Portuguese Coastal Route.

Day 11 of our Portuguese Coastal Route adventure had us covering an easy 12.4 miles to Padrón, Spain.

The number of pilgrims we came across while walking increased considerably. Although there are times I prefer solitude, here on the Camino de Santiago there’s always something very joyful about seeing someone and feeling that instant connection. I always learn something new on the pilgrim network.

I was distraught to hear from an amiable German that my aunt and I had missed out on one of the experiences for which Caldas de Reis is most famous: their thermal hot springs. The waters contain potent minerals said to aid in healing, and at 42 degrees Celsius (107 Fahrenheit), the water no doubt feels great on tired legs.

I think there’s truth to the thermal waters containing special properties. In any case, the Germans are *phenomenal* walkers.

Animal Encounters

We had three memorable animal encounters today. Shortly after departing Caldas de Reis and entering a forest, we came across a beautiful charcoal-black cow. As with many other animals we had seen, it was not fenced in – it had a length of rope that was staked to the ground. It seemed very accustomed to humans, and sauntered right over to us.

The second encounter came a couple of hours later, as two local women led sheep down the same path we were on. For some reason, after hiking the Via Francigena, I now associate sheep on the road as a good omen.

Our final animal interaction of the day came in the form of the tiniest and feistiest dog I’ve ever seen. He waited OUTSIDE his gated home and was all about getting petted. After confirming with his owner that it was okay, we fed him bits of jamon (ham).

Arrival in Padrón

My aunt and I arrived at Padrón at around 2:30 p.m., much earlier than our walking days normally end. While I do think part of that was due to improved physical conditioning as our bodies adjusted, we both gave credit to our walking partners for the day.

Our walking buddies hailed from New Mexico, and conversation with them was so interesting that the miles flew by. Being very well-traveled, they’ve given me inspiration on trips I’d love to take in the future.

Padrón is the final town before pilgrims arrive at the Santiago de Compostela. It’s a beautiful, very clean town with some incredible churches. One thing baffles me: with so many beautiful historic churches, why have all of the ones we’ve passed been CLOSED?

(We went zero for four on churches today.)

Although pilgrims often want to see a church for religious or cultural reasons – this is a pilgrimage! – there’s another pragmatic reason pilgrims seek them out. Many churches leave out a self-stamp pad so that pilgrims can document their journey for their credentials.

Fortunately, the commercial private sector is more than happy to swoop in and help. Almost every single restaurant and cafe advertises that they carry stamps. 😊

Portuguese Coastal Route

Wherever your journey in life takes you, Buon Camino!

Portuguese Coastal Route, Camino de Santiago.

By Katie Cerezo

Thank you so much for visiting. 😊 I have always loved traveling, and my legs are my primary means of transportation. It's a beautiful world, and I'm eager to explore it…one step at a time.

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