🚂 Day 10 : We-Go Vi-Go 🚂

Pre-Dawn 🌅 ……and like the 💪 Caministas we now are ; we regretfully but swiftly pack up our apartment into our backpacks 🎒 rainy , still dark – we hail a cab and at the station for 7.00am . Time for a superior station breakfast ! and ready for the Vigo train .

It’s unsettling to see our walk of the previous 9 days unravelling at such speed as we reverse our trail on the way back to Porto.

But first – we have cross back into Portugal to go via Vigo – not on our previous route .


All the travel sites , inc’ tbe good ones Trainline.Com , Rome2Rio etc won’t give you a rail connection from Santiago to Porto. “Just take the bus” they say – I wondered why – I found and booked the connection – but now I know why .

They don’t believe you can arrive on the 8.33am at Vigo Urzáiz ……..

And get across the city in time to Vigo Guixar for the 8.58am to Porto ( 2 trains a day – the next at 5.30 pm !!! ) …… and ….

…… having done the mad taxi 🚕 ride across town … ( Driver seemed to relish the challenge 🤣) …. I can see their point ! – but you CAN make it – we did ! 👏 👏 .

Worth it though . Cross the border in the middle of the river Ria de Vigo we had previously walked across – upriver at Redondela a week ago .

It means we’re in Porto , a full day ahead and sat out on our own Perfect Pan-tiled Porto Patio by 11.00am ….. lush .

Tonights hotel – The hugely over-ornate 5 Storeys folly of a house known as the Castelo Santa Catarina is a hoot!

Clad in Millions of Blue Tiles , it’s own Chapel , own Victorian Grotto – bizarre with rooms made out of random parts of the house – ours is the middle right Pic next to the blue vase – vast – that used to be an entrance hall , patio and staff quarters 100 years ago – quite eccentric .

We head out to see the town – immediately taken aback by the mix of beautiful , historical and modern mixed with dilapidated, & wrecked buildings – just 10 mins walk from the centre.

Gradually you begin to get a feel for the place – the faded grandeur on one hand and the vibrant future on the other.

Still – a property developers dream

Under-dressed for the fabulously baroque /kitsch Café Majestic ( when you carry everything you own on your back – fashion sacrifices have to be made 🤣😇 )

We follow the descending tram-tracks and more blue-tiled magnificence to the almost Parisién pavement cafés of Praça de Liberdade –

…….. remember we’re still in the Santo Ildefonso parish same as the hotel and the wrecks

I have some places I want to go – we have best part of 2 days …… bars , bridges culture , cathedrals, religion , Douro riverside , restaurants ….. so where to first ?

Yep …… H&M ….. the tweenagers fave clothes shop followed by McDonalds 🙄.

Apparently I (May) have suggested a shopping day at the end of our trip as motivation – ( bit of a blur really ) .🤣

At least we are in the Via Catarina 🛍 Shopping Centre – with that quirky approach to street art I’ve only seen in Portugal 👏

….. and if you’re going to have A toy shop at least you should have a separate entrance for the children! After all it’s their show.

🙏 ….. released from the bonds of waiting outside changing rooms and making approving noises ; we head for a welcome glass of Vinho Verdé on the main square again – people (and 🐻 bear) watching.

……. and yet more imaginative street art – and one of my top 5 favourite pictures of the trip.

….. while being stalked on the way back to the Hotel ………

And head out to Dinner – uphill to Praça do Marqués de Pombal – new outfits of course !

its a cool , quiet evening on this square – in the opposite direction to the main attractions . All local “Porto-istas” – around here . I learn that lesson about Porto again – “not judging a book by its cover”

We pass this …….. Café Pereira – looks perfect for dinner …

…… but we jumped out when – BIZARRE – they have a “reverse” smoking policy !!

Inside – thick fog – everyone , EVERYONE smoking : Outside – very nice facing the square for NON- smokers . Ha ! 🙄.

Next door what looks like a run down bargain-booze shop …….. ( Book and Cover )

Turns out to be ……… high end Italian !

