Wednesday, October 10, 2012

SPAIN: CAMINO DE SANTIAGO PORTUGUES

After walking almost 120 km along El Camino de Santiago Portugués (The Portuguese Way of Saint James) from Valença do Minho in Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, I can say it is a wonderful experience. The memory I have of the days in Galicia walking through forests, fields and beautiful villages is really nice. We were lucky because the weather was lovely (it was rainy just one day) and because we could share feelings, thoughts and celebrations with really nice people.


Portuguese Way of Saint James near Caldas do Reis
One of the nice environments of The Portuguese Way of Saint James near Caldas do Reis


Of course, to fully enjoy this experience I strongly advise sleeping in young hostels to meet other pilgrims. It's also advisable to take it easy and to enjoy landscapes and breakfasts with other pilgrims.

Other important tips is to take good care of your feet and not carrying a backpack weighing more than 10% of your weight. And if it can be less than seven kilos better!

Next you have the length of our stages:

  • STAGE 0: Valença do Minho -Tui (3,0 km)
  • STAGE 1: Tui - O Porriño (16,5 km)
  • STAGE 2: O Porriño - Cesantes (18,8 km)
  • STAGE 3: Cesantes - Pontevedra (16,7 km)
  • STAGE 4: Pontevedra - Caldas do Rei (21,9 km)
  • STAGE 5: Caldas do Rei - Padrón (18,6 km)
  • STAGE 6: Padrón - Santiago de Compostela (24,6 km)


STAGE 0: Valença do Minho -Tui (3,0 km)


Tui and the Minho River from Valença do Minho
Tui and the Minho river from Valença do Minho

International Bridge between Portugal and Spain
Crossing the International Bridge between Portugal and Spain. Tui appears at the top right of the image


Shell of El Camino de Santiago in Tui
The shell of El Camino de Santiago in Tui beside the Minho River

STAGE 1: Tui - O Porriño (16,5 km)


Monument to the pilgrim near Tui
Monument to the pilgrim near Tui. As you can see, we began to walk at night (7am) to avoid the heat

Ponte das Febres near Tui
Ponte das Febres near Tui

Having lunch in O Porriño
Having lunch in O Porriño after having walked almost 17km in our first long stage of the Portuguese Way of Saint James

O Porriño city hall
O Porriño city hall


STAGE 2: O Porriño - Cesantes (18,8 km)


Church of Mos
Church of Mos

Walking from Mos to Redondela
Walking from Mos to Redondela during our second stage of the Portuguese Way of Saint James

Young hostel in Redondela
Young hostel in Redondela


Cesantes beach near Redondela
Cesantes beach near Redondela where we enjoyed a lovely sunny afternoon



STAGE 3: Cesantes - Pontevedra (16,7 km)



Jacobean symbols in Arcade
Niche decorated with Jacobean symbols of El Camino de Santiago in "A Casa do Palleiro" in Arcade (Santiño, Shell, pilgrim's staff)


Nice view from the bridge of Pontesampaio in the morning

Ancient Roman road in Galicia

Sometimes El Camino de Santiago leads through ancient Roman roads like this one in Pontesampaio


Camino de Santiago near Pontevedra
Less than 70km to arrive at Santiago de Compostela


Queue backpacks in Pontevedra
Queue backpacks at the entrance to the young hostel of Pontevedra


The sports center where we slept in Pontevedra

Sanctuary of the Pilgrim Virgin in Pontevedra
Sanctuary of the Pilgrim Virgin in Pontevedra

Plaza de la Leña in Pontevedra
Plaza de la Leña in Pontevedra, I really lively place at night perfect for having dinner



STAGE 4: Pontevedra - Caldas do Rei (21,9 km)


Mesón don Pulpo
After walking eight kilometers from Pontevedra we reached Mesón don Pulpo, where we had breakfast with pilgrims we met in the young hostel. Of course we put a stamp on our credential

Cornfield near Caldas do Reis
Few kilometers before reaching Caldas do Reis we took a break next to this cornfield


Hot spring in Caldas do Reis
Hot spring in Caldas do Reis

Bridge over the Umia river in Caldas do Reis

Bridge over the Umia river in Caldas do Reis



STAGE 5: Caldas do Rei - Padrón (18,6 km)




