O Porriño to Redondela (16 kilometers, feels like that)
After a day walking in the rain, you couldn’t help but admire the optimism that filled the auberge in O Porriño. Wet clothing was hanging everywhere. A carpet of wet shoes was laid out before the one window that offered sunlight after the clouds broke.
Just the same, everyone left the next morning with damp clothing and damp shoes. We all smelled like wet dogs.
Pilgrims hung wet shirts and socks off of backpacks with clothespins and clamps in the hope that the early morning sun would do the trick. The clothing swayed in the warm air as hikers strode onward and, soon enough, things dried enough to stow inside the pack.
Blisters from walking in soggy shoes and socks were another matter.
And today’s trek was no help for aching feet. The road to Redondela rose before us for 10 kilometers to a height of 250 meters. Steep in places, yes, but mostly just up, up, up.
And that is followed by a 6-kilometer rapid descent into Redondela.
With all this up and down before us, I made my first big strategic move of the Camino: I called ahead and booked a room at a privately run auberge about three kilometers past Redondela.
For once we didn’t have to chase the crowds. We could slow our pace and enjoy the journey, knowing there was a bed with our name on it.
And it kind of worked out that way.
Passing through Mos. Inside the coffee shop, hundreds of coins were glued to the stone walls. I’m sure there is a great story behind that but the place was jammed so we had to let it go:
First we stopped in Mos, a pretty little village, six kilometers north of Porriño, for a little breakfast and coffee. So did everyone else.
But we were in no hurry because … I had booked ahead!
The hill climb was actually pleasant. There were more pilgrims on the road, including plenty we’d met previously. The sunshine seemed to bring out the conviviality. Lots and lots of “Buen Camino.” to go around.
Scenes along the Camino to Redondela. What you don’t see are the many roads we walked on this day:
Redondela seemed to be a real mashup of Medieval, modern and industrial — and almost completely empty of people. Granted it was a Sunday morning in Spain, but does everybody go to church?
Though we arrived well before noon, there was already a good-sized line forming in front of the municipal auberge. You could see why right away. It is a nicely refurbished 16th-century manor house. I just couldn’t see the point in sitting in front of another closed door for two hours, waiting for it to open. We’d done that, thanks.
Instead, we walked on until we found a sunny outdoors cafe in an expansive plaza, and ordered some lunch. No hurry, you see, we had a bed booked farther down the road.
As we ate and traced our progress on the Peregrino map placemat, the cafe began to fill with locals in their Sunday finery. Cafe staff hurriedly set out more and more tables and chairs, widening the al fresco island in all directions.
We took our leave just as things were beginning to happen. By mid-afternoon that must be one rollicking crowd.
Welcome to Redondela, pretty much a ghost town on a Sunday morning:
Not much to say about the other side of Redondela. Oh, another good-sized hill but we were well-fortified with lunch and coffee. We wrestled this one to the ground.
Just off the peak was our auberge for the night, O Refuxio de la Jerezana. Not overlooking the water, as I’d been led to believe. More like, overlooking the highway. But a very pleasant and tidy garden compound with excellent washing and drying facilities, which we coveted more than food at the moment.
Home sweet home for the night:
Refuxio must get high praise in certain German travel guides. Virtually every guest that day was German. Even the staff was German. Our friend Steffi was there ahead of us and steeped in the same routine we were looking forward to — do laundry, tend to blisters, dry out in the warm sunshine, sip a beer, and await the call for dinner.
Planning ahead has its good points on the Camino.
All in all, not a bad way to end a day.