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Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Are we there yet?

Today, we walked 30.75 kilometres from Baiona to our hotel in Vigo.  The terrain was as varied as it was undulated.  We went up hill and down dale through urban and rural areas.  In the urban, we started near the water's edge at our hotel, ventured through the streets to Baiona's outskirts, found ourselves in other small towns, and finished up in the dense city streets of bustling Vigo.  In the rural, we wandered across fields with vegetable plots by the thousand, passed fences and high walls where dogs of all kinds protested loudly our approach, headed down remote tracks surrounded by tall trees with thin branches, struggled along muddy paths and steep-sloping rocky watercourses, followed trails bounded by hip-high ferns, and pursued country lanes that took us past many houses with vegetable plots and mini-vineyards.  Many people have grape vines, and arrange them in sophisticated rows, nurturing them and encouraging a quality yield.  

We started out at 8.35 am.  It took a while to rid ourselves of Baiona, and we were concerned about getting lost.  We eventually found the classic yellow Camino arrows that guide one's way, and we began climbing into the bush.  More than an hour later, we became very keen for coffee and a rest.  The elusive cafe eluded us until almost midday.  Before the cafe, we thought we saw a dead cow, but it turned out to be an alive donkey.  Before the cafe, we thought the cafe would never come, but finally it did.  Three euros 10 cents for four coffees and the bit of cake they give you as part of the deal.  I think it was around 2 when we stopped for lunch on a lonely bush trail way up in the hills.  A small pile of chopped logs lay nearby, which we used as seats.  Neil and Carolyn had bread, cheese and salami which we all tucked into.  In the afternoon, we stopped twice more for coffee and a break, and, in both those cafes, our Camino passports were stamped to endorse officially we were genuinely 'walking' the Camino.

We were lucky to avoid rain in the early part of the day.  But we got to wet periods of varying lengths.  One rushed to throw on water-resistant jackets or reach for umbrellas.  It must have been mid-afternoon when the rain decided to stay.

We finally reached the city of Vigo at around 4pm, and I thought we'd arrive at the hotel soon.  After spending ages roaming through the Castrelos Park, we realised we were lost.  We'd been following written instructions and Camino arrows all day with great success.  Now the trail appeared dead.  Over the next nearly three hours, we asked numerous people for help in finding the hotel.  We realised we were well away from it and continued walking in the rain.  At last, we reached the Hotel Compostela Vigo just before 7 pm.  Jean's right knee was swollen so much, it looked twice the size of the other.  After applying Nurofen Gel, it got a lot better.


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