June 24: Caldas de Reis

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGlorious walk—perfect hiking weather, wonderful vistas, good food, and a good companion. We pounded our feet for 35.4 km (almost 22 miles); at the end of the day my legs were sore, but thank goodness for ibuprofen.

Dennis and I are amazed by all the rock in Spain and Portugal. They use granite for fence post, buildings, roads, picnic tables, plazas, and you name it; white stone for cobbled sidewalks; marble inside and outside homes. Large granite slabs are often stacked like we would stack firewood. The mountain trails are stoney (or wet). Everywhere there is rock, and yet the ground is fertile and gardens abound.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince it was Sunday, we had to walk 2.5 hours and over Alto de Canicouva at 145 m (900 ft). Coffee tasted so good I had two cups. As we crossed the old section of Pontevedra, we saw the 18th century chapel Santuario da Perregrina, shaped like a scallop shell. Nine miles later and dreaming of a beefburger, we arrived at San Amaro. To my delight, the had beef hamburgesas.

We arrived at Caldas de Reis to find a festival. There were music, games, and inflatables for the kids. The albergues were full with teenagers from nearby towns and they opened the school to accommodate pilgrims. We stayed in a hotel near the river, not knowing that it was near the center of that evenings activity.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter washing up, we sat by the river, enjoying the sun, and eating local foods. We shared a meat empanada (mine is better) and octopus grilled with garlic and spices. We were in heaven, perfect way to end a perfect day. Until…

We returned to the hotel. About 10 P.M. the music started, not more than 100 feet from out hotel room. At midnight there was fireworks coming out of a small building constructed for the occasion and which they subsequently burned down. After the pyrotechnics, the music restarted. The fiesta is the Bonfire of St. John and 24 June is regarded as the Catalan nation day, similar to our 4th of July. They had really good singers, but I was exhausted and wanted sleep. At last, I remembered my earplugs which muffled the noise enough for me to fall asleep. Dennis said they were still partying it at 4:30 A.M. The Spaniards know how to enjoy themselves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe were forewarned that most cafes would be closed in the morning. Since we are walking only 18.1 km (11 miles), we are not rushing out today. Dennis is using his amateur radio as I write this blog. We will mostly start to walk around 10:30 or 11: 00 A.M. Tomorrow we should be in Santiago.

About The Author

Jane V. Blanchard

I am an award-winning author of the "Woman On Her Way" book series, writing about my travel adventures. For more information on the books, please visit janevblanchard.com. I started the "Woman On Her Way" travel blog in 2013 to share my experiences as I explored 13 countries with my husband, traveling by ship, foot, bike, bus, train, and plane. Dennis and I continue to make memories and hope you will enjoy following along.

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