Day 24 – Dumb and Dumber do the Caminho – Tui to Redondela (27 September, 32.6km+++, 8 3/4 hours)

Melanie and I were loving the sleep in the nice king-sized bed in a quiet corner of Tui this morning. We knew we would so we set the alarm for 5:45am. That is a little later than usual but almost everything was packed already. Since we had wi-fi, we still didn’t get out of the room until 6:45am – our normal departure time.  As we finally started walking, I was amazed at the numbers of stars that were visible in the sky, even with the street lights on. I don’t recall seeing them in Portugal. Uh oh. Ummmm….. Melanie, I think we made a mistake. Not only do we have “walk lag” but so does the sun. It won’t get light here until 8:00am, not 7:00am. Carumba!

We plowed on anyway in the dark and it was probably a good thing we did.  It was no trouble following the arrows in Spain as they are always clear and we both had torches. In one pitch-black area just outside Tui though, we were surprised by a perigrino just standing there. It turns out our new young friend, Argentinian Ezequiel, had started walking before we did and he didn’t have a torch.  He could not even find matches to light so we took him with us. He ended up accompanying us all the way to Redondela.

We were rewarded for our early start with a nice sunrise and a quiet walk to the Cruceiro San Telmo. San Telmo died at that spot while returning from his own Caminho in 1251.  We said our prayers and headed over yet another medieval bridge but not before picking up a new friend. The cutest little puppy started to follow us so we gave him the name San Telmo. He was very playful and kept jumping up to lick our hands to get us to stop walking and play with him. He didn’t like to be told to go home and he had such a hurt look in his eyes when he did give up on us after about a kilometer. I really wanted to adopt him but that could be a problem in albergues, busses, train and planes over the next ten days.

Only in Orbenlle, 9.4km into the walk, did we get a chance for coffee and breakfast. The guidebook said it was the last place to eat before Porriño but we should have ignored that. There were several more not too much further and the café has repainted the arrows to make the re-aligned Caminho go past its front door. The coffee, juice and single croissant was grossly overpriced at 6.60€. The woman serving also was very rude to our friend, Ezequiel. Melanie thinks its a “colonial thing”. The place also has rooms and four men (The Four Horsemen) who stayed there were still having their breakfast when we arrived. As we left, they jumped in the owners car to catch a lift to Porriño because “it’s not a nice walk to there”. Buggers. I told them of the alternate green route along the river but they said “yes, we know of that but the original route is not nice so we want to skip it”.  Huh?  I bet they are all taking bottom bunks in our albergue tonight.

The albergue is decent but I am still disappointed. There are not enough shower / toilets and although you can wash clothes, you are not allowed to hang them to dry. I was even scolded by the hostitalera for asking about how to dry the clothes.  I was prepared though with my owe rope and pins so we headed out to a nearby field and strung up our own clothesline in the sun. Marcelo even brought me a beer from the place where he was hanging out.

After the clothes finally dried, a large group of pilgrims decided we’d find a place for dinner.  No one noticed any real restaurants, only cafés which don’t really serve enough food.  Danish Martin remembered passing a place just at the start of town so everyone headed there but one by one, several dropped out.  I guess walking a half kilometer wasn’t worth it.  We ended up with six of us enjoying a nice breakfast (there was no other way to describe bacon & eggs) but we were right on the Caminho.  We were amazed that peregrinos were still walking into town at 8:00pm.  Included in that group were two Mexican women we had passed in Porriño around noon.  Boy are they slow!

Our first – really late in the morning – sunrise in Spain

Crossing yet another medieval bridge with our new friends after passin San Telmo’s cross

In Spain, they build bridges to ease the travels of pilgrims. I love them.

I thought this was a nice walkway along a stream.  I only found out later that the actual trail was the flooded part and the walkway was there in case of floods.

Descending down into Redondela