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"True Pilgrim"
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Day 247 - - Apúlia

Rather a lot of pilgrims on the road, perhaps they had all come out again after hunkering down somewhere against the rain ? They did anyway seem to appear mostly after it died down a little again.

Seafront and boardwalk again, except after I made a mistake, not a wrong turn but a bad choice, to take a more inland route on tarmac and cobblestone. Interesting to walk through the local marshland vegetable farm area, but the walking itself was a bit less pleasant. Oh well, live and don't learn ...

Anyway it was clear that Fão would be too far, and my feeling from the number of pilgrims was that the Albergue and youth hostel there would be full (as there seems to be a majority of reservagrinos), so I came here instead, and as there was only top bunk place available in the dorms, took a single room. Good enough, and I did feel happy for a bit more solitude, though the pilgrims staying here are a good lot, talking of other topics than blisters.

Ham and cheese from the supermarket was enough, though I will need some pilgrim menu soon after a couple of days without, and I seem to have got enough rest now to recover from all those nights outdoors the other week.

I am noticing that I seem now to need less beer to get started in the morning, the pain is that much less, even to the extent that I can forego carrying any in the backpack, which is a serious improvement from the two litres I needed to carry when starting this thing in 2019, or the one litre I had carried in 2021 and this year until very recently.

I guess I might still carry some when I get back to some of the longer and drier stretches of the Francès, but we'll see.

Some blue Fátima arrows have made their appearance again.
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"True Pilgrim"
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Days 248 and 249 - - Marinhas ; Castelo do Neiva

I continue to walk 10 to 15 K days, with more or less difficulty from day to day.

The walk to Marinhas was OK in the morning, along the sea, getting more difficult for me when it turned inland, not from the trail, just from fatigue, though I did end it with a tarmac shortcut which wasn't too bad. The Albergue was a bit awkward, having a downstairs upstairs arrangement that really didn't suit me, but I slept OK.

Worst really though was that the one decent place for food was closed for holidays, so I ended up with just scraps.

So then the next morning start was tougher, and the next day shorter. Got a bit better with a breakfast after about 5K, of a turkey slice with eggs, but I still wasn't going to go much further, and I didn't.

In the morning it was cobblestones up and down a hill, then after the breakfast, leading to a dirt trail down to the river, not difficult as such, but there were a few passages that were a tiny bit tricky with my knees and ankles. Then up the other side, cobblestones again, up to the church and the Albergue.

Both Albergues were super full as usual, though the number of pilgrims left out does seem to be decreasing slowly.

Anyway, got in early enough to get my clothes washed, there were beers in the Albergue, and I finally had that pilgrim menu I'd been wanting, steak with a cream and mushroom sauce. A bit too expensive.

I had seen a couple of Polish pilgrims over the past three days, a father and daughter couple, as he's walking nearly as badly as I am, though yesterday they passed on ahead. It made a nice change to see some pilgrims more than once, and I guess there's a little chance I could come across them again.

He is the only pilgrim on this whole Camino so far that I have overtaken on the trail, though he passed me in the same way yesterday, and I am still now anyway a few K behind now.

The weather is a bit warmer again, and still quite humid, but the clouds have lifted.

The first-timer pilgrims have reached the point where they have stopped discussing blisters, are talking about the day's hike, and have started the sharing of their life experiences stuff. OTOH, the proportion of French retired pilgrims on their Nth Camino has increased, it's that time of year.

Day 250 today, and we'll see how far I get, though I would assume just 10K again. I will need some beer from somewhere this morning.


"True Pilgrim"
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Day 250 - - Hooray !! - - Viana do Castelo

Took a while to get out of the village, and a few beers, and I chose to follow the tarmac rather than the trail, and it was pretty much straight, easy, and virtually all downhill.

Weather not too bad, but still somewhat humid.

I was one of the last into the Albergue, for a mattress on the floor, and I slept pretty well, as I was able to put it into a corridor where I was alone, and people occasionally going along to the bathroom didn't bother me in the slightest.

Another overpriced pilgrim menu, the food was definitely better away from this more popular route. Still, the meat was good.

Having an earlier start this morning, looks like.
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
Having an earlier start this morning, looks like.
The best way to avoid the humidity! (Good to read you are inside at night. Yes, putting up with what comes is part of any camino. And...)
You'll soon be back in Spain.

Edit: You may already have this info, but I just saw this in another thread and thought it might be useful:
Ferry from Caminha to A Guarda
Ferryboat Santa Rita de Cássia
Departs from Caminha at 09:00 every half hour until 18:00 (Portuguese time).
Returns from A Guarda at 10:30 every half hour until 19:30 (Spanish time).

BUT it does not run at low tide.

AND it does not run on Mondays.

The Portuguese weekly ferry schedule is updated here:
Near bottom of page, click on: the Horário PDF for the week you want.
The Spanish weekly ferry schedule is updated here:

Portugal is one hour behind Spain. So the ferry from Caminha (Portugal) to A Guarda will be one hour earlier than that shown on the A Guarda (Spain) timetable.

