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Day 49 Baiona 0 miles (732 miles total)

We got an answer on the structures floating on the river the other day. They are rafts for farming shellfish. They hang thick “seeded” ropes off the rafts to grow the shellfish. This part of NW Spain is 3rd in world for scallop, oyster, mussel, and  clam production.  Thanks, Sarah!

Had a nice relaxing day in Baiona. What a nice town. This is the view down the main street. 

The harbor is filled with boats. Lots of nice, big boats. 

Just an FYI for those zooming in…the boats are in the upper portion of photo. 
Baiona is actually on a peninsula. 

Not sure what town is on the peninsula across the bay. Possibly Nigrán. 

I walked around the peninsula in the afternoon. It was only a couple miles. Stunning views from the paved pathway. 

There are many islands just off the coast. 

This picture is from inside the remnant of an old building. 

This is a religious memorial out near the point of the peninsula looking up to an old fort on top of hill. 

Not a bad place to stand guard duty. 

And now on to the other side of peninsula looking back to Baiona. 

If you’re ever out walking across NW Spain, I would definitely recommend a stop in Baiona. 

The “Hola” smile of the day. She’s actually trying to tell me that I should be taking pictures of the islands instead of her!

We’ll be on the move tomorrow. 
Happy trails and buen Camino!

Day 48 Vigo to Baiona 16 miles (732 miles total)

Today was a very enjoyable walk. Everything about it was great…weather, scenery, hike, people. 

Potatoes are a big staple of the Spanish diet. Mixed with eggs for breakfast (called a tortilla, very good), served boiled with most lunch/dinners, and, of course, fried (called chips). 
These folks seem to have a pretty good harvest of potatoes. 

This “Hola” smile was incredible. I saw her coming from a block away. Huge smile on her face the whole way. 

I was using my app to navigate through town. App said take a right she motioned that I should go straight. I took the right and after about 100 yards of random nothingness the Camino came back to the road. She’s standing there waiting for me with a smile (of course) and an “I told you” shrug!
We walked together for a bit until we got to her house. You should never judge a book by it’s cover. Her house looked incredible. The nicest I saw in the town. 
She gave me a couple apples as I left. Pretty sure if it was late in the day and I needed a place to stay she’d have opened her home to me. Absolutely loved this lady!
We’ve been close to the coast past couple days. Today we started getting some views. 

There are several large islands just off the coast. 

We were up on a ridge most of the day. A mixture of forest and wide open ocean vistas. 

That high rise building just doesn’t seem to fit in on that tiny little island. 

Met a young couple from Oakland along the way. We’ll just call them Amy and Warren since I can’t recall actual names. Chatted for about 5 minutes. They told me that Baiona and Caminha are both really nice beach towns and that the wines from northern Portugal are really sweet. Good info!

This stone bridge is ancient. I’m guessing the Romans built it on their way to Poo. 

Baiona is awesome. It is a well preserved old town with some nice beaches. 

On March 1, 1493, Baiona became the first Old World city to learn of the success of Columbus’ journey. The Pinta was separated from the Nina and the Santa Maria by a storm and made land here. She was captained by Martin Pinzon who some say was the true brains behind the operation. Columbus landed in Lisbon 3 days later. 

Baiona seems to be my kind of town. Think I’ll stay a while!
Happy trails and buen Camino!

Day 47 Redondela to Vigo 9 miles (716 miles total)

I’ve been very fortunate with the weather recently. Apparently Europe had a major heat wave last week. Not here. Don’t think it’s hit 80 once. Also can’t remember last time it rained more than a few sprinkles.

Today we climbed out of Redondela and walked along a ridge line virtually entire way to Vigo.

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As we were getting up to ridge line I passed a local couple who were out for a walk. Shortly after that I heard some yelling behind me. Guy I had passed was yelling “Beego. Beego.” and waving his stick…at me.

I wondered what I had done and then remembered that a Spanish V is pronounced like a B. He was telling me I was missing the turn to Vigo!!

