I awoke this morning feeling much better than I did yesterday. I still felt a bit tired, but otherwise much improved.
I was a bit hesitant about going out in public, however. We are still in the middle of a pandemic after all.
The chances that I was sick with COVID-19 were very low. I recovered from the Coronavirus over a year ago and am fully vaccinated with two shots of the Moderna vaccine.
But it was still possible. I did not want to unknowingly spread the virus. Better to take a COVID test just to make sure. Self-administered antigen tests are super cheap and widely available at pharmacies in Spain and Portugal.
It took me a while to find a pharmacy that was open because it was a Sunday. But I did eventually find one and took the test.
It was a big relief to confirm that I didn’t have the Coronavirus. Yay!
I began the day by walking through the city of Pontevedra.
I wished I had felt better during my stay here. It looked like a lovely city. There was a charming Old Town with pedestrian-only zones decorated with Xacobeo 2021 flags.
Xacobeo 2021 refers to the fact that this is a holy year. The reason it’s a holy year is because Saint James Day falls on a Sunday.
For many pilgrims, walking the Camino is even more meaningful because it is a holy year this year. I actually had no idea it was a holy year until I learned about it on the Camino.
Puente del Burgo Bridge
Before leaving Pontevedra, I crossed over the historic Puente del Burgo bridge. This medieval bridge spans the Lérez River and was originally of Roman construction.
Apparently, there are pilgrim’s shells carved above the arches of the bridge between the pillars. I didn’t actually see these when I walked across and but learned about them later.
The views from the bridge are great though.
Junction for the Variante Espiritual
Just north of Pontevedra, the Camino reaches a junction for the Variante Espiritual.
This is a popular alternate route on the Portuguese Camino. The variant adds a couple of days to the Camino and includes some coastal views as well as a boat ride.
If I had more time I would have loved to check out the Variante Espiritual. Ahh well, maybe next time.
Capilla de San Cayetano
Eventually, I reached the small town of Alba.
My favorite aspect of this village was the Capilla de San Cayetano. I ducked my head inside this small chapel to find a self-stamping station inside.
This was one of my absolute favorite stamps on the entire Camino! (You can view it in Stamps section at the bottom of the page).
A Pousada do Peregrino
By late morning, I was hungry for a snack. So I stopped at A Pousada do Peregrino.
This cafe is right on the Camino and is evidently geared towards pilgrims. In fact, it was packed with fellow peregrinos when I arrived.
There must have been over 50 pilgrims there. It actually was a bit overwhelming to be around so many other people.
Apparently I was in a bubble of pilgrims because when Natalia arrived at the same cafe an hour or two later, she said it was fairly empty.
Cafe Bar Oasis
Half an hour later, I regretted ordering only a snack at A Pousada do Peregrino.
The reason I kept my order small was because I planned to eat lunch at a restaurant further up the trail. Unfortunately, it was closed.
So I was pretty hungry for the next hour or two. The countryside was lovely through this part however so I was happily distracted.
When I finally saw a sign for the Cafe Bar Oasis, I was quite relieved. So I stopped in for small lunch.
Caldas de Reis
Before too long, I reached Caldas de Reis. In fact, I reached it a bit faster than I had planned.
Caldas de Reis was my stopping point for the day, which meant that I had walked 21.1 km (13 miles). This was one of my longer days on the Camino so far and it flew by. And the best part was that my foot didn’t hurt at all!
I guess taking a day off yesterday had allowed my foot to heal. Yay!
I spent the night at Villa Galicia, a charming guesthouse in Caldas de Reis.
This was definitely one of my favorite places to stay on the entire Camino. The rooms are clean and nice and very affordable. Plus there is a pool in the backyard!
Natalia arrived at Villa Galicia a while later and we went out for dinner together at Mesón Bermaña. We ordered a giant platter of seafood and enjoyed every bite. Yum!
Portuguese Camino Stats
Date: Sunday, October 17
Starting Location: Hotel Galicia Palace in Pontevedra
Ending Location: Villa Galicia in Caldas de Reis
Camino Distance Walked: 13 miles/ 21.1 km
Distance to Santiago: 26.3 miles/ 42.3 km
AllTrails Map Recording
Here is the recording and map for the distance traveled today:
Note: the distance in this recording doesn’t match my Camino distance because it includes some off-route walking.
Stamps Collected Today
- Previous journal entry: Portuguese Camino Days 11 & 12: A Sick Day
- Next journal entry: Portuguese Camino Day 14: Making New Friends at a Kindergarten
For more information about my pilgrimage along the Camino Portugués, visit my Portuguese Camino web page.