Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day 22: Hello, Columbus!

Oct 8: Amanda, still feeling strong and with a relatively short day of walking planned, decided to walk the whole way again. Knowing I walked a lot faster than she did, however, she left the hotel to get a head start while I lingered behind. But I caught up to her at a cafe about an hour later. Apparently, I hadn't given her a big enough head start!

That is a seriously creepy scarecrow! I'm scared! I'm scared!

This was only our second day in Spain, but I already missed the cafes of Portugal. In Portugal, they always had a glass case with all sorts of pastries on display. I could look at the options and point to the one (or two... or three...) that I wanted. In Spain, they didn't seem to have those delicious pastry treats at all, and I was going through withdrawals. They would, however, give you a free snack if you ordered a drink so I got in the habit of not picking food at all to see what sort of snack would come with my Coke. Usually something simple like bar nuts or Chex mix type of things. It was always a surprise, and sometimes I liked the free option better than other thing I might order. I was a little surprised by unexpected free food too. When I hiked the Camino Frances through Spain several years earlier, I didn't remember them giving me snacks with the Coke I would order. The first time it happened, I thought it was just a particularly generous bar desperate for business, but then the next one did it, and the next one....

But I would have preferred picking out a pastry than getting free bar nuts or whatever. *sigh*

The first cafe today had a large poster with various ice cream products on it, though, and I decided I'd go for an ice cream. Sure! Why not? But the guy said they didn't have it--or anything else on the poster. Then why was the poster up there?! I left in a huff ordering nothing--not even a drink. Suck it!

Later in the afternoon we stopped at another cafe where I ordered a chorizo bocadillo (as did Amanda) and a Coke--which included the bar nuts at no extra charge.

Late in the day, the trail climbed a rather significant hill--probably the biggest Amanda had come across since leaving Porto--rising 170 meters above sea level. Amanda slowed down significantly at this point. I wasn't sure having this big hill so late in the day was a blessing or a curse for Amanda. On the one hand, she was already tired by the time we reached it. On the other hand, however, it didn't wear her out early in the morning either.

Amanda made it up and over the hill and picked up speed going down the other side. The trail seemed to meander senselessly--at least more senselessly than normal--following steep streets up and down hillsides rather than along the flat coastline. I never did figure out why the trail didn't take us to the coastline and keep going from there.

We stopped for another break at a picnic area, and I let Amanda get a head start again since I knew I'd catch up quickly. If she made it into town before I could catch up, though, I'd just meet her at the hotel we planned to stay at. That was the plan!

And it worked out for the most part, except when I got into Baiona, the yellow arrows marking the trail seemed to be missing. Through the city, the route was not very well marked, and my maps of the town weren't all that detailed. I felt my way through town, never quite sure about where I was. I hoped Amanda was having better luck navigating the trail than I was.

Eventually I reached the waterfront and there was clearly a big event going on. Tons of people were swimming in the cold water, but the wimps were wearing wetsuits. Other people were jogging. Flags marked courses and an announcer called out race results over speakers. It looked like a triathlon or something. It was a big event!

Once I made it to the waterfront, I got my bearings and backtracked towards the hotel--I'd walked several blocks past the correct turnoff for it--but eventually arriving at the Carabela A Pinta. As I turned the corner, I saw the door closing just as Amanda had entered. Caught up to her just as she was entering the hotel!

I caught up to Amanda on the second floor, and she too said she lost the trail going through town and wound up going to the wrong hotel at first since it also had the word "Pinta" in the name of the hotel, but they kept insisting that they didn't have a reservation under my name before Amanda realized that she was at the wrong hotel.

But she finally made it to the correct hotel, and we checked in, dropped off some of our gear, then headed back out again.

Two different hotels with the name "Pinta" in the name wasn't a coincidence. There's a full-sized replica of the Pinta sitting in the harbor--of the Niña, the Pinta and Santa Maria fame that Columbus used to discover the New World. For it was in this little town that news of the New World first spread across Europe when the Pinta landed. They take Columbus very seriously in this town, although the irony was that Columbus wasn't actually on the ship that arrived in Baiona. He had other places to go!

And--we suddenly realized--it was Columbus Day weekend! At least in the United States. I knew Spain celebrated Columbus Day, but I wasn't sure specifically which day they did so. He arrived in the New World on October 12th. Did they celebrate on that date? Or the weekend closest to it? It seemed like a strange coincidence to have arrived where news of the New World first touched Europe on Columbus Day weekend. Fate! We certainly hadn't planned the strange coincidence. Maybe that had something to do with the triathlon going on? Celebrate with exercise! =)

In any case, since we were here and it was Columbus Day weekend, it seemed like a visit to the Pinta would be in order, so we paid the fee and walked out on the long dock to the replica of the famous ship.

My first thought was that it was small. This was supposed to be an ocean-going vessel?! I'd be scared to take it out on a big lake! The boat was fascinating, though, and Amanda and I took all sorts of photos of it and learned about the journey.

When we were done, we ate some snacks at a cafe, bought postcards and as dusk quickly approached, headed back to the hotel for the night. We were done!

Don't ask. I have absolutely no idea what this stuff was for! It was a surprising thing to run into on the trail, though!

This is where I caught up with Amanda. (See her sitting in the chair at those tables on the left?)

This highway wasn't a fun one to walk on, but at least it had a wide shoulder to walk on.

Way too much of the trail was on PO-552! It did make counting down the kilometers easy, though....

This area looks like a very recent burn area. *nodding* Fortunately, no fires when we walked by!
Good grief! They excavated a heck of a lot of rock to build this road! I kind of wonder how close they were to just building a tunnel instead.
Amanda rests her weary feet. =)

This is from inside the church in the previous photo and looking out the main doors.
Amanda admires the harbor in Baiona.
That's a full-size replica of the Pinta in the harbor!

Walking out on the dock to the Pinta.
Castillo de Monterreal


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