Day 23 – Mos to Pontevedra – 21mi/32km
I’m off alarm duty. I slept right through my alarm and Finn, Lis, and “Uncle Bernard” took off before David and me today. They only left about 15 minutes before us but it took us at least an hour to catch up to them – they keep a good pace! We went over hill and over dale today on rolling countryside, ultimately climbing over 1000 feet in all. While the morning was crisp and cool, the sun eventually got hot, which was a struggle on those big climbs.
One highlight of the day was when we passed through Pontesampaio which had a delightful Roman bridge, which we admired for a bit. A lowlight was that it was Sunday and many places were closed, so breakfasts and coffees were hard to come by.
At around 3pm, we arrived at the Pontevedra pilgrims’ hostel and found that all its 56(!) beds were taken, as were the 57(!) of the private hostel just up the street. We booked an Airbnb, but saw several pilgrims scrambling for affordable beds throughout the city. We learned that a local gym was creating floor space for the pilgrim overflows. Pontevedra is the last place where this Camino’s “Coastal Way” meets the “Central Way.” Like it or not, we’re in that last 100km, and it is PACKED. We’re hoping that the alternate route we’re taking tomorrow, the “Spiritual Way,” will have fewer people and no “race for beds.”
We DID have a great dinner at “King Döner Kebab,” which is super affordable but near the very top of Pontevedra’s restaurants on TripAdvisor. When you’re looking for Döner, Don’t look for the Duke, the Count, the Prince, the President, or the Chancellor. Look for the KING!
We’ve entered the final 100km rush of people to Santiago. This includes the Spanish and other folks going for the minimum amount and the coastal route merging into the central route.
This meant that over 100 beds in the albergue were filled by the time we arrived in Pontevedra! Some people walked a shorter distance and others left before us. We ended up in an AirBnB.
The walk today included two climbs and descents and the views were really nice. Being Sunday few cafes are open so you have to take advantage when possible.
Since Porto this Camino has felt much more Caminoish with more camaraderie, better trails, and more scenic towns.
Sometimes you have to slow down the mind and appreciate what you’re actually doing. It’s easy to caught up in the physical stress and never actually stop and enjoy what you are doing.
The town of Pontevedra is another comfortable and relaxed Spanish city that isn’t too large or too small. My favorite time in these places is in the evening when people are out taking relaxing walks and just sitting.