The morning was cold, but the sun was out, and it looked to be a nice day. The farming odor was strong, even more pungent than the evening before. The walk was pleasant, through farmland, patches of forest, and hamlets—so many, I couldn’t tell them apart. The Camino followed a paved country road, with one diversion around a section that was being repaired. Finally, one small stretch of the Camino in Galicia was being worked on. I could show them at least a dozen more that needed it… From Page 177, Camino De Santiago In 20 Days. Although I didn’t know it at the time, my walking through the mud, for the most part, was over. There were bright, sunny skies ahead.
Now, I’ll continue my journey on the Camino de Santiago as I leave Mercadoiro, Galicia. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons).
On my last post, On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Morgade to Mercadoiro, I finished up a sunny evening walk and began the next morning after a memorable stay at a small albergue in a Galician farmhouse. After gently descending from the Alto Páramo, I arrived at the hamlet of Mercadoiro which was engulfed in a light morning fog.
I could be wrong, but I believe we’re supposed to turn left here.
I also wrote on page 177, “Hórreos are elevated, rectangular storage bins designed to hold grain and keep out rodents and small mammals. There would be many along the Way to Finisterre in various conditions, with some elaborately decorated.” Let’s take a closer look…
Typical of the older buildings in these hamlets. Some were still standing and in use. Others sat in ruins.
The aforementioned diversion.
Fog and farmland on the edge of the tiny hamlet of Vilacha.
First views of Portomarín. From here, the trail descends steeply. In this area, you’ll also notice the first eucalyptus trees.
After the descent, the Camino arrives at the highway and the 90 kilometer bollard.
A Little Recent History
Dating back to Roman times, much of the settlement of Portomarín was along the Río Miño at the bottom of the Miño Valley. In the 1950’s, construction began on a dam on the Miño, Encoro de Belesar, that would generate power for the area. Prior to flooding the valley, many of the major monuments, including the church, were taken apart, stone by stone, and reassembled at the new townsite on the side of the hill. This was a major undertaking but not everything was moved. The resulting reservoir is the Embalse de Belesar.
The water was high when I walked, but in late summer, the remains of the Roman bridge, and houses and other buildings can be seen. I don’t know if you can tell, but there is not a high rail along the edge of the bridge, or between the lane and the walkway. I remember a large truck passing by and making me shake enough to grasp the rail.
I didn’t stay long on this bridge and just took a couple of photos. I wish this one was a little better.
From the other side of the bridge I could see this structure ahead. I had no idea what it was, nor did I realize how amazing it would be.
We’ll take a closer look on my next post, On The Camino De Santiago in Portomarín, Spain. I’ll also take you through the historic Camino town of Portomarín. Please join me.
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