“It feels good to be lost in the right direction”
Last night’s hotel, the O Cruceiro, was a one star job that seemed to have an albergue section attached. The place itself was absolutely fine, and made us wonder why it was only one star rated. By the time we were trying to get to sleep we thought we might have figured it out, as the sound of scraping chairs and loud conversations reverberated around the marble floored room. I can also confirm that Galicians, just like their Celtic cousins in Scotland, enjoy a sing song in the street in the wee sma’ hours as a way of concluding a successful night out.
Breakfast was like being in a school canteen, given the large number of Spanish youngsters doing the last 100km who were chatting with their usual enthusiasm! The actual breakfast options were, however, really good, so no complaints on that score.
The walk was another pretty straightforward route on a variety of surfaces which meandered (Carolyn insists that the correct term is “undulated”) through more forest areas or beside the odd dual carriageway. The scenery along the way has, for the vast majority of the time been tremendous, but I suppose it’s unrealistic to think you’ll get all the way to Santiago without encountering one or two eyesores. As we approached the outskirts of Padron we could see, sitting at the side of the River Sar, a ghastly looking industrial (chemical?) plant, belching thick grey smoke into the atmosphere. As we got nearer the town we got a better view of this eyesore, which doesn’t do the place any favours environmentally or aesthetically.
The thing is, Padron is a lovely town, full of (I’m going to sound like a broken record here) attractive plazas/prazas containing statues or busts celebrating local people who have left their mark on the community (in a positive way, of course – no armed robbers or bankers). We have fetched up for lunch at a tremendous cafe/restaurant beside the river run by a lady who is in love with Scotland. She and her family have been all over the country, visiting Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stirling, St Andrews and Skye (the faerie pools) to name a few. She’s been explaining to us how Galicians view people from Southern Spain the way we view people from southern England. Enough said. They are immensely proud of their Celtic heritage.
I know I banged on about the food yesterday, but the meal we’ve just enjoyed here, in the intermittent sunshine, with the occasional gust of wind has been….. (huge sigh) outstanding once again. Chilled wine, lombiños de Pedros, montaditos, etc. etc. concluded with ice cream and coffee and almond cake……….well…….enough, I know.
As we’re sitting here there’s a constant stream of cyclists exploding onto the scene, loud and full of enthusiasm for life. A lot of them seem to be Portuguese, some are Italian and the rest Spanish, but boy are they noisy! There is a huge American contingent walking the Camino’s final stage, typically loud, meaning no harm, but bursting your eardrums nonetheless. I think they spend each day searching in vain for a Macdrongo’s along the route, never having their hopes realised, and consequently vowing never to revisit this primitive part of the world. I know, that’s unfair. We’ve met /passed/ been passed by Aussies, New Zealanders, Canadians, South Koreans, Germans, a Bulgarian, Irish (surprisingly few), one Englishman, Italians, a South African who jogged past us but soon reverted to walking, Spaniards (obviously) and Portuguese (ditto). All in all, virtually everyone is friendly and considerate.
Last day of the Camino Portugués tomorrow! 26km and that’s that. Of course, we’ve only done half of it. We met one Irish girl who’d set off from Lisbon, but that’s it. There aren’t even that many who set off from Porto. The majority start off in Tui, thereby missing out on the joys of northern Portugal. Big mistake, if you ask me.
To Santiago De Compostela!!!
Today’s album track is “Roll With It” by Oasis. Carolyn still felt the terrain today constantly undulated, hence the choice.”This is all too much for me to take”, as moody Liam would sing.