There is also a guy called Mario, in Caminha, who has a boat and can take you across. His phone number is +351 963 416 259.
Mondays are a problem but the water taxi (a large row boat with a motor that seats 6) does run on demand. The owner also hangs out at the coffee shop near the dock. I think it was 5E for the trip.
Here is a link to the Caminha tide chart; Low tide today is 17.36:
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"True Pilgrim"
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Day 251 - - Carreço

I followed the yellow arrows for a while, OK at start, but found that it was becoming an increasingly uncomfortable cobblestone pathway in the hills above the coast, far from the kind of bars and cafés where I need my rests every few K.

So I headed down to the tarmac, and quickly found some beers.

Then it was easier, sometimes on a walkin/jogging/cycling path parallel to the main road, sometimes on the functionally equivalent hard shoulder.

Got into Carraço early enough and started considering options, then near midday just called here to see if there were room, and yes, so good.

I could possibly have gone a bit further, and in large part I wanted to, but I looked at the Albergues situation, and decided there was just too much risk of being stuck outdoors.

And I am very glad at that decision. This place is great, the beds are among the most comfortable I've found, great mattresses and thick duvet covers. Fantastic shower room.

Then in the evening, chatting with the pilgrims, bottle of tinto, and ordered a large thing of grilled meat, ribs and chicken, perfect.

I finally decided out of my options that I will cross over on the ferry, and carry on along the Coastal, basically in order to avoid Tui and the likely massive crowd there. Numbers once past Porto have been significant but not enough to overwhelm the Albergue infrastructure, but they presage nothing good for the final 100K of the Central, so I want to at least try to minimise the effects of the crowding on the 100K in, then the 100K out of Santiago.

hmmmm, I don't *think* I'll take the Invierno, but I'll consider those options properly when I'm there.

Starting on tarmac again today.
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Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
hmmmm, I don't *think* I'll take the Invierno, but I'll consider those options properly when I'm there.
On the way out of Santiago, you mean? Depending on your timing heading home, you might catch the tail end of the September wave that will have started from SJPP a month ago. :eek: Well...the Invierno's much less travelled - and has much more pilgrim infrastructure than it once did. But...hills. And there are some places where short stages are a challenge.


"True Pilgrim"
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Days 252 and 253 - - Caminha ; A Guarda

I am in Galicia !! I am in Spain !!

Yesterday was frankly exhausting.

If it weren't for the border, and my desire to reach it, I would certainly have stopped at Moledo, and slept wherever.

The tarmac as far as Afife was mostly a small walking/jogging/cycling path parallel to the main road, and I carried on through there with a halt at a fairly grotty bar, and started to be hit with more pain than usual about when I got back to the main road. Some big rocks in the shade did provide a resting spot there.

On the main road again to the supermarket at the beginning of Vila Praia de Âncora, bit of a longer halt, then through the town, for one last Portuguese menu, ribs again. And two last glasses of Port, at least until I'm back home.

Gave me the strength to drag myself to Moledo, where I needed two more stops and IIRC 6 more beers, as the pain was really flaring up.

But that was enough pain-killing to get me to Caminha, where some intuition got me to look in at the Albergue Bom Caminho. She had top bunks left only, but I had to decline as I can no longer climb up on those, then offered to drive me to Seixas, but I said why would I go there, I am crossing on the boat tomorrow - - then we started chatting for real, and I ended up sleeping in the back garden, and getting a shower.

There was a communal meal that I could have bought into, except it was pure vegan and inedible for me, it was eating veg that forced me to stop last year. So good thing I had eaten that lunch !!

Did help carry plates to the others though, and did get a couple of glasses of tinto.

But turn of the season is making sleeping outdoors a bit less simple, not for cold, but for the humidity and dew. The damp combined with the fatigue from the hiking to leave me like the walking dead in the morning.

So, dragged myself to the first café for a) wait for the meds to kick in b) beers.

Then a shop for 3 more, drank the first on the Taxi Boat over, two others on the other side, then two first Spanish cervezas in the Sports club, then finally actually get walking for real at about midday Spanish time phew !!

Did OK 'til the first bar, where a kind bloke bought me a beer, and they gave me a simple tapa of some olives and a little cheese on bread, and off on the boardwalk, and it's just beautiful here, but my bloody knees !!

Anyway, eventually a stop at the first place, would have eaten there nearer the start of the month, but still I was given a second tapa with my beer, some chorizo slices and very good I must say, then into town and found myself FINALLY the simple, straightforward steak & eggs I had been craving during these two months or so in Portugal, but they just don't understand how to make it.

Then up to the Albergue and it is NOT full !! Hooray !!

It is a relief though to be back in Spain. I did love Portugal, but the food did not suit me so well, with some notable and delicious exceptions, and the mental fatigue of coping with my poor Portuguese did accrue week to week. Back into the Spanish is a comfort zone by comparison.