The only rainy day we faced during our Portuguese Way of Saint Jaimes

Young hostel in Padrón
Young hostel in Padrón

Bar Don Pepe in Padrón


Church of Padrón
Church of Padrón where you can see the "Pedrón"


STAGE 6: Padrón - Santiago de Compostela (24,6 km)



Camino de Santiago near Teo
A dangerous stretch of El Camino de Santiago by the side of a road near Teo


Only 4km to finish our pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela


Santiago de Compostela
The first point from which we saw the bell towers of the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela

Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela
In the end, we arrived at Obradoiro after having walked more than 115km



Santiago Apostle inside the cathedral
And after the pilgrimage, I enter the cathedral of Santiago to embrace the Apostle

 Obradoiro in Santiago de Compostela
A last memory with other pilgrims I met along The Portuguese Way of Saint James

As I said before, important advices are:
  • Not to carry a backpack weighing more than 10% of your weight. And if it can be less than seven kilos better! My backpack weighed 7,5 kilos.
  • The heaviest items at the bottom and close to the body.
  • Things in colored plastic bags.

The things I carried in my backpack were:

- Documents:

  • Pilgrim Credential
  • DNI or ID, social security card and / or health insurance
  • Credit card
  • Travel documents (flights and hotels / hostels bookings)

- To sleep:

  • Sleeping bag of fiber and lightweight is enough in summer
  • Sheet to insulate the mattress and pillow covers

- Clothing:

  • 3 t-shirts
  • A pajamas or Sleep T-shirt
  • 3 pairs of socks without seams
  • 3 or 4 pieces of underwear
  • 2 shorts (one for walking and one for the afternoon)
  • A trousers
  • A light sweater
  • Raincoat
  • Capeline
  • Swimsuit
  • Small towel
  • Rubber slippers
  • Cap or hat
  • Sunglasses

- Toilet bag:

  • Shaving utensils
  • Soap
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Deodorant and cologne
  • Sun cream and cocoa
  • Toilet roll

- Health kit

  • Betadine
  • Adhesive bandage
  • Compeed
  • Vaseline and Vicks Vapor up
  • Anti-insect bracelet

 - Other:

  • Safety pins
  • Earplugs
  • Lighter
  • Camino de Santiago Guide


After this experience of The Portuguese Way of Saint James, some weeks later I visited the next villages of The French Way of Saint James in La Rioja and Navarra. But this time we went from one town to the next one by car:

  • Estella-Lizarra
  • Los Arcos
  • Logroño
  • Nájera
  • Santo Domingo de la Calzada

I really liked the Jacobean atmosphere of these towns and the fantastic churches, cathedrals and monasteries I could visit there.


Finally, other beautiful places you can visit in Spain are:


- Catalonia

- Basque Country

- Cantabria

- Granada

- Sevilla, Córdoba, Cádiz and Costa de la Luz

6 comments:

Camino Travel said...

Nice tips.

Yum Estrella Galicia!!

Frank said...

Thanks for your comment, Camino Travel.

I really think that these tips are very useful, as I realized when I started walking. Above all, you must take great care of your feet.

amanda said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Frank said...

First of all, Amanda, sorry because I deleted your comment by mistake, which I transcribe below.
Amanda wrote: "I will be walking my first pilgrimage May 2014 and can not wait. Thanx for nice information. Love the pictures. I try to read as much as I can and every now and then I come accross someone's blog - like yours . Joyfull 2013 for you"

Secondly, thank you very much for your comment. I'm delighted that this post was useful to you. Besides, for me, it's a pleasure to read nice comments like yours. They are an extra motivation to keep writing on my blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Frank, just came across your blog while I've been following my daughter on the Camino de Santiago Portugues - She began her walk in Lisbon about 3 weeks ago - with just 3 more days left! This is the second Camino she has been on.. I think this one is tougher than the last one. Just as you said "take care of your feet"....The first week they had to take off a day here & there because of their feet & the heat. They met up with others that were doing the same/some had to leave because of sun stroke. The temps were in the high 90's - 100. While staying in one of the hostels in Rabacal she woke up scratching & there were Bed Bugs - she had bites all over her shoulder & back the next day (same thing happened 2 yrs ago) - So Read up on Bed Bugs & CHECK YOUR BEDS or you could end up at a laundromat for 2 days :)) (So far 3 hostels with them). But she's having a great time!!! Thanks for your blog!!!!

Frank said...

Hi,

You are welcome. Thanks to you for your comment.