An Update from Spiritual Variant Day One

Hola amigos, Post from 21 September, 2019

I’m in the village of Poio, on the Spiritual Variant. My room is in the Monasterio de Poio Hospedería, less than 10 kms and a world away from Pontevedra.

We walked in lush, green, rainy and beautiful hills and paths.

Most of the time my camera was in my bag out of the rain. But I still have lots of photos. Of course.

I began my day in the dark, easily taking the bus from a stop near my guest house in Baiona to Vigo (thanks to Loli) and changing to a bus to Pontevedra.

I am skipping some stages that I walked last year, but had planned to stay one night in Pontevedra.

However, with possibility of rain all week, I decided to walk through the city and begin the Spiritual Variant today. I followed the arrows from the bus station all the way across the city, no detours or problems.

Last year after walking from Redondela, the Camino in this city seemed to go on forever and I had no room reservations. It was sunny and warm, hot, about one year ago. This year was easy. I found my way, following Wise Pilgrim, arrows, shells and other pilgrims. For me a walk on this route, the Camino, is always a spiritual journey, beyond religion. No explanation needed. Each pilgrim walks with stories of the heart.

I’m elated. I almost missed this route. Thinking it might be too difficult or solitary. But that has not been true. Ever since I began walking from Caminha, I have felt at peace, an inner joy that guides me, around, over and through the hesitations, worries and what ifs.

What good fortune to return and continue, rather than just wish. Grateful to be writing a new chapter.

I visited the Monastery of San Juan de Poio, known for its cloisters and its outstanding sculptures and Camino Mosaics.

The mosaics fill two long walls illustrating through tiles, the early Camino from Paris to Santiago. If you have walked any of the Camino Francés, you will recognize the villages and towns. These are not modern day Pilgrims. What I noticed in the mosaics and the sculptures is the poignant and very human expressions on the faces of the people. What spirit to take a tile or a piece of clay or a pen or brush and create the stories, images and art, a gift to each of us to look at and think how we all have so much in common. Through the ages. People depicted from ancient and contemporary times, from all over the world. Look at their faces. We are the same. Human.

In a day or two, after Armenteira I hope to walk on the path of the Ruta de Piedra y Agua, stone and water, but today I stopped and am lucky to be able to dry out in this hospedería, with a wonderful room en suite, soaking tub and desayuno. I was already soaked when I arrived.

Rain is forecast for the week, but this afternoon it’s just cloudy and cool and a good time to walk the land and visit the Monastery and the amazing Camino mosaics designed by by Czech artist Antone Machourek and created 1989-1992.

Tomorrow I will walk to Armenteira. Still hoping to find a room there. No rooms at the Monastery de Armenteira. There is a hostel that may have be available. It’s all a mystery today.

Buen Camino, dear friends.