The ridge followed a large river to Vigo. Hundreds of those flat squares along the length of the river. Some type of docking station I’m guessing.

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The traffic of pilgrims heading to Santiago has decreased significantly. Did not run into any large groups today. Crowds were small enough that I actually meant buen Camino when I said it to people.

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If you have a good imagination you can see some things here.

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The “Hola” smile of the day will be quite a collection by the time I’m finished. There will be about 50 of them. I’ll have to figure out something to do with them. Maybe I’ll make a calendar.

Her dog was supposed to be in picture as well but he hid at the last moment.

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I’m still not exactly sure what these things in the river are. Don’t get quite close enough to get a really good look. I’ve seen only a couple boats tied up to them. One looked like a small tug boat. Whatever they are, there are lots of them. Must have gone on for 5 or 6 miles.

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Vigo is a port town built into the hillside. Some pretty steep streets and an upper and lower city center.

I stayed in the lower city. Pretty modern with very upscale shopping area. Surprised I had never heard of Vigo before. It’s a pretty nice city.

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Tomorrow I will start hitting beach towns…I think. Planning to make Baiona and, if it’s a nice town, take a 0 day there.

I’d rather walk 18 or 20 miles one day and take a 0 day the next than walk 9 or 10 miles for 2 days to get to the same point. That’s my strategy for tomorrow anyway.

Happy trails and buen Camino!

 

Day 46 Pontevedra to Redondela 12 miles (707 miles total)

Today was quite hazy and humid. Still not that hit though. Mid-70’s. Fine by me.

Very nice mural on wall of bar just outside Pontevedra.

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Another day of walking primarily through the valley. Couple small ups and downs.

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This lady is the “Hola” smile of the day. Out getting some exercise with a morning walk down a country lane.

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Tried to do a selfie at one of those stick your face in the scene set-ups. Don’t really know what they’re called and didn’t work anyway!

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Things are getting a bit more coastal.

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Tomorrow the Central and Coastal Portuguese routes split. Glad for that. Will be about 1/3 the pilgrims that there are now when I get on Coastal route.

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While meeting people along the Camino (remember I’m going against flow) some think I’m lost and try to point me to Santiago. Others think they’re lost. Some ask me where I’m going. If I tell people where I’ve been their eyes get very wide!

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I think the ocean is just over that hill.

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Wanted to get to Redondela in time to find a place to watch Women’s World Cup final. Not as big deal as I thought it may be here. Watched it at a bar with 2 ladies from the Netherlands. They call their country Holland so I don’t see why everyone else wants to call it Netherlands??

Congratulations to the USWNT!

Got to catch a bit of a community concert. Accordion, bagpipes, drums, and lots of singers. Pretty entertaining.

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Tomorrow I will stop in Vigo, the biggest city in Galicia.

Happy trails and buen Camino!

Day 45 Pontevedra 0 miles (695 miles total)

Getting close to reaching a big goal/milestone. We’re at $40.50/ mile in pledges to the charities I’m hiking for. That means that over my 2 hikes, we will have raised $99,600 for these worthy charities. Don’t you think $100,000 sounds much better?  Thanks once again to all who have pledged. You’re my heroes. 

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a pretty simple guy. I don’t need a lot of fancy “stuff”.    Along this trek I’ve just looked for very basic hotel rooms to stay in. In Pontevedra, I’ve been staying at the perfect place.

Yep. Hotel Room is the name of the place. It’s actually one of the nicest places I’ve stayed in and definitely the easiest name to remember. 
Spent most of the day wandering the Old City of Pontevedra. 
Still amazed and, honesty, a bit repulsed by the ornateness of some of these old churches. 

Saturday is market day in Pontevedra. Meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, and fresh cut flowers in stalls along the outside of market. 
The center stalls are all seafood. 

There are many individual stalls and a wide variety of fresh seafood. 
She is pretty focused on the task at hand. 