And whilst I like the Sagres, I really do far prefer the Spanish beers, the Portuguese Super Bock / Sagres duopoly being rather non-ideal to my mind.

I am nearly two thirds through my Camino, and from now on, there are clear sections to it, and not just the constant grind towards distant goals that it has been so far.

So it's not just a geographic and political border I've crossed, but also a threshold into the start of my journey back through the familiar, albeit not quite yet the shift into walking homewards.


"True Pilgrim"
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Days 254 and 255 - - Oia ; Viladesuso

This is the most expensive part of any Camino I have ever walked in, not excluding the French Riviera and Tuscany.

Also, the knee is really acting up.

The landscape is extremely beautiful though, so it's quite the shame that the knee problems are drawing me into myself.

I managed to get into La Cala at Oia, originally to sleep for free on the floor, then cancellations came and I had a bed.

Good place.

But then it took me 'til nearly 10 to get out, knees, and nearly another hour to get out of Oia, and all I could do was walk the short distance to Viladesuso.

I'd write more, but as I said, I am drawn overly into myself by this, and so am not in the mood - - but I do continue onwards.


"True Pilgrim"
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Day 256 - - Baiona

I passed a major milestone yesterday, as I reached the westernmost point of this Camino.

I simply ran out of West.

So back against the Atlantic, though I still follow its coastline for a few hours today, and face beginning to turn towards the Pyrenees, Mediterranean, Alps, and home.

Full tarmac yesterday otherwise, and looks like again today and tomorrow. And I am now moving out of the ultra touristy section of this, phew.

The Albergues are generally becoming of the more standard type that all are aware of, and at least I'm heading into the parts of Galicia where there are the basic cheapo Xunta ones, boring though they may be. But not there yet, need to get to Vigo first.

They are still pretty full, but starting to be filled less than 100%, though we'll see what it's like after the Coastal and Central join up.

The weather is cooling gradually, though it has still been warm enough, and humid. Still a bit too warm for the cape, except punctually so.
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"True Pilgrim"
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Days 257, 258, and 259 - - Saiáns ; Vigo ; Redondela

I am on the Caminho Português Central !!

Three curious days.

I walked to Saiáns on the tarmac, eating nothing all day except for tapas - - as this is one of those parts of Spain where it is still customary to give a tapa with your drink, indeed on the second morning in these three days, having a coffee and a beer, I was given a different one with each, small brioche with the coffee, a slice of tart with the beer.

Saiáns was a mattress on the floor, but still the same €10, and the hospitalera aggressively enforced the (silly) leave by 7:30 AM rule.

More tarmac to Vigo, and after a local gave me a 2-3 K lift towards town, I did contemplate moving on further (though after today I am glad I didn't), though it took me hours to find and get to the Albergue in Vigo, which of course was near to full with the 100K people starting over the weekend. I did drink far too many large Mahou cervezas, so that despite crashing into bed relatively early, I slept an unusual 10 hours, and woke up both tired and late.

It was a struggle to get out of Vigo, including because I had eaten virtually nothing on the second of these days, just that double tapa, the supermarkets being closed on Sunday, and money having become scarce again (sigh).

But I dragged myself through half of the city, got myself some ham and cheese, breakfast, then dragged myself a little less ponderously to the last bar out of Vigo, couple of coffees, then stumbled a bit more, then started walking.

Tarmac through the suburbs, then forest trail, with several springs and founts along the way. Pleasant but slow.

Among the last few pilgrims I saw along the way, there was a blind man, helped along by his guide peregrina. Most impressive.

And it's within the 100K zone, and it's the day after the weekend, so the place is packed, all Albergues full, with the crowd who started at Tui, or Vigo, plus the rest of us.

Not really surprised by this of course, and there were many pilgrims possibly planning on sleeping out, or getting a taxi, and so on - - but as I started to head out and look for a decent place to bunk down myself, because I most certainly did NOT book ahead, I saw a little sign pointing to the Albergue Santiago Apostól (as I found out, the Parrochial), and something came to me, try there, and then after the hospitalera, a young nun, had explained about being full, I asked for a sello, then she saw my ultra huge credencial - - and BTW side A was finally filled up in Vigo, and I am now on side B - - meanwhile she checked in a few pilgrims who had reserved, I peeked about, then I suggested I would happily sleep on the ground in the patio (which is indoors), discussion, and so long story short, I will be sleeping in the living room space instead.

I am not sleeping outdoors. Hooray !! My inflatable mattress most days is just some bulk of nuisance, but apart from the obvious use for sleeping outside, occasionally it gets me into these places that are completely full.

It's how I got into La Cala at Oia, though after a cancellation, I ended up getting a bed there.

Probably going to be a slightly difficult night, especially as the pay coffee machine is in here so the early risers are likely to trouble me in the morning, but that's better than the annoyance and damp from morning dew.

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