Slept deeply last night. The stress and long walk of the day before had worn me out. However, I awoke refreshed and ready for a moderately long walk. I breakfasted in the bar which was full of off road bikers getting ready. They were all wearing the same uniform so I guessed they belonged to a bike club. It was interesting too see this group of men, most in their 30’s, who obviously shared an interest and probably a passion, interact and to witness their group dynamics.
By 7:30 I was out the door and on my Way. Again another beautiful morning, crisp, clear, cool. Vigilant in looking for the arrows to begin with I had no trouble finding the path today. I decided I’d enjoy my thoughts or the scenery between finding the markers which worked well. By mid morning I noticed the yellow arrows going north to Santiago started to be so well marked that I felt at total ease in finding the Camino as I could follow them backwards. The blue arrows were still there but as they were not so frequent I could supplement the yellow arrows for them when unsure.
I passed a number of pilgrims going north. I have yet to meet anyone going south. A few folks stopped to talk wondering why I was going south. Many laugh or look nervous at someone going against the flow. When walking to Santiago we would sometimes see a pilgrim going the other direction and it made me a bit anxious as it did seem out of place. Today I met people from England, Spain, Belgium and Hungary (the first I’ve met). The pilgrim from Belgium had already done all the other Caminos and this was his first try at the Portuguese Way.
Around 11:30 I stopped for lunch at a cafe for a ham and cheese sandwich with a coffee. There were other pilgrims going north there too. The walk had been lovely passing through vineyards and shaded eucalyptus lanes. Everything was green and breaking into summer colors.
By 1:15 I arrived at Pontavedra my destination for the night. I’d walked over 4K per hour and felt fine. I think it was one of my earliest arrivals ever. Though I could have walked further I liked the town and found a room at a Pension recommend in the guide for only 15 Euros. Part of my goal for this walk is to enjoy the towns and sightsee as well as hike the Camino. Because I’m healthy (so far) and now in shape from the last 900K I can trek more in a day than I could a month ago and so hope I will have more time to do other things.
My routine finished I went out to explore the town. There was a lot happening; between a marathon and a bike race the place was full of “foreigners.” Lots of English and American being spoken. The town’s full of old plazas and squares with cafe tables set out to drink beer or coffee and people watch. After a beer and looking at the milling crowds I found a candy store that seemed to have every candy snack and treat imaginable. To my great pleasure and surprise I even found the brand of mixed nut snack that I’ve been searching for since our first week on the Way. This brand stopped showing up and though was replaced by other brands, they didn’t compare. I bought two!
Today I thought a lot about the nature of reality, one of my favorite things to think about. I was pondering the shift in my reality from yesterday to today. Yesterday, while I was lost and trying to right my course I was aware of the negative dialog or monolog that was passing though my mind. I knew I was creating the current reality and was reinforcing it by my mind chatter; blaming everything from the guide book to the markers to myself and my belief in my inability to easily find my Way. So I kept checking myself and saying that my external reality was a true reflection of my internal beliefs and if I saw and believed the path as being easy to navigate it would be. And unlike other times when I’ve tried to change my belief by saying I’d be smarter, more diligent etc., this time I didn’t try to change myself or my approach but rather simply believed that the path would be easy to find. And today so it was! What a wonderful lesson!
As I was writing the above at a cafe a woman asked in English if she could join me. Delphine from Adelaide, Australia had completed the Camino Francais about the same time as Lil and I. Then she wanted to walk a bit more so took a train from Santiago to Valenca, Portugal and is now walking back to Santiago, a 5 day trek. We had a nice couple of hours of conversation before she headed back to her Albergue which was located outside of town. I think for us both having someone to talk with was important as we’d been walking alone for a few days.
I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the town before settling on a hamburger for my dinner, which are popular here in Spain, from a local hamburger shop. It was different than ours but very tasty. Now I’m back in my room at the Pension and after reading a bit will go to sleep.
Hasta Luego Amigos!
A small friend teaching me the value of taking it slow. Beware of exiting walkers! Elevated vineyards.
The old Roman Road is now the Way to Santiago. Fountain in early light.
Path over water. Path over water and angel of light.
Sanctuary of the Pilgrim. Inside the pilgrim sanctuary. Pilgrim’s font.
Verdent beauty of Galacia. The bridge into Pontavedra1.
St. James the Pilgrim. Shrine dedicated to all pilgrims1.