A GUARDA TO BAIONA – 36 ks
I left my buddies tucked up in their snug Spanish convent beds and crept out early at 5.15am. I was heading on further than them and needed to get the early start. What was I thinking?
There’s something a tiny bit unsettling walking out a one way lockable door in the early morning darkness, letting it shut behind you, only to have a momentary thought of, maybe I’ll just sit on the step outside and wait until everyone wakes up.
But that would be defeating my purpose.
I had a massive day ahead of me, 36 ks at least, and from all reports as usual, it was going to be stinking hot.
There was nothing for it but to get going so going I got.
The path out was well lit and I wasn’t sure if it was good to be in the spotlight, a solo lonely pilgrim, or slipping away in darkness where noone could see you. Anyway, my slipping away in darkness was soon to come, as the lights and the comfortable path ran out and I was confronted with a very dark, dodgy, rocky and abandoned area of derelict buildings out along the sea.
Not feeling very comfortable at this point, and yes, really questioning my sanity.
To make matters slightly worse, lightening was striking around me. Not only was I heading out into no mans land but probably into a storm as well. I did for a moment consider going back but got a grip and pushed on.
On the positive side, I did find the way marker in the darkness…..at least I was going in the right direction to impending doom.
I had a very uneasy walk for a few hours, startled by headlights and early morning fishermen, but I made it to civilization and the first open cafe at around the 15 k mark and my adrenaline subsided with a coffee and the only food available, pilgrim cake – comforting familiarity of the Camino Frances.
Another 10 ks and another cafe, nothing on the menu except burnt bread and cheese and the stark realization I’m not in Portugal any more.
I met up with three other pilgrims who stopped at my cafe, saw my burnt toast and ordered a coffee. Thunder was clapping around us, but luckily only a few drops of rain, and the weather turned out to be perfect for a long walk. Sea mist and fog didn’t lift all day which made it great for walking.
I might be on a silent retreat, but I hadn’t expected to be on a fasting one. For the remainder of the walk there was nowhere to eat. The path kept taking me frustrating close to towns and as I started dreaming of my favorite Spanish tortilla, I’d be lead up and over a mountain. Two mountains later, it started to dawn on me, I wouldn’t be eating lunch.
All in all it was a really nice walk of 36 kilometres and it’s good to know you can get by with one pilgrim cake, half a burnt cheese baguette, two coffees and litres of water.
Dinner at the Parador Baiona is going to be good.
Heading off around the coast out of A Guarda at 5.15 am
Looking back at A Guarda
Leaving the coast for the bush – heart might have been going a bit faster than normal
Up to the highway for many ks
Did a bit of floral arranging on the markers. So many wild flowers growing along the tracks and so many markers. Gave my pals walking later a nice surprise.
Galicia is beautiful
I always ask if I can take a photo and usualky after I’ve had a chat. Like Portugal, the Spanish live off their land and they can always be seen early to dark tending and harvesting crops.
Water fonts along the way
Pilgrim cake and coffee never tasted so good
This horse wearing some carrying device and his owners gathering the harvest behind him
The sea mist moved in as I left
Mid morning snack
Roger and Barb from Canada and Billy from Ireland.
Not sure how far I’ve got to walk
Sometimes you just have to stand and try and figure it out.
I had a lovely chat with Joseph from Switzerland. He was walking back from Santiago after walking the Portuguese camino. He had to change his route and take a variant when the ferry from Portugal wasn’t running for four days due to the Pope’s visit in Fatima. He had walked many Camino’s, one from Switzerland to Rome. He looked so neat sitting there peacefully. He offered to move his pack so I could join him, but I hadn’t got up at 4.30 to sit too long.
Up into the clouds
Looking down on the town I thought I was having lunch in
This sheep came over for a closer inspection
Then this town looked hopeful
But up another mountain and over a freeway
Finally into Baiona
Up to the Parador and a day off.
Waiting for a snack like me
And his mate
Beautiful views from the massive stone walls