Day 9 | Tui to Mos
We had a nice stay in Tui. For dinner we enjoyed a few Tapas in a bar opposite the cathedral; the padron peppers were very nice indeed. We’ve lost an hour crossing over to Spain so decided on an early night. However, Tui had different plans as the town seemed to be in party mode. Our room was above a restaurant and it was busy. As well as the bustle from downstairs there was also an occasional burst of distant crowds chanting… it sounded almost like a football chant? And to add to the general cacophony the bedroom doors had automatic keypads. Everytime you arrived and started to enter your PIN a (loud) automated voice would say “Door Locked”… followed by a series of loud beeps… followed by “Door Unlocked”. This happened every time someone returned to their rooms and it felt like there were a lit of rooms! I know I was still awake at midnight as I heard the chimes and I don’t think either of us slept well.
We planned to have breakfast in town. The alburgue around the corner from us was open but very very busy and we saw no spare tables. There’ll be another bar open for sure… right? Of course there was not. So we sat on a bench on the edge of town and had a banana and a drink of water; it was surprisingly satisfying and it also made our packs a little lighter too.
The sky was lightening as we left but it was still quite cold, the sun was yet to really rise. The switch to Spanish time meant we were up and on the road an hour earlier than normal… it came as a bit of a shock as we’d been enjoying our slow mornings. There are advantages though as I love do this time of day even though Gerry teases me with the number of photos I take of the sun rising. He said that my Native American name would be Sun Through Trees… which I kind of like.
We walked on and arrived at a pilgrim statue beside a medieval bridge and I was reminded of our walk here with Jaqui. Sarah and myself had posed with the pilgrim statue but when Jaqui tried she just couldn’t get in and stand up. She twisted and turned and stumbled and bumbled and Sarah and I laughed until we cried… dear Jaqui… I can’t believe she’s no longer here but it’s good to remember her laughter.
On and on we walked beside a road until we reached the forest. The last time I was here the path was flooded, Sheila had removed her shoes and socks to cross the flood water but for some reason I decided it woukd be OK to just run through… almost like the water would be too slow for me. Of course my feet got very wet then. Today it was sunny and dry but my Tevas were starting to rub so I sat down and switched shoes. To prevent blisters I always tape my toes. I tape all around my little toes, I put a stripe of tape over the ball of my foot and I use silicon gel toe caps on my big toes. It’s a bit of a palaver but it saves my feet and so its fine with me. As pilgrims walked by they gave me sad sympathy smiles… that kind of knowing glance which says “oh no look at those blisters”. I don’t have any but I’m pretty sure about 20 pilgrims will be talking about the poor English woman’s feet today.
Happy in my trail runners we continued. A police car drove slowly down the trail. I’ve seen a few on this trip and also on the Camino Frances a few weeks ago; it’s good to know they’re looking out for pilgrims… or maybe they’re checking up on pilgrims but either way we walked onwards. There are surprisingly more people on the trail today so there was a lot of chatter, buen caminos and dodging of cyclist and we were happy to reach our first coffee stop. Oh the joy of Spanish cafe con leche and a slice of warm tortilla. We might have to get up an hour earlier now but breakfast is good on the Spanish side of the border.
We decided to take the river route into O Porrino. On my last two visits I followed the original route via the industrial estate so today would be a welcome change. It wasn’t quite what I’d expected and not quite as much river as I thought there would be but it is definitely an improvement on the original path and I’d recommend this to option. It adds minimal extra time or distance and is much easier on the eye and on the feet.
We had booked a little cottage for our bed tonight and we knew that there woild be no bar or shop nearby so had decided to buy provisions in O Porrino. We walked by a supermarket on our way into town and shopped for salad, eggs, avocado, fruit and hummus. I’d been dreaming of hummus and carrot sticks for a few days so I was very happy. We knew we’d have to carry this shopping for 7km so we kept things to a minimum and once we’d done we went in search of lunch. We found a quiet spot in the shade and for 10 euro we had 2 courses, bread, drinks and coffee. We had scrambled egg with spinach to start and chicken and rice for our main plate; a great little stop for pilgrims on the move. We could have stayed for longer but the sun was getting hotter and there was a way for us to walk before bed.
The route out of town seemed unfamiliar to me and I wonder if it has been changed? It was though very hot and our lack of sleep was starting to tell. We only had 7km to walk but it felt much longer under that Spanish sun. I could see my shadow as I walked… Gerry put his shopping in his pack but I decided to carry mine and it reminded me of Francesco on the Via de la Plata; whenever you saw him he had a carrier bag in his hand. I can tell you that we were happy happy pilgrims to arrive in Mos and we grabbed a table in the shade in the bar beside the church.
As we cooled down a young couple arrived. Mum was walking with her young daughter and was carrying her own pack on her back and children’s packs in each hand. Dad was pushing two younger children in an all terrain buggy. It made us feel rather feeble watching them arrive. They were from the US but lived in Ponferrada and their daughter told us that this was her second camino already! What a great family… their enthusiasm rubbed off on us and we decided it was time to tackle the big hill and go find our accommodation.
We had told the owner that we’d arrive around 17.00 and we were about 30 minutes late. I’m not sure if this was bad form but we had quite a frosty reception from him. Indeed he simply opened the door and left, without saying one single word. The reviews of the property had said there were two friendly cats which was a bonus for Gerry but they never appeared. As I prepared dinner I realised I had no salad dressing so sent Gerry up to the big house, where the owners lived, to ask nicely for a little oil and vinegar… he returned with both and said the wife at least smiled and was kindly but the cats were cancelled… there was no sign of them at all.
We did our washing and hung it out in the late sun in the garden to dry. We ate our salad on the terrace looking out at the hills around Mos and after we’d cleared away we decided that another early night would be a good idea. All in all a very pleasant day on the camino, its good to be feeling more normal but it was a shame about the cats!