…… Great food & wine and a calm space to end our first day in Porto .


🎉 “Domingo Gordo”🎉

Hard to believe we’ve only been here 24 Hours – from first sight yesterday through silent quaint villages above Santiago ………

to the noisy re-unions and party atmosphere of the town – the side streets are filling up for another day …. and we’ve seen and done so much already.

I was looking for a suitable phrase for a Camino / Galician version of Mardi Gras . That’s why this post is entitled tbe nearest I could get – Domingo Gordo as it’s a huge celebration – and its not a Tuesday! ……… 🎉 🎉 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉

The little Bar “25 de Julio” – we live above is at the heart of Santiago . The entire top attic floor is a family suite . It’s quirky and great fun . The girls enjoy having their pavement breakfast

Always best to take pics as you arrive😜Here’s our loft BEFORE we messed it up 😆

It’s in a simple square that’s quieter , but 300 Metres away from the main visitor centre , local cafes, bars and informal restaurants . We spent a lot of time here!

( Ciara would like me to add – we don’t always have beer for breakfast – this pic was on the square the evening before 🤪. )

Before heading into town to see what Sunday holds for us . The Cathedral is open – but under renovation in time for 2021 celebrations.

……. and as we passed the University we bump into more friends – Judy and Dianne from Montreal- amazing achievement ladies – Full weight packs and some 30k long hot hiking days to get here.

Then Chris and Charlotte walk past with Rachel ! – ( it’s NOT that small a town either ) – so an even bigger team pic – 👍

… hugs all round – we’ll see them soon – we head off for coffee – past street musicians and a few ( actually a lot ) of Souvenir shops.

As we are finishing our coffee we get a call and rush back again to Cathedral Square. One final group of friends are almost here ! We met on the first night in Rubiaes – they took the lovely detour on the coastal Camino Portuguese Espiritual route adding extra days .

From Holland 🇳🇱- the fabulous Marijke and Jacob !

As our routes crossed and diverged we kept missing each other . But Camino Mail ( Napkins of course 😆) left for us at the Casa “As Chivas” – the Mad Goat place -near Redondela – re-united us!

….. and when you can’t recall my name. Marijke just used a nickname for me from the great night out we’d had – Ha ! 😆 and it still got to me ! .

Love Trail-names – this my 4th. ( Long Story 🤣)

…….. and yes they are each both over 2 Metres tall – Wayyyyy Over !!

An early liquid lunch with them – means we start real Lunch much later at l’Incontro on Rúa del Villar – lovely man who owns it kept us happy for 2 or 3 hours .

4.00 ish in the afternoon – still having lunch – we hear this …..far down Rúa de Villar …..

( These Videos are large files – any issues playing them – use Wi-fi or go onto my site directly – CaminoRamblings.com ) xxx

And jump up to investigate ……. it’s getting closer …… the noise immense ….. you can see Ciara and the girls loving it ……. I felt fortunate , privileged to be at that spot on that street – pure chance . A proper Camino Moment .

These people , this Drum errrrr ( band is too small a word ) , this Drum ( Corps ? Battalion? , Tsunami ? ) …..Wow , just Wow!

They took 20 mins to pass where we were – hundreds of them . All smiling , loving their beat , their togetherness, engrossed, lost in sheer happiness…….. as was everyone around them . Marvellous.

😍The next time I’m back here – I’m coming back as one of these BatéBatuké – Looks like I’ll have to learn a little Galician -it’s THEIR thing .

Hope those Vids played ok for you 😘 Don’t normally load big files on this site -but they’re worth it . 🤩

Afterwards – and I know this day already seems full – but with Tweenagers there IS always an afterwards . The Fair beckons 😕……. oh Goody

My babies – growing up ! Wow – new gear – and a strongly worded brief from Mum – see below 🤣 – they’re allowed to head out on their own ………

…….. And we ? ……. we head for a decent G&T on our favourite square to end the day . A Brilliant , just Brilliant Santiago Day.


