Monday, 8 June 2015
The traditional route
Last night we had a gathering of nations in a delightful plaza in Pontevedra and all enjoyed a fabulous meal and each other's company. We were in the company of Xenia and Ekaterina (Russia), Gill and Brenda (Canada), Clement (Germany), Donna (Canada), Ansje (Holland), Wolfgang (Germany), Jasmin (Germany) and our now oldest Camino friend Karen. This was a very enjoyable and fun occasion that was kept alive by the energy and wit of Jasmin. Earlier we had a good laugh with Kitty and Andrés from Tenerife and arranged to meet them the next night on the bridge at Caldas de Reis. This morning after a typical Spanish breakfast we left our hotel and walked through the twisting and atmospheric streets of the old city soon emerging into the outer suburbs where we were joined by Jasmin. The three of us walked together for about three kilometres until we came to a parting of the paths where the traditional route went one way and another lesser known Camino headed in to the higher hills. Oh for the enthusiasm of the young but coming from N.I we were compelled to march the traditional route. This was a very calm walk as it made its way through eucalyptus woods and then along the floor of the valley. The path crossed over the main railway line and climbed to the small hamlet of San Amor where we stopped for drinks. It had been a steep climb but in the coolness of the early morning it went very quickly. After refreshing drinks we continued the climb to the summit, before the little hamlet of Barro, where the Camino passes the ancient Cruceiro de Amonisa and the carving of St James, staff in hand, just like us, is looking towards Santiago. The country lanes and the dusty paths were a recurring theme as we walked through peaceful countryside and sleepy hamlets until we joined the main road but not before spying a small cafe and stopping for a drink. At this point we were informed by a large road sign that we were only 40K to Santiago. Before we entered Calas de Reis we stopped for water at an Albergue and got into conversation with a young man, Keith Fox from Dublin and his Polish partner Ania Golaska. It was so good to hear Irish voices that a two minute stop to refill water bottles turned into twenty minutes and if it hadn't been for the heat could have lasted longer. Soon it was time to start walking and at 2pm we reached the bridge that crosses into Calas de Reis. We didn't have far to look for the hotel as it is on the bridge overlooking the river Bermana.