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Portuguese Camino Days 11 & 12: A Sick Day

Last updated Nov 6, 2021 | Published on Oct 25, 2021

I awoke to a dingy hotel room with a sore back and a headache. My body felt as if I had gotten hit by a truck.

I had slept poorly the previous night thanks to an extra firm mattress. My trick of stuffing pillows under my hips and shoulders had helped a little, but not much.

Outside, rain clouds gathered and cast a gloomy pall over the city of Pontevedra. According to the weather report, we were in for a rainy afternoon.

I was bone tired and wanted nothing more than to spend the day in bed. I felt as if I was on the verge of getting sick. Walking for 21 km (13 miles) to the next town on the Portuguese Camino (Camino Portugués) seemed like a bad idea.

But there was no way I was going to stay another night in this dump. The room smelled like cigarette smoke and featured an undesirable collection of human hair on the bathroom floor when I arrived, along with some *actual* garbage. I had endured it for one night, but two was out of the question.

I considered walking a shorter distance today instead of going all the way to Caldas de Reis. That could be an acceptable solution.

Unfortunately, a quick perusal of the map yielded no obvious places where I could spend the night. There were a couple of hostels along the way, but they held no appeal for me. Sleeping in a room full of strangers (especially when I could possibly be getting sick) seemed like a bad idea.

I did find a cute guesthouse and even got my hopes up about staying there. Then I remembered that it was a Saturday. Sure enough, the hotel was fully booked up.

So it was time for a new plan.

Walking through the countryside just north of Redondela

Waking in the Dark

The previous morning, I began the day at the Albergue O Corisco in Padrón. Not to be confused with the famous city of Padrón, this small hamlet is located about 3.5 km (2 miles) south of Redondela.

My alarm woke me earlier than normal. In fact, it was still dark outside when I got up thanks to the time zone change in Spain.

I had big plans for the day. If all went as planned, I would be in Pontevedra by the end of the day. In fact I had already made hotel reservations in Pontevedra for the night.

Good morning O Corisco Bar and Albergue!

There was only catch – Pontevedra was 24 km (15 miles away). This would be my longest day on the Camino so far. I was eager to push myself but also a little worried about how my foot would handle the distance. It still hurt occasionally at the end of the day or after climbing steep hills.

So I got up early to ensure I would have plenty of time for breaks and to rest my foot.

Walking the Camino just after sunrise

Fun photo op station on the outskirts of Redondela


After walking for about an hour, I reached the city of Redondela.

According to Wikipedia, the city’s claim to fame is its two railway viaducts. I noticed a high-speed train rushing by on one of the viaducts as I approached the outskirts of town.

The streets of Redondela were fairly quiet as I walked through the city. It was still too early for much activity.

Welcome to Redondela

Not many people out and about at this hour

A quiet morning in Redondela

Mobile Camino Souvenier Stands

North of Redondela, I passed my first mobile Camino souvenier stand.

I saw more of these the closer I got to Santiago. In fact, the sheer number of Camino-themed gift shops and souvenier stands eventually became a bit overwhelming.

When I saw the first one, however, I was delighted. I bought a Camino patch to sew on my backpack and picked up a Camino stamp.

I passed another stand an hour later and added the new stamp to my collection. I do love me some stamps!

Mobile souvenier stand

Now that’s a nice view!

Reaching the N-550 highway

Lunch in Arcade

After climbing up and over a wooded hillside, I eventually emerged onto highway N-550 just south of Arcade.

This is one of many sections along the Camino which follows a major roadway. It is a bit unsettlling to walk on a narrow shoulder with traffic whizzing by at such high speeds.

I was pretty hungry so I stopped at the first cafe I saw, which happened to be A Filla do Mar Albergue and Restaurant.

A Filla do Mar Restaurant

Lunch! I had a similar meal almost every day. It seems to be the standard pilgrim menu.

Another hórreo (grain storage structure)


The biggest highlight of the afternoon was crossing the Ponte Medieval de Pontesampaio Bridge. This graceful ten-arch bridge is located where the last battle against Napoleon’s army in Galicia was fought.

