CP14 Recce D2

First full day in Santiago.

woman outside Cathedral wall

The rain eased off overnight, and the streets and back lanes of Santiago were glistening as Jennifer and I made our way to our favourite brekkie spot, Cafe Agarimo – not far from the hotel.

Cafe Agarimo ext

The hotel by the way – the Literario San Bieito – was wonderful. We’ll be staying there when we return at the end of the tour. The hotelier, Amadeo, could not have been more helpful – and the room we had was simply beautiful.

Breakfast was coffee and ham/cheese/tomato toast, done the way only the Spanish can do it –

coffee Cafe Agarimo Cafe Agarimo tostada

We then did a quick sortie to the Pilgrim’s Office, to pick up the Credentials for our group – plus we bought some goodies for the Pilgrim’s Pack. Then we walked a brisk 5kms to the outskirts of town to the Cortez Ingles – the big department store. I needed to get a bracket for my Garmin GPS – I’d forgotten to bring it from Australia.

Back then to the Cathedral. We hadn’t had a chance to go inside the previous evening. It was almost empty when we walked in – and after a contemplative time, allowing the energies of that extraordinary place to seep into me, I began to take some shots of the Botafumeiro all trussed up.

Botafumerio hanging Botafumerio rope Botafumerio pulley

Then off to lunch with Johnnie Walker – the doyen of the Camino.

john Walker

A beautiful restaurant, San Clemente – but what made it special was getting to know John a little more. He’s a fascinating man. I asked him how many Caminos he’d walked and he looked at me blankly and smiled – he genuinely didn’t know, he’d walked so many!

john Walker Jen and me

He very kindly picked up the tab – insisting – so I insisted on reciprocating after the tour. We plan a big lunch after Easter, at a special place he knows out of town that does steaks that are reputedly the best in the world.

I can’t wait.

After lunch we drove off to Padron.

trees at Padron


I noticed the name of a town – Valga. I chirped to Jennifer that the town was like me. She said it was very sad I would say such a thing.

The next sign for a town appeared. The town was called Cuntis. I chirped to Jennifer that I would not make a comment on that one. She replied dryly that I just had…

We stopped at Padron and walked into the old quarter. A man appeared at the door of a bar. He yelled out: Are you pilgrims?

I hesitated, not sure how to reply. Was I a pilgrim yet, even though the walk hadn’t started? Or was I still a pilgrim from my last Camino? I really wasn’t sure. So I kind of nodded meekly.

That was enough for this man. Come in, come in – he said, gesticulating wildly for us to step inside into his bar.

shaking hands

We did – and immediately I realised the bar was a shrine to the Camino, with photos and Camino memorabilia all over the walls. The man – his name was Peepe (yes, correct spelling) – asked me to sign a book. He raced into a back room, and rushed back out flourishing a book full of comments from past pilgrims.

While I was figuring out what to write, he raced back into the back room and returned with about ten more such books, each of them filled with comments from passing pilgrims.


After I wrote my little missive, he then insisted on taking photos – first Jennifer and myself behind the bar, then photos of me with him, then Jennifer with him. Photos done, he then began to dance wildly around the bar, punching the air with excitement and laughing.

with jen punching air

Strange man.

Saying we had to go, he went to kiss me on the lips but I quickly moved my head and he grazed my cheek, thankfully. We managed to escape, and took refuge in a cute little restaurant and had a plate of home grown (and very famous) Pimentos de Padron. Washed down with a beautiful glass of Rioja, it was sublime.

Pimentos de Padron

Off then to Caldas de Rais, and the hotel with the thermal baths. The baths are at water level (the hotel stands right over the thermal waters) and are truly spectacular. Hot, steaming, pressurised – I’d believe they’d cure the incurable.

Balneiro Acuna Hotel Thermal baths

The day ended with the all too familiar ordeal of trying to get SIM cards with well meaning Movistar staff who can’t speak English.

I think I might have taken out a data contract for two years…

Albergue in Padron





28 thoughts on “CP14 Recce D2

  1. Hi Bill & Jennifer.

    Sounds like all your travel worries from yesterday are behind you!

