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Day Two: Portomarin to Eirexe. 11.5 miles

Some general observations about today:

People are good. Consider the evidence: When we left our hotel today, I left behind a ring. (In fairness, it was early and I’d only had one cup of coffee. Btw, why do the Spanish serve their coffee in such tiny little cups?) It wasn’t a fancy ring, but since it had been given to me by a dear friend, it had a large sentimental price tag. To make matters worse, I didn’t even know I’d left it behind until we’d checked into our next hotel, where our luggage was waiting for us in the lobby. Taped to one suitcase was an envelope with our name on it. Inside was my ring, along with the business card from our last hotel. They didn’t have to send it. They could’ve kept it, and chances are I never would’ve figured out where I lost it. But they didn’t. Gracious, Pazo de Berbetoros in Portomarin!

We can do so much more than we think we can. Both Kent and I were absolutely spent yesterday. Worn down and tuckered out. Whipped. Physically and emotionally whacked. He was asleep by 8:30, and I followed closely behind. Apparently, fifteen miles of walking in one day can do that to a person. Or two. But this morning, even after only one cup (tiny, see above) of coffee each, we were not only excited to get on with our walk, we were actually, physically raring to go. Who’d a thought?

Northwestern Spain is gorgeous, laidback, and very, very real. As neighbors, you’d think Spain and France would be very similar in a lot of ways. And they are. Both have incredibly beautiful, rural countrysides, with jaw-dropping vistas, stunning flora and fauna, and charming historical stone villages with cobblestone streets featuring cute little shops, bars and restaurants. The two countries, alike in these and other ways, remind me of that group of good girlfriends who enjoy hanging out together. But somehow, France seems more like the girlfriend group you have in your twenties. You know–you like spending time with them, but if you all went away together on an overnight trip, you’d buy new pajamas so no one would see you in your usual tattered PJs. And you’d wait until everyone was asleep before taking off your makeup so they wouldn’t be horrified to see your large pores or the dark circles under your eyes. Whereas Spain is more like the girlfriend group you have as you grow older, women you’ve known for years, friends who aren’t at all concerned about seeing you barefaced in the morning (wrinkles, age spots and all). They not only know that you wear your husband’s old work-out shorts and t-shirts to bed, but they also agree with you that comfort is far more important than style. I like France, don’t get me wrong. But France works hard to impress. Its outfits are always tasteful and manicures perfectly done. But Spain…well, Spain’s outfits are pretty, but a little wrinkled. And if you look close, its manicures are often a bit chipped. But like the honeybadger, Spain doesn’t care. Spain is too busy living its big, beautiful and natural life to worry about such things. As a result, Spain is easier to be around and enjoy, because it seems more easy, relaxed and real. Case in point:

Today, we had lunch in a tiny, cute and clean but kind of shabby little bar/restaurant, one of only two bar/restaurants in a tiny, cute and clean but kind of shabby little town. As we ate our plain but delicious tortilla queso (cheese omelete) and bocadillo con jamón (ham sandwich), two stubble-chinned public workers walked in, both of them wearing bright yellow matching vests adorned with the town seal. They’d been spreading gravel near a park down the street, a job that looked like it could have been completed in less than an hour and all by themselves, and yet, they had been working alongside two other co-workers. And a supervisor. The two of them chatted for quite some time with the pretty young woman behind the counter, then popped open two beers to wash down their lunches as they smiled and laughed, seemingly without a care in the world or a good reason to check their watches. About an hour later, in another small town down the road, we were held up by a dozen cows (las vacas) being herded down the narrow, manure-slicked main street by a rather relaxed border collie, a very chill German shepherd and a completely disinterested (in the cows, anyway, although their manure seemed to capture his attention) but cute little white and ginger-haired mutt. The collie strolled back and forth between one confused cow and a halted taxi, until the cow figured things out and rejoined the herd. The collie sniffed the front tires of the taxi for a bit before returning to his cows and the taxi went on its way. And so did we.

Just another Monday afternoon in the very beautiful and very real Spanish countryside.

Watch Las Vacas en El Camino here:


  1. I have always admired laid back cultures. We Americans are ALWAYS in such a hurry. We need to get over ourselves and take a siesta. Ahhhh.

    • Naps rock! And hey, be sure to watch the video. I wasn’t able to make it a live link (because my technology forcefield follows me everywhere), but paste it into your browser to take a look. I think you’ll get a kick out of it. Especially the dogs!

  2. Loved the description of Spain vs France. I don’t know France that well but I think you are spot on with Spain. We loved all of the local experiences we had along the way. At our stop near Salceda we were to stay at a nearby fabulous renovated farmhouse, A Pena de Aguasantas in Beseño. We were given instructions to stop at the local bar in Salceda, show him a translated text to have him call the farmhouse for the owner to come pick us up. We get there, quite tired as always at the end of the day, and the bar was closed on Mondays! I texted Paul (Walks in Spain) and while I waited to hear, went to the pharmacy next door and not knowing any Spanish, tried to explain that this bedraggled stranger needed to have him make a phone call. Finally, I think he realized I was a pilgrim in distress and made the call. Meanwhile, we connected with Paul and he could have called the farmhouse but we were on our way. Neither the husband or wife spoke English but we had a marvelous time and one of the best views of the countryside along with one of the best meals of our trip with all their farm grown foods. Thanks for bringing back so many memories! I also think of our daily morning ritual of stretching and slathering the Foot Glide all over our feet! Buen Camino!

    • I was telling Kent today that I knew you had one hiccup along the way, but I couldn’t remember the details. Great story, and great illustration of just how wonderful Paul at Walks in Spain is. We haven’t had to call him (yet) but I know that he’d be ready and willing to help if we need him. Thanks for sharing a wonderful Camino memory!

  3. Thank you for sharing your adventures. This sounds like a wonderfully relaxing trip. I loved Spain and you make me want to go back.

    • This is my second trip to Spain, and while I enjoyed the first time, this is even better. Book your trip!!!

  4. Loving the accounts of your journey.
    Wish I was with you, but don’t know if we could physically do it right now – between my knee and Dave’s back ( yeah, he’s having some real issues right now) so I’m living the adventure through you and Kent.

    • So sorry to hear about your knee and Dave’s back. I knew you were still trying to get your knee working again, but I didn’t know Dave was having back issues! Hang in there. We’re sending healing energy your way, and we’ll also be bringing home some good wine to share. For medicinal purposes, of course…

  5. Enjoying your walk commentary. I feel like I am hearing you telling me this story on your patio! Of course, I want to have on no makeup, look discombobulated and not really care because Spain is my desired vibe too!


    • It will be patio time soon, and then we can swap vacation stories, sans makeup, with a glass or two of vino! Thanks for commenting Barb.

  6. Love this, and knowing you are having such a great experience. So important to live life these days. Just back from Miami and Sanibel with my daughter. Not Spain, but we were together in the sun. Hugs.

    • I am so very glad that you took the trip with Aba. Important bonding time for the two of you–that baby will be here before you know it! Much love to both of you.

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