directly over the town. We were not staying in Rodondela but were doing the extra three kilometres to the Hotel Antolin of course not knowing that we were heading for a little piece of heaven. So here I am ,writing the blog, sitting in lovely sunshine after having had a swim, a stroll along the beach, a few beers and soon to go for an outdoor dinner. Can life get any better?