100% of the seafood stalls are “manned” by women. Each individual stall is about 5-6” wide. Guessing they are family businesses. He catches. She sells. 

This is the “Hola” smile of the day even though she is actually laughing…at me!!

I was trying to get the name of the barnacle-like clawed creatures she was selling. She said the name and I tried repeating. She finally thought it may help if she wrote it down!! 
I am pretty sure Percebe are what I saw guys trying to harvest a few days ago on a rock with waves crashing beside and over them.  They sell at the market for $40 – $55/kg (2.2 lbs). 

They are extremely dangerous to harvest and I noticed that the stalls that had them were run by younger ladies. Obviously the harvest is a young man’s game. 
Pontevedra is definitely a sea town. 

Remainder of pics are just random buildings and streets through the Old City. 

I have 125 miles to Porto. Planning to arrive there in 2 weeks and spend 4 nights there before I fly out. 
These 125 miles may be more of a pub crawl than a hike. Don’t worry, I’m qualified for that. 
Thanks for your support and generosity. 
Happy trails and buen Camino!

Day 44 Tivo to Pontevedra 11 miles (695 miles total)

Once the weed whacker left, I had a nice quiet evening in my vineyard. Enjoyed drinking a nice bottle of local wine. No glass so just guzzled straight from bottle. Not my first rodeo!
Very easy stroll today. Mostly through the valleys. 

It usually takes a pretty special view or some other reason to get me to walk 1/2 mile off the trail to see. Today I did just that to see this waterfall. Nice but not jaw dropping. They do have a really nice bar at the base of it but I was a tad bit early for that!

The “Hola” smile of the day.  She seemed really nice to me but I don’t think you’d want to get on her bad side!

I am very surprised by the number of grapevines through this area of Galicia. There are no really big vineyards but every local garden has some grapes…and corn. 

I am trying to connect with my artistic side with some of these flower shots. 

Arrived in Pontevedra shortly after 1. I did a bit of exploring in the “old town” in the afternoon. Had fun telling people that “Mi casa es Playa de Ponte Vedra, Florida”. If I couldn’t get that across, I showed my drivers license. That worked. 
Lots of river bridges in Pontevedra. Will take tomorrow off and do some more exploring. 

Happy trails and buen Camino!

Day 43 Pardon to Tivo 14 miles (684 miles total)

I slept in this morning because I didn’t want to tempt myself into doing the 25 miles to Pontevedra today. I am acting so mature recently.

These goats seemed to be enjoying their playground.

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Today was primarily walking through small towns and a few forest areas.

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This going against the flow and meeting pilgrims is getting a tad old. I say “Hola. Buen Camino” to virtually every one of them. Sometimes there are lots of ‘em.

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I’m very friendly until they’re walking 4 abreast on a 4 wide path. I’ll move to the side of the path the first couple times. By the end of the day I just holler ahead “I’m not moving so one of you better”. Not very spiritual but it works.

Europeans are really lacking in the manners department. If you’re in a line, you best be aggressive or they’ll run right over you.

The walk today was a bit boring. We didn’t get up on the ridge lines to get a broad view.

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I have been waiting for this moment. Me vs Little Messi. He’s the “Hola” smile of the day although he’s really laughing at my (lack of) skills. Cute kid, huh?!!

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OK you farmers…why do they plant 3 stalks of corn right next to each other. These are in private gardens but they do it all over the place here.

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Something to do with cultivation?

I was going to help her but cultivating really isn’t my thing.

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I got to Caldes de Reis, my destination for today, about 1:30. I discovered fairly quickly that there’s not a room to be had in town.

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Choice between hiking about 12 more miles to Pontevedra or camp somewhere along the way.

I had been noticing that between rows of grapevines it is usually pretty level, shaded, and about the right size for my tent. Perfect spot.

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Perfect until some guy decides he’s going to whack the weeds between rows at 7PM. Was sure I’d get busted but he quit before my row. I had basically packed and was practicing I’m sorry in Spanish.

