Walking in Spain along the Camino Ignaciano from Loyola to Manresa, and the Camino de Invierno from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Two long days from Rodeiro to Ponte Ulla.

Today I head to Santiago de Compostela, he last day day of a very beautiful way.  The past two days have had a few little unexpected treats.

Leaving Rodeiro, heading for Lalin, I decided I would go the shortest possible way, which was along the service road running parallel to the main road.  This, being Saturday, was not as noisy as it might have been and turned out to be an easy walk, a gentle uphill for about 7 - 8 kilometres, and an equally gentle down hill for the same distance into the town.  This meant I arrived at lunch time, with plenty of time for chores, a siesta, and a look around the town.
The town Hall in Rodeiro
On a roundabout in the centre of Rodeiro is a wheel - a wheel of the traditional 2 wheeled Galician cart.  Behind this, on the left is a lively little statue of two eldery folk in traditional dress.

Walking this way also meant that, compared to other days when this wasn't possible, I could do a bar crawl!  There were a number of bars along the road where I could stop off and get a drink, usually coffee.  In the last bar I stopped at, obviously a hub for the village as well as a watering hole for travellers, I met Rachel.  She spoke fantastic English and it turned out she had also walked the Camino.  She and her friend were heading up to the Alto de Faro for a walk on this morning.  Through her, I was able to find out what looked like grass mats hanging on pegs were.  It turned out that they were wet weather gear - very ingenious, and probably effective, in times gone by when modern fabrics didn't exist.
Rachel's friend modelled the tradional rain gear for me.  Behind his left shoulder you can see the knee pads that were to keep the bottom of the legs dry when walking through the grass.  From memory, I have seen people wearing clogs (wooden shoes on peg ,"stilts") in Galicia too.
Lalin has a lot of special pork dishes and this "monument" commemorates this.  Bit bigger than the pigs in Adelaide's Rundle Mall!

I was expecting, and had, a very long day from Lalin to Ponte Ulla (pronounced Ooya).  It was long in both distance (around 38kns) and time - I didn't arrive till after dark, walking the last kilometre in total darkness.  I was VERY glad to see the bar, where I got a room, on the other side of the bridge!
I met a couple of blokes out on an evening stroll at the top of this hill.  They assured me it was only three kilometres to Ponte Ulla.  An hour and a half later, after setting a cracking pace downhill, I got there!  They were obviously thinking in the car, or maybe as the crow flies!

About six kilometres from Lalin the Camino Invierno ends, and merges with the Camino Sanabres, the route coming up from the South, having begun as the Via de la Plata.  Pilgrim traffic increased markedly, I saw one pilgrim pulling what looked a shopping trolley with his pack on it, but was actually a hi-tech trolley specifically for that task, and one other young man zoomed past me after lunch.  Then last night I met two pilgrims based in the UK, and over breakfast an Italian woman.
The albergue at A Laxe, where the Camino Invierno and Camino Sanabres merge.
Both days I was blessed with sunshine, bordering on too hot, and wonderful views.
Another surprise!  Sunday was a hunting day.  This was the first group of hunters I came across, then after lunch I could hear gunshots.  When I noticed that the path was heading in that direction I decided it was time to put on some hi-vis gear!  I rounded a corner, and found a group of hunters chatting, so checked that it was safe for me to continue!

Walking through the forest at one point I became distracted taking photos.  I knew there was a Roman bridge somewhere, but I was  not prepared for the lengthy stretch of roman road, nor the beautiful location and condition of it.  It is extraordinary to think that these still exist after hundreds of centuries, yet so much of our modern infrastructure seems to fail after just a few decades.  Granted, the traffic is more dense today, but chariots of old would have been pretty rough too!
The Roman bridge in the midst of the forest
The stones fit so well and still stand after all this time.
A chariot ride down this road would have been a bit bumpy.

I amw now in Santiago, having started this post several days ago.  Will tell you about my last day of walking next time.  Wifi has got slower and more difficult the further West I go, so I am now behind in my posts.


  1. The whole walk would be worth it just for that magnificent bridge! And oh yes, that mythical 'not far' from the car drivers- I remember once in France when I ended up walking 11 hours- when that 'not far' was actually another 9 kilometres!! Looking forward to hearing about your Santiago arrival. Amazing to see it so fine in Galicia in November.

    1. That comment is from KiwiNomad aka Margaret. Google just did something weird that was trying to force me into Google+ where I refuse to go....