Terra Verde grouped a total of 88 people together, on a beautiful fresh morning last month, for the 8th sector of our walk from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. This sector, in Spain, from Vigo to Redondela would prove to be of special interest to us all, as we would finally hook into the old traditional pilgrim route eventually leading to Santiago itself. Here too we would encounter other pilgrims also on their ‘caminho’ to Santiago and we were looking forward to making friends and sharing stories.
Vigo itself has a fascinating history when, during the Middle Ages, it was part of the territory of Portuguese speaking neighbouring towns, particularly Tui and suffered several Viking attacks. Today it is the 14th largest metropolitan area of Spain and largest city in Galicia. Its urban area is built over both a hill-fort (known as a Castro) and Roman settlement.
Our meeting point was in front of the beautiful early XIV century Igrexa Santa María de Castrelos, a late Romanesque granite church, consisting of a nave and a semicircular apse. It is abundantly decorated with beautiful rosettes and other typically Romanesque geometric motifs and once belonged to the Order of Malta. Fellow Spanish pilgrim and guide, Luiz, was on duty waiting to stamp our credentials after which there was the obligatory group photo before setting out through local parklands within the city, some bordered by small and charming back gardens and quaint vegetable patches. We were also joined by a small group of Spanish pilgrims who would accompany us until the outskirts of Vigo. As our walk meandered through these parks, it was nice to be able to share a word with the locals about their lives, as the Galician and Portuguese languages are extremely similar both originating from medieval times.
Passing through central Vigo, took us right into the city centre which was originally part of the traditional route and we enjoyed seeing everyone on their Saturday morning outing. It was however lovely to move out of the busy city and into the countryside, through small villages, leaving all the noise behind us. Our walk lead us along an original ‘caminho‘ through the hills overlooking Vigo’s magnificent bay area where we could observe an incredible amount of oyster farms. The flora and fauna, along with the peacefulness of the whole ambiance, was quite breathtaking making the walk even more pleasurable.
Beautiful forests with natural spring water flowing from small waterfalls meant an opportunity to freshen up and refill water bottles before making our way downhill, again through small villages, into Redondela whilst observing the local farm animal populations. It was a special thrill to come across a a pair of goats and their twin offspring frolicking on the hillside. A much awaited late lunch was waiting at Choles Restaurant where a delicious traditional Spanish fare was laid out. An added bonus was that one fellow pilgrim had his birthday that day and we toasted his health several times during lunch!
We were lucky enough to be given extra time before leaving to go home to Porto to discover the small and attractive town of Redondela, better known for its two railway bridge viaducts built in the XIX Century and which are protected for their artistic historical importance. It is also noted for its Albergues where pilgrims can stay over for a night at very reasonable prices.
84 kms to go until Santiago!
Next sectors Redondela > Pontevedra & Pontevedra > Caldas de Reis
Follow previous coastal walks on these links below:-