Ponte Medieval de Pontesampaio Bridge

Crossing the bridge

The view from the bridge

Hórreo on the other side of the bridge

Alternate Route along the River Tomeza

About 3 km south of Pontevedra, the Camino diverges. Here, pilgrims can choose to follow the official path along the main road or take an alternate route along the River Tomeza.

I’m a sucker for pretty scenery so I took the alternate path. I got the feeling that most pilgrims take the main route, however, as it was pretty deserted.

Or maybe they all made it through here before me. My foot was quite painful at this point so I wasn’t going very fast.

Junction for the alternate route along the River Tomeza

Walking along River Tomeza

Bridge crossing

Boardwalk through a swampy area along River Tomeza

Approaching the Outskirts of Pontevedra

Before rejoining the main path in Pontevedra, the alternate Camino route travels through an urban zone. This area is filled with interesting graffiti and passes under several highway underpasses.

The Camino alternate route passes under this overpass before rejoining the main path in Redondela

This graffiti cleverly makes use of existing structures

This tunnel was both a little magical and a little creepy at the same time

The Tiny Bath Tub

By the time I arrived at my hotel in Pontevedra, I was exhausted. The sun had already set and all I wanted to do was to take a bath.

I picked the Hotel Madrid specifically because some of their rooms have bath tubs. I love taking baths and haven’t had one for a few weeks. Soaking in hot water sounded especially nice after such a long day on the Camino.

When I opened the door to my hotel room, my heart sank. The room looked much nicer in the photos than it did in real life. Also the room stank like an ashtray. Apparently this was a smoking room.

I didn’t have the energy to make a complaint, so I decided to just open the windows to let in some fresh air.

Upon entering the bathroom I had a further surprise. The bath tub – which I paid extra money for – was about half the size of a normal tub. Only very small children or midgets would comfortably fit into this tub.

I wasn’t going to let that stop me, however. So I filled up the tub and crawled in. I managed to squeeze partway into the tub and put my feet up on the wall.

The teeny tiny bath tub in Hotel Madrid. Blow dryer for scale.

I am determined to take a bath in this teeny tiny tub, darnit!

Sick Day on the Camino

Fast forward to the next morning. I laid in bed for several hours feeling miserable and debating what to do.

Eventually, I decided to listen to my body. I would take the day off – but in a different hotel room.

Eager to avoid making the same mistake as last night, I booked a room in the upscale Hotel Galicia Palace.

This room was *super* nice. It was pricey but worth every penny. I instantly felt at ease and climbed into bed.

I spent the rest of the day in my luxurious bed napping and relaxing. For dinner, I ordered food for delivery on UberEATS.

Let’s hope I feel better tomorrow.

My cushy and much more comfortable room at Hotel Galicia Palace.

Food delivered to my room courtesy of Uber Eats. Yay!

Portuguese Camino Stats

Date: Friday, October 15
Starting Location: Albergue O Corisco in Saxamonde/Padrón, Spain
Ending Location: Hotel Madrid in Pontevedra
Camino Distance Walked: 15 miles/ 24 km
Distance to Santiago: 39.5 miles/ 63.5 km

Date: Saturday, October 16
Starting Location: Hotel Madrid in Pontevedra
Ending Location: Hotel Galicia Palace in Pontevedra
Camino Distance Walked: 0 miles/ 0 km
Distance to Santiago: 39.5 miles/ 63.5 km

AllTrails Map Recording

Click here to view my map recording for today:

Note: the distance in this recording doesn’t match my Camino distance because it includes some off-route walking.

Stamps Collected on October 15

Conchas del Camino – Popup Stand

Xesleio Artesania Redondela – Popup Stand

Capela de Santa Marta Bértola

A Filla do Mar Arcade – Albergue and Restaurant

Stamps Collected on October 16

Hotel Madrid Pontevedra

Hotel Galicia Palace

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For more information about my pilgrimage along the Camino Portugués, visit my Portuguese Camino web page.

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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

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