Sunday, May 12, 2019

Caldas de Reis to Teo....and beyond Teo

This morning began with a wonderful breakfast of fresh orange juice, coffee, fresh bread, jam, cheese, ham, and fruit. It was served in the formal dining room of the residence.

After breakfast we headed out of Caldas de Reis, through town, across a Roman bridge, and out into the rolling hills of the countryside. Much of the morning was spent on lovely gravel and dirt pathways through forest. It was very quiet, except for the bird song, and the sunlight was beautiful as it filtered through the trees, lighting up the mist that was rising from the river. There were a few other pilgrims out enjoying the peaceful morning light, but they were mostly walking alone.


We stopped for a coffee at the first town we came to, which was filled with a mix of other pilgrims and locals. We had forgotten the Spanish tradition of providing something small to eat with coffee, such as a cookie, churro, or small piece of cake. It is a nice tradition.


After the coffee it was an easy walk through countryside into Padron, which is the stop suggested by Brierley. As we entered the edges of town the Camino took us through the middle of a giant market. There were stalls with clothing, shoes, brooms and brushes, and many with absolutely fantastic looking fruit, veggies, cheese, and bread. It smelled great too. The isles between the stalls were packed wall-to-wall with people, which was a bit difficult to navigate with our packs on, but it was a very interesting market nonetheless.

When we emerged from the market we found ourselves in a nice square outside the Cathedral. It looked like mass had just finished, because it was still full of lit candles, and there were quite a few people around. It was a beautiful church, featuring several representations of Santiago, and a statue of Saint Roch. It was also home to the stone pillar used to moor the stone boat that washed ashore with Santiago's remains.

We took our time exploring the cathedral, and then headed out of town along the river. The afternoon was mostly spent climbing up and down small hills, wending our way through small villages. We passed several interesting churches (all closed), and had fantastic views down the forested valley at several points.


By mid afternoon it was starting to get pretty hot, and after a stretch of walking along a busy road we stopped at a bar for a glass of orange juice. The stop for a cold juice on a shaded patio was a nice break, and we met two Americans while we were sitting there.

After that break the trail took us off the busy highway as it wended through several small villages with their stone houses, narrow roads, and mossy stone walls. It was a nice stretch, but offered little shade, except in a small oasis with picnic tables, where we paused to sit for moment and pet a kitten.


By late afternoon we reached the village of Teo, where we though we were staying. We passed a couple nice hotels and albergues, and one rather dodgy one, but found no sign of the place we had reserved. We kept walking through the afternoon heat and sunshine, out the other end of Teo. When we came to the village of Formello I stopped and asked for directions, and learned that it was still another 1.5 km. We slowly walked on, through a forested stretch of trail, and then back out to the road. Finally, we reached our accommodations, and to our relief found an extremely nice place, albeit an unexpectedly expensive one.

However, although the place was extremely elegant, we had a bit of a surprise in store for us.  The room was 40 Euros as advertised, but the owner was an aspiring chef who clearly had visions of attracting a high end clientele.  In addition to the room, dinner was 40 Euros per plate, breakfast was 20 Euros per person, and to do laundry cost 10 Euros per person.  Furthermore, apparently giving change offended the managers sensibilities ("one does not deal with change, does one?").   Although all the other guests are pilgrims as well, all but the best dressed ones who had their suitcases delivered seemed to deeply offend the owner.  The place has a beautiful kitchen, so it would have been possible to cook our own food, but we were so far beyond the town, and the afternoon heat was so fierce, that we didn't have the energy to walk to town and back.  Regardless of the circumstances we ordered dinner deciding that it would be our celebratory meal for completing the Camino Portuguese.  In the end the meal itself was amazing!


We will leave here tomorrow considerably poorer than when we arrived.
Accomodations: Casa Rural Parada de Francos
Distance: 32.3 km

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