Date: 23 April 2018
Walked from: Tui
Walked to: Padrón (not THE Padrón, just a Padrón)
Distance: 30.4 km
After a couple of days of feeling a little over this walk, I’ve had a really fun day. Maybe it was the churros with the thick, ultra sweet dunking chocolate that I had for my breakfast (which made for a late start today, but hell, the cost was included with last night’s room). Maybe it was the fact that it was a ‘proper’ walk again – it’s felt odd to walk relatively short distances for the past few days when I’ve become accustomed to hoofing it 20 miles most days. Maybe it was the hot weather (although, when the locals start complaining about the heat to me, as they did today, you’ve got to start thinking it may be a tad too scorchio). But I think it was probably the people I’ve met today that have made me smile so much.
Essentially, I strongly suspect that I’ve now embarked on the part of the trip where I’m (largely) a spectator to the Portuguese and Spanish versions of a religiously-sanctioned pub crawl. The walk was very quiet from Lisbon to Porto. It’s been a lot busier since, but today it’s kind of gone mad – there are people everywhere, and most of the new ones seem to hail from the Iberian Peninsula. They aren’t bothered about getting up at the crack of dawn and walking all day. Like me, they don’t give a religious damn about completing their so-called pilgrimage in Santiago (although the certificate that absolves them of their sins might be of some interest), but they are determined to be friendly, to enjoy their food, to imbibe booze at every bar along the way, and to generally party – often covering distances at a slow-mo speed which seems almost painful.
I opted to stay in the tiny village of Padrón tonight, 3km outside of Redondela, mainly because no one I met on the trail today said they were staying here. I was the first to book into the dorm room at what I thought was the relatively late time of 4pm, and after a (very) late lunch/early dinner, I sat on the wisteria-shaded patio outside the hostel/cafe Corisco, chatting in my terrible Spanish to a rowdy (aka mildly drunk) but really friendly group of Spanish walkers who went on to walk the final 3 km into the nearby town. I also watched as a series of exhausted looking ‘pilgrims’, many of whom started the walk today, gradually showed up and began to fill the hostel… including some who got picked up from the village 4km back that had run out of beds for the night and so were delivered here. I asked if they were getting dropped back off at their end point tomorrow. They aren’t. I don’t know the word for ‘cheating’ in German, but if I did…