Day 5 of our Camino and we’re still in good spirits! The reality of the Portuguese Camino is that it’s really not that difficult for most people who are comfortable walking distances of 10-15 km (6.2-9.3 miles) per day. The terrain is relatively flat, the distance between restaurants and hostels is relatively short, and many older folks have made the pilgrimage. Taking days off, like we did after the third day of hiking, can be a great way to rejuvenate tired feet.

Our original plan was to walk 19 km (11.8 miles) from Caldas de Reis to Padrón but we decided to press on another 10.1 km (6.3 miles) to Cruces. It was easily the hardest day of our Camino.

We woke up, ate breakfast, and were on the trail just after sunrise. Our first stop was to get a stamp at one of the many small churches that dot the Camino.

Enjoying the solitude of an early morning walk through the forest.

The region of Galicia is well known for it’s granite quarries. There is so much granite that they use it for fence posts and trellises for the vineyards. 

These elevated granaries were used to protect corn and other grains from rodents. Guess what they are made of? Yes, more granite.

As we were approaching the town of Outeiro, we noticed the sound of a church bell being rang every 6 seconds. Although the sounds of morning church bells are common, we’ve never heard them ring for such a long time. We wondered why?

Once we reached the church of Igrexa de Santa María de Bemil, we found a gentleman who was ringing the bells. It turns out the bells were being rang from 9AM to 9:30 in memory of those who had died from Coronavirus.

On the day we passed through, Spain had reached over 29,500 deaths due to the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping through Europe and the world. 

At the church, we also found this friendly dog. We initially tried to feed him apples and peanut butter, but he wasn’t interested. Fortunately, I knew what he would enjoy! I shared some of my moldy meat sticks with him and we were now best friends.

Part of the joy of walking the Camino is seeing all the references to this historic route, and…

… seeing how the local Spaniards go about their day-to-day tasks. There are many small farms along the route. We especially liked seeing these small one-person tractor-type carts traveling about.

Many of the churches, along the route, were closed, but occasionally we would see one open and take a look inside.

I’m not a fan of carving one’s name and date into any living thing, but this happy cactus caught our camera eye.

What also caught our eye was this lovely home with a very curious painted tile sign warning that this casa (house) is protected by a perro peligroso (dangerous dog)!

Some, not so dangerous, pigmy goats. I suppose they could be dangerous if they started to butt you unexpectedly!

27.1 km (16.8 miles) left! Up to this point, I was wearing the Camino shell, with the cross of Saint James, around my neck. I decided to tie the shell to my bag for the rest of the journey.

Speaking of the Camino shell… How did the scallop shell become the symbol of the Camino? Some say it is symbolic of the many paths that converge into one.

Other stories suggest that it was pilgrims who, after reaching Santiago, would continue their journey to the coast at Cape Finisterre. Finisterre is a French word that literally translates to “the end of the earth”. The pilgrims would then collect a scallop shell to show proof of their pilgrimage. By the 13th century, vendors began selling scallop shells in Santiago. Today you can buy a scallop shell at any souvenir store along the route.

Along the route we continued to enjoy the many reminders that we were hiking something special – the “Way of Saint James”.

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Our last day of the Camino! Join us as we continue our pilgrimage to our final destination – the capital city of Santiago de Compostela.

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4 Aug 2020

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