Hola, amigos. We’re in España on the Way to the Espiritual Variant through Oia, Baiona and villages along the way. Every day is new on the Camino. What we imagine might or might not become reality, but onward we walk. I’ve been surprised by the number of arrows, shells, Waymarkers and Pilgrims on the Camino to Baiona.
How lucky to meet Pilgrims along the way to share conversation and meals. Some walking with bag transport and pre-booked hotels, others carrying their backpacks and finding beds as they walk. When I meet them, I don’t know the difference. They are all Pilgrims.
I left with the sunrise before breakfast just to be on the way.
For many kilometers I walked with Carlos, from Portugal, who told me about his work, his family life in Sao Miguel, Azores Islands, where the hortensias, hydrangeas, grow wild. These magnificent flowers were mostly dried up when I was in Portugal , but are still blooming and beautiful now in green Galicia. thanks to cooler, rainier weather, different climate zones for plants.
Then the topic moved on to the world. And the Climate Strike where his daughter will stand in solidarity with young citizens worldwide. Enough to say he and many pilgrims I have recently met, are fully aware of America’s politics. And the politics of other countries, including their own. We don’t live in isolation. This is the first year sociopolitical topics are common in my encounters with other pilgrims.
And as I walked I saw my Irish friends from the night before. Later in the evening, I had dinner with Pilgrims from New Zealand that I met on the Way. Small world and I’m definitely not walking alone, just solo.
Oh, did I say it was foggy and for many kilometers we only heard the ocean, but didn’t see it. The advice for not getting lost is keep the sea to your left. Reminded me of walking over the Pyrenees in fog and rain. We knew there were mountains, we heard sheep and cowbells. Sometimes we have to believe.
My backpack has lost a lot of weight since 9:00 today. I love the Correos in España. I sent on 3.1 kgs (6.8 lbs.) to Astorga and now I’m ready to walk with a reasonable load. (Don’t ask what was transported and will be waiting). Like Priority Mail.
The first accommodation I booked in Baiona wasn’t acceptable to me, down by the waterfront with an entry through a smoky, noisy cafe filled with 50 men drinking and yelling. I’m sure it’s a hangout. Or I could choose to walk through a short, dark alley in the foggy, eerie evening to the hotel entrance. It had good reviews and none about the connected cafe.
I learned 20 years ago in Findhorn, Scotland to trust my intuition and my feet. Both have helped me in my travels. In life. So onward to a safer, better room.
I love this village by the sea and decided to stay two more days at a lovely private guest house that’s near the entry into the town on the Camino, close to the futbol field with lots of kids and adults practicing and playing and Plaza Libertad, with two historical churches. Santa Maria is closed for renovations, scaffolding and blue netting! No sello there.
O escondidiño is wonderful. Sergio, the owner and proprietor and Loli offer excellent, personal help and service. The best and earns a solid 10 and great gratitude from me. I have a wonderful room, en-suite, clean and spotless. I like the garden, basic kitchen and meeting lounge, though I haven’t seen many other pilgrims here. However, they are completo for the weekend.
I definitely recommend adding a rest day in Baiona to your coastal Camino.
I’m in the rhythm now, not the walk everyday, head-down-to-the-next stage rhythm, but the feeling- grateful and being-in-the-moment-inner-peace rhythm. I’m in a hurry only in the sense of being in Astorga on September 30. I hope to start the Spiritual Variant tomorrow. Baiona to Pontevedra by bus which Loli researched and wrote down the details for me even before I paid for the lodging.
Some stages that I walked last year I’m skipping and working on reserving hostels or rooms, as this Variant seems a little more obscure to me and I want a bed for the night. Each night. So far I have a few days on my calendar. I’ll carry my pack and hope to find accommodations in the places that aren’t reserved.
Yesterday I walked hours around the path surrounding the castle and fort, Fortaleza de Monterreal, then up to the wall walk, where everyone below looked like I miniatures.
Spectacular views from the walk and the Parador, where I stopped for a late lunch. Next time I could round up a few pilgrims and we might share a room. I could stay one day at the Parador or about eight at O escondidiño for the same euros. No trouble choosing.
I walked down the hill and followed the loud speaker and music that could be heard from above. A bicycle race. My heart belongs to bicycling, after walking of course. Great fun and huge crowds. Reminded me of when I was in Cortina, Italy about 15 years ago. The bikes came out of nowhere. And I was merely a surprised observer. Alone on the street. Not that I wasn’t a surprised observer last night, but I had a lot of company. Huge cheering crowds were mesmerized by the thrill of the race, a part of a wider competition.
Earlier today, after walking kilometers around the Baiona waterfront, I sat under an umbrella on the sidewalk of Cafe Erizana, sipping leche manchada, mucho leche, a little café. Perfecto. And zumo, freshly squeezed orange juice I only drink on the Camino.
Quality of life begins with little things, that aren’t so little after all.
I’m writing this blog in a lovely garden, sitting in a rope swing, swaying to and fro, suspended from a strong branch. The sun and clouds dance shadows in this secret place. As the breeze picks up and the sky darkens, I’m reminded that here in Galicia, it rains. And then if we are lucky the sun shines.
Ultreia, dear amigos.
Onward to Pontevedra and beyond.