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Leaving Los Vigos *

* with apologies to Nicholas Cage et al.

[Sunday 16th September; Spain Day 5, Camino Day 9. Today’s walking distance 22.4 klms (total 206.9 to date)]

Vigo is a big city, the biggest of our travels, and our hotel last night was on the south side of the old city. It was about a 45 minute walk into the centre, followed by another hour plus to get out to the north side. So the first couple of hours were spent on city streets before we were rewarded with the slow climb up to the hinterland overlooking the giant Ria de Vigo estuary (bay?) with all the activity it holds. The route is not well waymarked, so there was a fair bit of guesswork and intuition, and looking at the map and Here We Go from all angles, but this is all part of the fun of the journey.

Our first stop for the day was the monument to Jules Verne. Vigo was mentioned in 20,000 Leagues Beneath the Sea, and apparently after its publication he visited the city on his yacht. The imposing monument of Verne sitting on an octopus seems very appropriate both for the author and for the Galician coast. The statue was installed in 2005, a century after the old man’s death.

And before and after, a bit of street art along the way.

As we left Jules there was the most magnificent building to our right. The grandeur, the architecture, the flowering trees on the via, what’s not to love?

And at the other end of the scale, a wonderfully creative bit of paint work on this building. We are sooooo boring in Australia!!

At 11am (we’d started walking at 8am, albeit with desayuno in between) we found our first arrow. Happiness abounded.

Once we got up into the hinterland above the Ria de Vigo estuary the scenery changed from outer-city grunge to countryside beauty. I’ll let the following suite of pictures tell their own story. It was a beautiful day in so many ways. Perhaps the most interesting was looking down onto the estuary. We could see hundred (thousands?) of platforms neatly anchored out in the water. The platforms are called bateas, or Galician mussel farms. Both mussels and oysters are farmed there. It’s obviously a huge operation. You can find out a bit more about the bateas here.

The imposing Puente de Rande over the estuary.

A camino bar ...

Here you can see the neatly arranged bateas in the distacne. Hundreds of them dotted the estuary.

Fish rock ...

Along the path ...

And again ...

Not far short of Redondela we chanced upon a lovely fresh water fountain, just below a café sitting up on the hillside, itself just below and old church. The señor from the café waved us up to him, which after 17 or so klms walking we gratefully acceded to. It was a very friendly place, but the surprise was the Iglesia de San Andrés next door. The church was unfortunately closed, but the adjoining cemetery was open for us to marvel at. It is a filly above ground cemetery, with row upon row of crypt upon crypt, like a huge container storage base. It even headed back under a patio out towards the road – still technically above ground but below road level. The photos don’t do it justice.

The stroll into Redondela was lovely. It has a small but characterful old town. We went to explore the cathedral, as we could hear the bells tolling, and later in the evening found a place to enjoy cena.

Around Redondela town at dusk ...

And more ...

Janet and Melie at dinner ...

Another relatively easy day tomorrow, about 20 klms.

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