But these days I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to get to know this small slice of rural Galicia (albeit from the passenger window of a car) since the two-lane highway we would take each morning merged with sections of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. We would see pilgrims trudging along on the shoulder going the opposite direction—Santiago-bound—peppy on crisp, sunny October mornings…but weary and poncho-clad on January downpours. The camino portugués or “Portuguese Way” of the Camino de Santiago starts in Lisbon and heads north through Porto, crossing into Spain at Tui. The last stage before you reach Santiago begins in Padrón, 24 kilometers (15 miles) all uphill.
|Morning in Padron|
One balmy April morning last year, I rolled out of bed and hurried down to the intercity bus stop, hopped on the bus, and gradually woke up as the fog slowly lifted from the river valleys. Once in Padrón, I rubbed elbows with the abuelos at a corner café and unconsciously mimicked their actions: sipping on coffee, munching on a croissant, grunting at the TV newscast, flipping through the newspaper. But the sun was rising fast, so I left two 1€ coins on the bar and headed out to find the yellow arrows.
|Public laundry house|
|The green Galician countryside|