Hilly up and down on hard surface and more beautiful vineyards, orchards. I don’t remember a soft trail on this stage, oh maybe one or two, but mostly steep pavement, even though we walked through a lush paradise. About 17-20 Kms. into a busy town.
I have a small wound from a small fall, with a dressing that needs to be changed daily for a few days, so I’m stopping in cities that have public clinics.
That will slow me down, but gives me time to visit more of each stage and meet new Pilgrims. It is my Slow Camino. When another pilgrim sees my bandage, they often tell me their stories about injuries or illness on the Camino. Camino: Physical, Mental/emotional and Spiritual. Each stage of growth reveals our strengths and vulnerabilities. And humanity. Pilgrims are not immune from all the physical and emotional realities of long distance walking. It’s complicated I think. We know the Camino is personal and different for each pilgrim, yet there seems to be an unwritten standard, how far, how fast, how light, how many, why, when, how. I want to honor our differences and celebrate each person’s walk, not the statistics.
I walked today from Porriño to the rest of the stage, Redondela, and A Conserveira, an Albergue with real privacy and a super noisy Main Street that runs through the town of about 30,000 residents.
I walked about 2 Kms to the end of town to the local hospital-clinic and they changed my bandage and told me to come back tomorrow morning for another bandaid, since I might walk to a town without a clinic. This is public medicine. Imagine it.
My walking companions on this stage included, Elena and Quinton from Australia, Patty (24 L pack, 10 lbs!) and John from USA on their fourth Camino, just finishing the Norte, (around my age). Dinner with a French filmmaker and free spirit, just when I was thinking this would be my first dinner alone. I have met many more Pilgrims on this walk than I expected, as I’ve heard fewer walk the Portugues. But since I started the last third, there are more walkers on the way to Santiago who also started in Valença or Tui.
Tomorrow I’ll likely have a short day. There is a little town, Arcade, that’s near water, and I may stop there. Walk with me and see what’s next.
Bom Caminho, Irene