Our final day on the Spiritual Variant was yet another challenging and rewarding experience. We completed this stage in Pontecesures, where the trail merges again with the Camino Portugese, after 15.5 miles of fort travel from The albergue in Armenteria.
In 44 AD the body of James the Apostle was transported by stone boat along the Arousa estuary toward his final resting place at Compostela.
James was the first apostle to be martyred, by beheading in Palestine. His remains were carried by the apostles Arhanasius and Theodore. This route was the initial route of all the Santiago trails.
The first three miles of the walk today were what I call ” work class hiking”. The phrase refers to a segment of a trail where just everything is correct: the slope of the land, the light, the presence of large stones ok, sinuous pathways, and the landscape architecture. This was it today. It is clearly the most beautiful hours and a half of hiking on this entire Portugese Camino. Maliaake had completed the more traditional Portugese Camino two years ago and said that,
“These is nothing like this on the other Camino.”
Today was so much richer an experience than was yesterday, although there were still stretches today where we walked along wooded areas that had been clear cut. It is also quite discouraging to witness copious piles of trash along section of the Camino today. This is one aspects of the trip that directly contrasts with the super well kept walkway in Portugal.
It is also important to note that the hiking here is hard now. The heat is increasing and it is only the third week in June. I can’t imagine what it must be like in July or August. It would be prudent to do some research that might lead a person with a free schedule to consider an October or even a November Portugese Camino.
The sunlight here causes the ground to warm up starting at noon and curiously does not diminish in intensity as the day goes on. It stays hot late here. The heat issue would also suggest that one should consider getting an early start. We have been leaving around 8 am. Today it was an improvement to have started by 7:30. It would be even better to get to bed early, and be walking by daylight which is now around 6 or 6 :15 AM.
We find that it is easier to keep moving when hiking with others. We are fortunate that both Heleno and Miaake both speak Spanish fluently. Marcia and I feel like dweebs, due to our poor mastery of foreign languages. Heleno speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese and English. Here, numerous Spaniards do not understand a word of English. Our ability to communicate with out here is painfully limiting.