Day 14 | Padron

Some of you know that once or twice a year I escort a group of pilgrims along the camino. In 2019 I had planned a group walk, pretty much like the walk we’d undertaken this year and one that included the boat ride to Padron. I’d pre-booked 10 seats on the boat with the assurance that they could be cancelled but had to be paid for in advance. Of course in 2019 there was no reason to think this would be a problem… but then covid came. The 200€ was never refunded, indeed my emails were never replied to but at the time that was ok and I just accepted that with national lockdowns many businesses along the camino would be suffering. I decided that I would not pursue a refund… it was gone… c’est la vie and I really didn’t mind.

Move on to this camino and when I emailed Olga at Naviera Bahia Sub to try and book new seats for our current journey she simply wouldn’t respond. My guess is that perhaps she thought I would ask for a refund? I tried several times without success, so a week ago I asked Gerry to have a go and of course Olga replied to him immediately and the seats were booked and paid for. When we arrived in town we found their office was closed so we were unable to collect our tickets or confirm our boarding times. Gerry emailed here and they replied quickly, that yes our boat would leave at 08:00 and we should arrive 30 minutes before.

It was cold at 7:00 am when we left our hotel and dark. We walked down to the harbour and waited. Did I mention it was cold! We meandered along the water’s edge and the bridge we crossed yesterday and looked for other pilgrims. It was almost 8:00 before we spotted any. We stopped to chat to a couple of american ladies. They had booked with Naviera Bahia Sub for yesterday’s boat but it never arrived so they switched to another, they were not happy as it had delayed their camino and cost them a day of walking and an extra night in a hotel. There was still no sign of our boat and we were worried. More pilgrims arrived but they were all on the other boat. We messaged Naviera Bahia Sub but had no reply. More pilgrims arrived and they boarded their boat. We crossed our fingers and wished and wished that he would have two empty seats, sadly he had only one. Their boat left and we waved them goodbye. The sun came up and still there was no sign of our boat. An hour later the owner arrived; they were sorry but they changed the schedule and our boat would leave at midday. Mmmm… we were less that thrilled.

We wandered the town and waited for a cafe to open and then we waited for midday. Thankfully the boat arrived this time. There were just 6 of us on board and unlike the trip that others had talked about we just headed off in the direction of Padron. The captain pointed out a few landmarks but there was very little ‘tour’ it was definitely more of a ‘taxi’ – we arrived at Pontecesures and the sun was high in the sky. We disembarked and couldn’t help but feel a little short-changed by the amazing boat trip that would be the fabulous end to our Variente Spiritual. I guess it hadn’t been the best few days and we meandered onwards into Padron.

We stopped for a drink as we entered the town. Gerry said he was feeling exhausted and hot. We both felt a little out of sorts. The trail was really really busy and instead of arriving in town at 10:00am it was almost 2:00pm. We talked. Why keep walking? Gerry was still feeling a little under the weather. It was hot and we weren’t enjoying the day, it too busy. We took stock. We decided that we should try and book accommodation in Santiago and jump on a train instead of walking the last day. And this is what we did.

Our camino didn’t end as we planned but that didn’t detract from the glorious two weeks that we’d had before things went a little astray. And we had 2 days extra in Santiago. We meandered the town and unlike normal years when the streets were full of pilgrims, it felt calmer and less busy and more Spanish. We ate in little bars full of locals, booked an apartment so we had more space to please ourselves and we took another rooftop tour of the Cathedral. On our second day Gerry was feeling so much better that he even decided that seafood was back on the menu! We enjoyed our time in Santiago and we loved our time walking along the coast. It may not have ended quite as planned but instead we were given the gift of Santiago without the hordes and it was indeed glorious!

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