Finally, the first long day of our Camino started on Day 2 in Barbadelo. Day 1, as I wrote about, was really a “baby” hiking day. All good; ’twas for a good reason (like getting to see O Cebreiro). But I (along with my fellow trekkers) were really ready to tackle the ‘mino.
I enjoyed breakfast with jamón serrano (Spanish ham), cheese, fresh bread, OJ, and my café con leche. I was well-fueled for the day!
As luck would have it, it was raining that morning. And with my cheap rain poncho, I was looking like a Camino fool on a tear!
Once again, the trails are well-marked with yellow arrows (or the kilometer markers with the seashell). Rarely did these markers fail us!
The trail is so varied all along the Camino. I loved that because it kept me looking forward to what else we would see. And it kept me paying attention to my surroundings – which made me not take the scenery for granted.
As lunch time was nearing, we passed Ferreiros, a small hamlet with a cute little church with an accompanying cemetery.
But all wasn’t pretty landscape and charming little churches. Lunch time was a time for rest, and a time for good food. And, occasionally, a glass of local table wine or a glass of beer (I normally did not drink but a couple of times did have a glass of wine).
After what felt like a very long day, we finally spotted the Miño River, which meant we had arrived at our destination for the day: the town of Portomarín, one of the largest we went through at over 2,00o or so inhabitants. The original town (with a long history with the Camino) is now under water as it was flooded when a dam was built downstream – so the town we stayed in is fairly young. However, it is worth noting that key buildings, like the main church, were moved before the old town was flooded to a new spot in the town.
A festival had just taken place and there were some types of branches strewn about the main square and down the main pedestrian street. The main street was cute and colorful and clearly well-lived by the locals.
The Church of San Juan (San Xoán) was moved, as I said, from the old town to a new spot. It is late Romanesque and feels like a church and a castle at the same time. We went in as we found out it was open to stamp pilgrims’ Camino passports but, unfortunately, there was no Mass scheduled for that evening.
The interior was simple without being plain. I found it very peaceful.
After our first full day of hiking, I was glad to enjoy a nice meal, some vino, and a nice peaceful view from our room at the hotel.