Camino Portuguese Variante Espiritual, Vilanova da Arousa to Santiago de Compostela 27 km by boat + 28 km walking

Today’s distance 28km (the extra 4 km involved walking around Santiago before I remembered to turn off the GPS)
Elevation gain 488 m
Elevation loss 235 m
Total distance from Almería 1,496 km

So, today we have a boat trip up the Rios Arousa and Ulla and then a walk into Santiago.

We wake early even though we can’t leave town until the boat arrives at 10:00. The day starts bright and sunny but storms are forecast for later. We make the most of the sun on our backs whilst it lasts. Nina and I take a stroll around the fishing port and the marina and look out over the mussel farms to the bay beyond.

When it arrives I am a little taken aback by the small size of the boat compared to the large number of pilgrims waiting to embark. 19 of us plus two crew squeeze onto what I would call a rubber dingy, but am reliably informed is called a rib (rigid inflatable boat), completely open, no safety drill or information about where to find life jackets. By the time we set off, the sun has disappeared behind the clouds and travelling at 15 knots in the open estuary is rather chilly. So in addition to my fleece and rain jacket I fish in my pack for buff for head and neck, scarf over my knees and gloves. El Capitan stops the boat to give us some information about the mussel beds, apparantly this is the largest production site in Spain, smaller mussels are sent to France and Italy whilst the spanish prefer more muscular molluscs.

We have another pit stop where the Rio Arousa becomes the Rio Ulla at a small island where three crosses mark the spot. And yet another when we cross the border from somewhere to somewhere else (sorry I wasn’t listening properly) at which point tea and cake was served. Despite the lack of sun and the chill of the speed, it was a very enjoyable journey for 27 km to the landing point at Puentecesures, through a wide and still waterway passing beautiful scenery with lovely reflections in the water. We also passed small fishing boats where several men on each were standing, vigorously and precariously levering long poles with large nets on the end into the water. I didn’t get to see what was their intended catch, but it was all very colourful and they all waved happily to us as we passed.

The boat ride couldn’t start until 10:00 because of the tide, I think at different times there may also be an afternoon sailing and there is also a much bigger ferry for when the numbers are greater. The rain desisted during our journey and when we alighted after an hour and ten minutes, we walked the 2 km into Padrón, stopped at the market for some fruit and bread, and visited the church of Santiago where legend has it St James’ body was delivered in a stone boat.

I had walked this last stage between Padrón and Santiago back in 2014 when I had some excellent company. The rain started soon after leaving Padrón so I didn’t take many photos, but if you are interested to read more about this stage you can see my previous post here (some of the route has changed in the meantime).

As we walk through villages I can smell the delicious aromas of lunches being cooked, and although I am certain I wouldn’t be able to eat any of what is being cooked, it doesn’t stop my nose from twitching in appreciation.

In the municipality of Teo a protest was taking place, very restrained and difficult to miss. Rather than ugly banners strung from fences, there were many attention grabbing full sized straw dolls holding signs and messages. We must have seen at least twenty. Very clever.

This stage was mostly on hard surface, but passing through many pretty little villages, as well as a couple of shortish stretches on the horribly busy N-550. Towards the end of the stage there are two options to walk, one taking around 4 km to reach the city and the other taking 7 km. Unsurprisingly we opted for the shorter route, taking the left fork towards and past the hospital

It was still raining as we neared our destination. I had almost reached my goal and walked over 1,400 km from Almería without mishap of any kind when I tripped over something and fell flat on my face (well, not actually on my face thankfully, but I went down completely – sprawled on the wet ground). Luckily Nina was at my side and helped me up (it is no easy feat to get up from the ground with 8 kilos strapped to your back). No harm done, just a grazed knee and a bit of a shock, and on we went, the final few hundred metres to the Cathedral.

We took a few selfies and had a couple of group hugs. Such a shame Marilyn wasn’t there at the finale – we missed her sunny presence.

Our late start and boat ride meant that we didn’t arrive until 18:00, but there were plenty of other pilgrims arriving from different directions, from different caminos, all with the same looks of wonder and achievement on their faces – no matter what distance they had walked, the feeling of reaching Praza Obradoiro at the end of your camino cannot be beaten.

Nina and I stayed at the Last Stamp Albergue – central, comfortable, all facilities, including bed linen and duvet, 18€. We met with Paul later for a bar crawl and a bite to eat.

And there it was, done! Another camino completed.

Of those 1,496 km stated at the top of the page, I didn’t walk 75 of them due to illness (not mine) and accommodation difficulties. But I am sure I walked at least another 150 km in addition to the stage lengths, sight-seeing, shopping, just wandering the streets. I shall write another post or two to round off this adventure, so expect a few more mails to arrive in your inbox.

I would like to thank everyone who has commented on and contributed to this camino blog. I appreciate your support so very much and read and relish every word. Over time I will answer any specific questions and if relevant maybe write a post with responses to items of general interest.