All worked out.

Happy trails and buen Camino!

Day 42 Santiago de Compostela to Padrón 14 miles (670 miles total)

Happy birthday to the USA. Hope you all have a great July 4th!

Got on a bus to Santiago at 6:45 this morning. Apparently I didn’t sleep very well last night because I was sound asleep when bus arrived at terminal. Bus was nearly empty when a lady woke me up. 
Went directly from bus terminal to the cathedral. Directly is probably a stretch but I made it there. 
I’m walking the Portuguese Coastal Camino in reverse so saw hundreds of excited pilgrims as they near Santiago. Saw so many that I got a bit tired of saying “Buen Camino” every 2 minutes!

We’re back into rolling hills. I think it’s about 60 miles and then along coast rest of way to Porto. 
I really have plenty of time now. I will have a few very low mileage days these last 3 weeks. 

The walking is very easy. So is staying on the trail. I just head towards where all the people are coming from. 
Lots of grapevines through this area. No big acreages but every garden has some. 

The Portuguese Camino has a Central or Coastal option to Porto. I already knew I will be taking Coastal. 

One of the advantages of going against the flow is that people will tell me what’s ahead.  Bars, lodging, etc. 
Met a couple from Germany who left Porto on Coastal and switched to Central. Said Coastal wasn’t enough of a “Camino experience”.  Too many small beach towns and beach bars. I laughed to myself because that’s exactly what I’m looking for!  To each his own. 

Jesus was sitting all alone near a church. He got all excited when I said “Hola” to him. He talked non-stop for 10 minutes. Most of the time I was just nodding or saying “Si”. He was the perfect “Hola” smile. Guessing it made his day. 

I am missing the physical challenge, incredible scenery, and solitude of the Camino dos Faros. I am not missing walking through an overgrown jungle and having no clue if I’m actually on a trail. 

One good thing about this detour is that it reminded me of all the people who are supporting me on this journey. I received an incredible outpouring of encouragement. Thanks to all of you. 
I’m still disappointed but I was never going to quit.  
My focus now is on reaching Pontevedra. We live in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. That’s cool plus I’ve heard it’s a very nice city. 
Pontevedra is about 25 miles from here. I’m going to take my time and get there in 2 days. Pretty proud of myself for not planning to race there in 1 day!  Then I’m going to take a zero day there to explore. 
Happy trails and buen Camino!

Day 41 Muxía to Ceriexo 11 miles (656 miles total)

This “Hola” smile of the day goes out to all of you who have ever driven a tractor. You know the reward of hard work and the frustration of bad fortune.

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I began this pilgrimage 41 days ago with 2 goals: (1) To raise $33,000 for the charities I’m hiking for. That would make $100,000 total over my 2 treks. We’re still progressing towards this one; and (2) To hike 810 miles so that I will have logged 3,000 miles over these 2 treks. The routes I laid out before I left totaled 890 miles so I have some “bonus” miles built in.

Last night I reached out to the person who created the apps that I have used for the parts of the Camino I have finished. I was looking for any recommendation as to how I can follow this trail. His response was “The Camino dos Faros is a work in progress. Be careful.”

I decided last night that if today was another day of inability to follow the trail that I would leave the Camino dos Faros and head to the Portuguese Coastal Camino. I can make my goal without the remainder of dos Faros.

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Over the past 27 months I have walked more than 2,850 miles in 205 days. Day 205 is the most frustrating…by far.

Today the terrain was very flat. Easy to hike…if you were on a trail. Frustrating as hell if you are bushwhacking through vegetation while getting sliced to pieces.

Try walking across these slimy rocks while knowing you eventually need to go up…

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The app says I need to take a right hand turn. No kidding! From there I just have to bushwhack. Tripping over vines, getting ripped to shreds by thorns.

I could have harvested lots of mussels, though!

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This went on for nearly 4 hours. Constantly searching for the trail. Scrapes and cuts galore.