🥾 Return to Santiago 🏰 & Ascension Party 🎉 2019

Hard to believe that by the end of today we’ll be standing in Cathedral Square.

It’s odd – I do / but don’t want to get there. Unlike on the French way this recent green Portugués detour means we still have the route pretty much to ourselves and a few fellow peleginös

We’re only 7k out and we think , just maybe we can see the famous Cathedral towers …….. zooming in later ; same view below – we are right ! It’s just in the skyline – to the right of the vast Ferris wheel at the Ascension weekend fair.

Motivation 🤣 even from traffic signs

….. on this route we avoid the modern suburbs – well most – and soon are in the old town of Santiago

And SHOCKINGLY- from a narrow side street we are here !! Praza do Obradoiro – the Cathedral square – the end to all Caminos . Earlier than most travellers – but still surrounded by emotional cheers as each party arrives . 100 or more Spanish / Italian / French / teenagers – a huge group send chills as they arrive singing in amazing tones – marching fast and strong the last steps .

We’re laying on on our backpacks 🎒- just staring at this magical place , Sun still rising as stories unfold around us – when this moment occurs – dusty boots , big and and not so big , seems to sum up a family Camiño – the little girls have been amazing – Ciara strong , positive, engrossed in the physical and spiritual, they’ve made a million friends ……… who will soon catch up .

Just perfect . 💕

……. then across town to the Pilgrims Office to show our Credentiále / Pilgrims Passport – the multi stamped record of every town and sleeping place we passed through – To be awarded our Compostela- the elaborate illuminated certificates. Here in the peaceful garden of the Pilgrims Office.

…. We get a 📞 call so back to the square again …….

The Sun’s properly up as we head back to greet some of our extended Camiño family. Here – Sarah , Sam , John ( Charlotte N.C. 🇺🇸) Rachel ,Chris & Charlotte (California🇺🇸)

Great catch up late lunch – and later with our new member – Jess’s loudly mooing Galician Cow – 🤣

And – the girls drag us off to the huge Ascension 2019 fair .

And that Enormous Big Wheel – we saw 7k away this morning .

With a final tired 💤 flourish we’re back to our home for 2 nights –

But with a view like this from our roofline Family flat – it’s a end to our arrival day we won’t forget .

💤 💤 💤


Day 7 : Popping to Padròn

Sun rise ……. The whole country seems to be holding its breath – people moving slower . It looks like a triple moon , some type of minor eclipse ……. or it might be just too flippin’ early 🙄

We’re used to the hour and start seeing people we know – all with that same wonderful camaraderie but now all with the same second objective – finished before 1.00pm if you possibly can 🙏

Woodland paths , past natural springs , villages with bars just opening for breakfast – take us past the 32K marker.

And sure enough – by late morning we are past the “unlovely” outskirts of Padrón.

We discover a “natural wonder” an entire promenade shaded by a deep green canopy- Huge .

The temp’ outside this shady refuge is ridiculous. We’re close to our Hostel- best stay here then ! 🤣

So second breakfast ( now an official term ) turns into an early lunch . Fresh warm tortillas and a real treat – Padrón peppers roasted in olive oil and sea salt – eaten in actual Padrón . Yum

General giddiness 🤣 – it’s a symptom of effort rewarded , and occurs when you have a Dad who is content being a figure of fun. ( 😆I’m crying on the inside 😉)

Onwards – ( we left quite some time later 😁👌) a couple of K to the Hamlet of L’escivatude .

Our booking at the cheerful place nearby had been lost .A quick check nearby found a Casa Rural – the Casa Grande da Capellanía . Ideal – just 2 rooms left – they appeared to be unaware of the heat .Basil on reception says “swimming pool closed Senór ” – really ?? “Yes only open in Summer ” – it’s 36 degrees out side – when would you like summer to start ? – “2 days time – June 1st” – ahh gracias Senör Fawlty.

And dinner in a generous roadside restaurant named “Buen Camino” – friendly people where the dish below – loads of chicken wings all round – was in fact the free tapas !!

End of Day – can’t believe it’s last day walking tomorrow 😴