This past June I had the extraordinary opportunity to hike 130 kilometers with my dad through the beautiful region of Galicia, Spain on the Camino de Santiago. We took the Coastal Portuguese Way, Camino portugués de la costa, from Baiona, Spain to Santiago de Compostela. There are so many things I can write about this incredible experience, and so many things I can’t, but I thought that I would start by sharing my journey in a series of blog posts about each day.
We left our Airbnb at 7:15am to begin our Camino. The plan was a long day.
Baiona to Vigo: 27 kilometers
We said goodbye to the charming alleyways of Baiona and had an enjoyable start to the trek. We didn’t have breakfast, not even coffee, and after maybe an hour of walking my stomach began to grumble. Not long after we spotted a “cafe” and I eagerly darted in only to discover the dingy bar with no more than oreos to eat. Desperate for something, I ordered a café solo and it came with the tiniest little muffin I’ve seen in plastic wrapping.
Still, I was content to sit on a bench outside with Dad and savor the taste of (burnt) coffee. We saw a family of pilgrims pass – one of the girl carrying a large bow & arrow, — and then a single woman also passed us with her head in her map.
We ventured on and the trail turned to fields and small forests following a creek. After some time we lost the yellow arrows and I reached for my phone that had our map. In that moment a man walked toward us with a dog and pointed us left. “Camino de Santiago, ¿no? Al mar y gira a la derecha” That was the 2nd time that a local guided us the moment we needed it. I thought it was a great example of the Camino providing for us…and in reflection, perhaps it was. We went to the sea and it was gorgeous.
We walked along the beach path for some time before realizing we really hadn’t seen clear markers in awhile. This time I really did pull out my phone and discovered we were about 2 kilometers off of the path. Cursing that old man and his dog, we eventually got back on track. Unfortunately that detour made the day’s trek 30+ kilometers, more that I had ever walked in one day.
Really though, I shouldn’t curse a kind old man and his dog. The way he sent us was some of the most gorgeous scenery of our Camino. Beyond that, while it sounds cliché, getting “lost” on the Camino may just be a part of the journey.