I decided fairly early in the day that Camino dos Faros wins. I find it hard to believe anyone can navigate this. The climbs, lack of services, and no people I can handle. The rest is just not worth it.

I don’t think things would have been much better if I had been going with the flow vs against. This is just a very rarely traveled path. I saw 0 hikers today.

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Tomorrow I plan to take a bus to Santiago and get on the Portuguese Coastal Camino to Porto. Assuming I finish that, I will have done 821 miles this trek and 3011 miles total.

I am feeling defeated and just really shitty tonight but tomorrow is a new day.

Happy trails and buen Camino!

Day 40 Nemiña to Muxía 15 miles (645 miles total)

Happy birthday today to my dad. Hope you have a great day. Love you.

My tent spot worked out well. I was partially hidden by this old piece of farm equipment. Ocean to the other side…about 50’ down.

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This rock is a ways out in the ocean. If you look closely you can see a guy on top. There are also a couple guys on lower rock to the right. They are trying to get some sort of shellfish. Extremely dangerous. Waves slamming into and over rock on the right. The shellfish sells for $35/lb in restaurants. Hope they’re making lots of money!

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I also saw a guy harvesting mussels. He was on rocks near shore. Didn’t look fun but way less dangerous than guys above.

This trail keeps me very frustrated. It is apparently not traveled by very many people as trail is very overgrown by vegetation in many places. It’s also not very well marked in lots of areas.

That 2” diameter green dot is the trail marker! Almost like they’re trying to camouflage it. I despise that brush alongside. That’s the stuff responsible for scratching up my legs. It’s like death by a million paper cuts.

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Pilgrims walk from Finisterre to Muxía (or the other way) all the time. The difference is 99.99% of them go via an inland route that is about 18 miles long and has to be much easier. This coastal way is 31 miles of torture.

It’s a good thing the scenery is phenomenal or I’d be getting off this route.

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Whoever laid out this trail thinks like the people who laid out the AT. Let’s go straight up the tallest hill we can find. You can see the trail going up here.

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These 2 days on the Camino dos Faros rank as 8+ on AT difficulty scale. Guess I’m just a sucker for the views once you get to the top.

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After 3 hours I had seen no one. I finally heard what I thought was a chain saw. Not seeing anyone but I saw a jacket a gas can along trail.

A bit further up the hill I saw my hero and “Hola” smile of the day. He was weed whacking the growth on the trail. Badly needed and I thanked him profusely. Looks like jungle, doesn’t it!

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There are virtually no hikers on this trail. I saw 4 in seven hours today. All going opposite direction of me. 2 of them had come all the way from Malpica (where I’m heading to). They’re first I’ve met doing whole thing. Other 8 I’ve seen over 2 days are “just” doing Muxia to Finisterre.

The good news is that the people who came from Malpica said that of remaining 6 days, only 2 are this hard. So I’ve got that going for me…which is nice.

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It’s said that it’s not a true hike until you have your first fall. Got that out of the way today. A branch of that gnarly, prickly bush that I hate got wedged in my shoe lace (not where you tie but where they lace) and made me lose balance. The branch was so tough and wiry it took me at least 3 minutes to free myself.

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That’s Muxía up ahead. At this time I was really wishing I was James Bond. Take off on a hang glider. Do a barrel roll to elude the bad guys. Land on the back of a speeding jet ski being driven by Halle Barry. Boom ba da bing… I’m in Muxía!

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Unfortunately I’m playing the role of Sir Edmund Hillary and we will walk around until we find the steepest path to the highest point. Yeah, that narrow path on left 1/3 of picture looks perfect.

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By jove, I think we may make it.

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First though, let’s just walk through this sand.

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After 7.5 hours, I made Muxía! Last half mile was on a road. Absolute heaven.

Muxía is a cool little town on a narrow piece of land. Very unique setting.

I am going to get a good rest and see what tomorrow brings.

Happy trails and buen Camino