Tag Archives: Comaino de Santiago

Camino Day 37 – Lestedo to Melide: Just This Day, You Know? (But Nice)

Monday 25 September 2023 – Not a huge amount to report today that’s anything out of the ordinary, to be honest: got up; had breakfast; went for a walk in nice weather; had a late lunch. You can see a Relive video of the day here.

That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy ourselves, because we did. The weather was lovely, with some mist contributing to nice morning views

and the outlook was for sunshine and temperatures in the low 20s. What was really nice, though, was the almost total lack of pilgrims around us when we started out.

There was a group of four as we turned our first corner, but we overhauled them immediately; and there was a couple resting by the side of the track. Apart from that, we had the trail to ourselves, and it was lovely. We think that the reason for this is that the standard destination after Portomarin is Palas de Rei, some 4km further long the Camino than our accommodation.  This seems to have put us between the waves of pilgrims setting out from Portomarin and those setting out from Palas de Rei. If this was the intention of the good folks at WalkTheCamino.com, then they are to be applauded for a very thoughtful piece of planning. Whatever, it meant that the first hour and a half of walking was in the sort of solitude that we’d been used to before reaching Sarria. Wonderful!

We passed another example of yesterday’s Mystery Object.

We were able to get close enough to verify the information provided by a friend that it was, indeed, a water tower; this one appeared to be there to drive an irrigation system.

Palas de Rei

was very quiet when we got there (presumably because the major waves of pilgrims had already buggered off). As we passed the church of San Tirso

we wondered whether it was open, and then heard music from within.

The church was indeed open, and this enabled us to get our first of the two Credencial stamps we need every day between here and Santiago.

Palas de Rei is also known for its statue of Dancing Pilgrims

and we joined in the spirit of joy as we danced along the trail until we caught up with the wave of pilgrims in front of us.

Ah, well…

This section of the Camino is well-served by coffee stops, and we passed a couple by without pausing because we hadn’t walked far enough to feel we qualified for refreshment. But we eventually passed one after about 8km, in a village called O Cotón.

We enjoyed a coffee and shared a Santiago cake whilst watching the queue of pilgrims getting their Credencial stamps from the local church of San Xulián.

The onward track was very pleasant, but quite unremarkable, passing through what is now familiar Galician farmland.  One place we passed

had a very impressive shell decoration on display;

and another village’s name had a familiar ring to it.

“Casanova” is another of those words which sounds much more exotic in Foreign, like Quattroporte or Ferrari. The name of the famous adventurer Giacomo Casanova translates simply to “James Newhouse”.

A noticeboard in the village there showed us that what we had originally thought was a kind of childish mural attempt to represent a pilgrim actually had some official weight.

We once again found that we were almost alone on the trail, which was, again, very pleasant

and the scenery continued to be agreeable.

As we approached a village called O Coto (I wonder if they get many letters addressed to O Cotón and vice versa) we passed a sign publicising a possible coffee stop

which puzzled us for a while. “Café-Bar” is clear enough; but did “ultramarinos” imply that it was a Blues Bar*?  We didn’t stop there, because we were seduced by a prior refreshment stop, where we partook of beer and crisps.

The quiet contentment of relaxing with a beverage in pleasant surroundings was rudely, and I mean rudely, shattered by an Italian woman of a certain age, part of a group of three and owner of a praeternaturally loud voice, who decided to do a video call on her phone. I think this is shockingly bad manners, particularly when conducted at a few decibels above the pain threshold. I was very tempted to stand in her line of vision and video this woman while she was shouting at her phone to demonstrate my anger at her lack of consideration for others by underlining the very public setting for her boorishness. But Jane robbed me of that pleasure by giving me One Of Her Looks.

As we moved on, we passed an interesting vignette

of an elderly lady pushing her own wheelchair, presumably so she could easily take a rest of needed; she offered Jane a lift, which amused both of them. We also passed today’s Mystery Object:

any ideas about why the basket’s wearing a bad wig, anyone? – and our third Matched Pair of Pilgrims

as they crossed the Puente de Magdalena, Spain’s answer to Oxford’s Magdalene Bridge.

We approached the outskirts of Melide, passing a scene which was not particularly rural Spanish

and went through a village called Furelos

before arriving in Melide proper. We had a bit of a drag through the town’s streets, past another Estrella (beer) advertising mural from the last Holy Year,

but eventually arrived at our hotel, the Lux Melide, which is posh enough to have a lift to help us take our bags up to the third floor and sympathetic enough to the needs of pilgrims to have a self-service laundry, so we now have enough clean socks and knickers to last us the rest of our holiday travels. Only three more walks to Santiago, and nine days until we get home, my goodness!

Today’s stats:  we covered exactly 19km today, according to Relive, and so our total has reached 754.7km – 469 miles. The information we have to hand about our remaining walks is that they cover 53km; and the official direction posts back this figure up; so it looks like our total distance will be over 800km. Imagine that!

All in all, we probably spent two-thirds of today’s walk in our own company, which was a delight. Given that the weather prospects for tomorrow are as nice as today’s, the plan is to conduct an experiment. If we start late, the reasoning goes, the bulk of the pilgrims will have left before us and so we might have a chance at more time by ourselves as we walk. The destination is Arzúa, which is only about 14km away, so there’s no time pressure on us. Check back in and find out whether our Cunning Plan actually worked, won’t you?


* Disappointingly, “ultramarinos” means “groceries”.  “Ultramarino” in Spanish means “imported”, “foreign” or “from overseas”. Nope. Still don’t get it.