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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
Stamps Collected on October 16
- Previous journal entry: Portuguese Camino Day 10: Homemade Vino de la Casa
- Next journal entry: Portuguese Camino Day 13: Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
For more information about my pilgrimage along the Camino Portugués, visit my Portuguese Camino web page.