    I LOVE the photo of the trees overhanging the street at Pardon!

    Are we going to Pardon on the tour?

    See you in a few days.


  2. Oooh I am so envious. Another Camino. You all are going to have such a wonderful time. Love reading your exploits. You are hilarious!


  3. Great post, but the best part is it quit raining for awhile. Maybe i dont need my new Goretex gloves and gaiters. Hmmm. Think i will go ahead and bring them.

    Keep up the good work. 🙂


  4. Bill,
    I’m tasting the Pimentos de Padron, my absolute favorite for wasting away hours with a wonderful glass of Rioja Red. I ordered them many times while on my last Camino. I’m so looking forward to that same tapas again!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad to hear the rain has eased, we a little concerned getting wet shoes and socks😣.

    Thanks for the pics


    Sent from my iPhone



  6. Hi Bill, what a great post and beautiful pictures!! Glad things are going better and if I can’t be there, then following you and the gang is next best! The food looked yummy, the coffee delis and the man acted weird but I will go try to find him when I go!


  7. Hi Bill and Jennifer

    Great to hear there is someone to share this rain with. We arrived in Lisbon late Sunday night and spent yesterday dodging the rain around the town. We managed to pick up our credencials at the cathedral. The hop on hop off bus ride around town gave us a good perspective, however we were probably more interested in the hot soup and red wine awaiting us back at the hotel.

    We found a great restaurant in the area, Sessanta, (hosted by Ricardo) with highlights being the veal cheek roasted for 3 hours, baked cheese entrée and a 2010 red from the Douro Valley.
    Today we’re off to Fatima and staying at Coimbra tonight in readiness to step into the boots, strap on the gaiters, pull on the poncho and start walking (maybe sloshing) tomorrow. Can’t wait! See you in Porto.
    Pete and Julie


    • Dear Peter & Julie,

      Lovely to hear from you! And glad to hear that you didn’t have a trip over like we had!

      So you’re starting from Fatima? What a great thing to do! Jennifer and I haven’t been there, but it’s a place we really want to visit. And how wonderful if you’re starting your pilgrimage from there.

      We’re currently in Caldas de Rais, and will make our way (by car!) today to Tui, on the Spanish/Portuguese border. We’ll be arriving in Porto in Saturday.

      By the time we drive in you’ll have walked a couple of hundred mms and will be fit and lean as greyhounds!

      Best wishes, and big hugs to you both as you start off, and looking forward to catching up on Saturday.



  8. As I sit here, eating my breakfast (a cup of coffee), your blog instantly takes me back to Spain and to all the things I love and miss about the Camino. The unexpected, the familiar, the universal and the unique.
    Ultreia, my friends.
    PS – Lovely to see that the ubiquitous Johnny Walker actually eats and drinks like a human being. In my mind he had long ago acquired super-human status. Now to find that mysterious “Ivar” person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kathy – John Walker (he always refers to himself as John, not Johnny) is a lovely fellow. Used to be a very high powered and successful company “fixer” – came in and tidied up companies that were in trouble. He now effectively runs the Pilgrim’s Office out of Santiago, and no doubt has the skills to deal with maters that arise – but he’s also doing a lot of charitable work. Wonderful man.

      You put it beautifully Kath – the unexpected, the familiar, the universal and the unique. You write wonderfully.



  9. *Sigh* If wishes were fishes the sea would be full. I truly hope and pray that I too will be there in the not too distant future~

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ah, those pimentos, the botafumiero, the cafe con leche, the rain washed paths of SdC…. cherish the experience. Wish I was there. Look forward to the coming days of reading about your amazing journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Anne. Moving into Portugal this morning. That will be fun! I love North Portugal. Looking forward to your comments here as we go… Bill


  11. Hi Bill and Jen –
    ‘So great to hear that all’s going well, after that shaky start. Beautiful photos, as per usual !
    Tell me, are there any Twisties left ? !!
    Cheers – Jenny


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