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Written by
Sandi Lloyd
Sandi Lloyd

Blessings Along "The Way" - Part 2

We woke on day two in our little cabin to see steam rising off the river, making everything magical.

Bags packed we went down to the main house to leave them as we enjoyed a warm and delicious breakfast… with hot Americana coffee (coffee with cream). The warmth burned off the dampness from the river fog. Our host’s van was waiting after breakfast to take us back up to the small town of Portomarin where we would get back on the Way of Saint James. Today’s destination was Palas De Rei, 24km or 15 miles, a little longer than yesterday.

The fog burned off, we would have another wonderful day of sunshine. Today we began to encounter more hills and Spring continued to surprise us with the local fruit trees beginning to blossom.

When I walked the first section of the Camino in the Basque region of France and Spain, I called it the land of bells; church bells, cow bells and sheep bells. Walking this section of the Camino, I called it the land of cows, and cow smells.

Stopping at the little cafes, many of the Pilgrims were checking their feet. I would encourage everyone to really take care of your feet (it's a hot topic on the Camino)! Bandage areas that aren’t hurting at this point, as they will begin to hurt, and always take extra band aids and mole skin with you in your day packs. (I also always carry scissors, a small sewing kit in my day pack for the needle, plus alcohol pads for blisters and cleaning the area. Over the many miles that I have walked I have lost a few toenails along the way, but never had any infections.

Walking back into the countryside, we saw the corn cribs or horreo’s. They were first used during the 13th century in Galicia Spain. They are used today like in past times to store corn and potatoes in. Some are very ornate and they are always built up off the ground to keep critters out.

A Horreo at a country home in Galicia Spain on our way to Palas De Rei

Walking through farm land, we came across this sheep, such a crazy one that when he would see a person walk by, he would run to the edge of the wall and stand there so he could get scratched. This sheep would stand there as long as someone would scratch him - can’t get too much love.

Friendly sheep on the Camino

Charlotte & Sandi with our friendly sheep

Most of our walking today had been on pretty smooth paths with crosses and other monuments along the way on the edges of fields filled with cows, sheep or land being prepared to be planted. But like all things our smooth paths came to an end and so the path below became our new way of walking. For those who usually hike, walk/run on flat ground, rocks and cobblestones can really be tough on the feet.

There are little churches all along the Camino and I would encourage you to stop and go inside sit and enjoy the peace. Many of these churches have been along The Way, since the 11th and 12th century.

The idea of walking in other Pilgrims footsteps over the centuries is an experience that words to not express. Each church that I entered allowed me to realize what a blessing walking the Camino is/was.

We often did not stop for lunch but would stop to enjoy the scenery and have a piece of fruit or a protein bar. One thing that I noticed on all our walks; the paths were almost litter free.

We had to pay attention as the markers like you see above were not always our path finders… often it would be a yellow arrow on a pole, on the curb, or on a wall. You can follow other Pilgrims, but often they do not know the path any better than you. We found this out on our next to last day, that gave us another blessing.

I was amazed how we could walk through a small village and see some lovely sculptures... 

Sculpture on the Camino

...and then a few kilometers out of town we might see a blue gnome playing a saxophone on a wall. It all makes me smile.

Sculpture on the Camino

Getting closer to Palas De Rei we found this wonderful scallop shell, the symbol of the Camino and had to stop to get our photo taken.

Sandi and Charlotte Camino Scallop

I have always journaled when I travel, but did not for any of my walks. By the time evening came around, I was too tired to sit and recount the day. Instead, I put the location finder on my camera so the photos told me where we were when they were taken.

We arrived in Palas De Rio about 5pm, as we could hear the church bells calling out the hour. Our directions said we were looking for a historic house located in the center of Palas De Rei, Casa Leopoldo at Rua da Paz, w, Esquina Avda, Ourense 39 and it is located very near the San Tirso Church.

We didn’t know where the centre of town was, and for the life of me I could not find the street! As we walked further into town I told Charlotte we needed to ask someone and she agreed. Unfortunately it was that time of day when most shops are closed and there was no one on the streets. We came to a corner, and I saw a church up on a little hill …more steps, and told Charlotte that I was going to see if the church was open and if someone inside could help us.

As we opened the door, it was dark and quiet inside, filled with the smell of burning candles and incense. An elderly gentleman was straightening things on a table and as I came up to him he looked up and smiled. In my terrible Spanish I asked if he could help us with directions to our accommodations. As he looked at the name of our accommodations, his face lit up and he shared that his home was next door to where we were staying. He was so excited, he took a card and on the back shared with me everyone in his home. After giving me the card, he took me by the hand, walked us out of the church, down the steps and walked us to Casa Leopoldo.

Card from the church

Our accommodations were lovely with embroidered bed covers. Since not all accommodations serve dinners (they all serve breakfast), we freshened up and went to look for a place to eat and found a lovely little café on a corner not to far from where we were staying. The food was delicious.

You will find that potatoes are served at almost every meal as well as a small salad and the of course there must be red wine, right? The evening getting chilly we headed back to Casa Leopoldo for a good night’s sleep.

Lying down I realized that the magic of the Camino was based in Kindness for each other.

Sandi


Journey onwards to the next part of Sandi's Camino diary here, or read part 1 of Sandi's Camino diary here, and for more information on walking the Camino de Santiago, visit Macs Adventure's website.

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