A huge THANK YOU to all those who have travelled with me, in person and in spirit.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue
This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Camino Mozarabe, Camino Mozárabe from Almeria, Camino Mozárabe variante Trujillo, Camino Portuguese Coastal Route, Camino Portuguese Variante Espiritual and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Camino Portuguese Variante Espiritual, Vilanova da Arousa to Santiago de Compostela 27 km by boat + 28 km walking

  1. Bloo Anderson says:

    I have followed your Camino from day one and have enjoyed every single report. I did the Mozarabe last year on my own and, meeting less than a dozen people on the way, found it a most spiritual experience. Your reports have taken me straight back to that time, greatly aided by your excellent photography, and I’ve enjoyed your descriptive and informative writing all the way. I’ve just returned from 6 weeks in the Sierra Nevada and your blog has convinced me that, next year, I shall return to the Mozarabe and perhaps follow some of your variations. Thank you for a most excellent blogand for being such an inspiration. Many congratulations on a most remarkable Camino.


  2. Anita Lopez says:

    Just to congratulate you on your amazing camino, very well done. I have enjoyed reading the daily blogs and seeing your fabulous photos. We will be walking the Ingles soon I know it’s nothing compared to your journey but hey ho we do what we can. Enjoy a well earned rest with your family.


  3. june Pettipas says:

    Congratulations on another amazing camino! I shall miss my daily update. Hope you get to enjoy some much deserved relaxation. Yet another great addition to add to the book you may someday write. Thanks for being such an inspiration!!!


  4. ingridfolkers says:

    TX for taking me along. This has been an adventure. Suseia!


  5. Bridget Kirke says:

    What an amazing achievement. I’m a little tearful just imagining how you must be feeling! I might be able to walk some of the way but 1500 km (mas o menos) with a heavy rucksack? I somehow doubt it! Thanks again for sharing your experiences on this journey. You are a true Inspiration.


  6. Genny says:

    “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. “. Namaste.


  7. Brian says:

    Congratulations Maggie, I have relished yet another annual bout of waking every morning to vicariously walk with you and relive the spirit of ‘caminoing” across the Iberian Peninsula. Enjoy the finish and the times of reflection that will follow, much metta,


  8. Ronald Preuss says:

    Congratulations, Maggie! What a fabulous achievement! Thank you for taking me along through your lively descriptions and excellent photography! You are such an inspiration!


  9. Angela Troy says:

    Congratulations and well done you. Thank you so much for allowing me to share your Camino, I have enjoyed all your adventures and beautiful photos. You are an amazing lady. I will miss your daily blog. I will be looking forward to your next adventure. Thank you again, and take care of yourself. Best wishes from Cork, Ireland xx


  10. Congrats! I’ll be a dazed peregrino next week!


  11. Ina Sinclair says:

    I have read and relished every word – so very motivating, so much useful information, so many beautiful photos! Thank YOU!


  12. perryjudith says:

    Well done Maggie – I will miss your daily blog. Looking forward to the next time already, though you might not be just at the moment! – enjoy your return home Xx


  13. Janice Tyler says:

    Well done Maggie. Loved being on this Camino as a virtual participant. You are amazing x


  14. memismsblogs says:

    Congratulations! It’s impossible for me believe that we started walking the same day that you did! Thanks for the reports and photos.


  15. Congrats Maggie and thank you for taking us on another amazing camino journey!


  16. lynharrison4wind says:

    Big well done, most of all for keeping the blog and photography going through sunshine and rain, gales, boat rides and even an inelegant capsize onto your front on the final stretch. A dedication to meeting the expectations of your readers that goes well beyond the call of duty. We so appreciate it!


  17. Margaret Casey says:

    Followed you to the END!! Congratulations on another Camino Well Traveled and WELL done!! Please—perhaps a month or two off…and a book is next!!??


  18. Maggie Gardner says:

    A big thank you to you for sharing all your Caminos with us all. This is been an incredible journey. many congratulations. You are truly amazing xx


  19. Pat says:

    Congratulations for another Camino, well done!


  20. Arlèna says:

    I loved following your journey, what a beautiful Camino! I’ve walked the Camino 12 times now and just love reading other’s journeys. The Camino Portuguese is my favorite but a bit too short, I like very much the distance you did. Thank you for blogging along the way.



    Dear Margaret,
    I have followed you every day since you set out from Almeria as I did with your previous Caminos.Your excellent blogs give a wonderful story of your travels and your descriptions are so illustrative of the conditions and your photos are of the highest quality. My heartiest congratulations on once again successfully completing the Camino,truly a great achievement. I will greatly miss my daiuly reading and I am sure you would make a wonderful author.
    I do have one question to put to you. The Caminob is a religious undertaking for Pilgrims and the Alberques you stay in are for the true Pilgrims, the signs and everything else to assist the walkers are for the Pilgrims. You meet so many different people on the Camino and I wonder how religion features in their and your lives.
    As a very small contribution to your wonderful achievement I will give David €50.00 next tuesday as a donation to CUDECA. David will no doubt be celebrating your return a\t our lunch!

    Congratulations again and you deserve a long rest!.


  22. Fred says:

    Congratulations!! Another wonderful Camino Maggie! Thank you for sharing it with us followers through your fantastic blog. Your daily posts will be missed. Thanks for walking longer this year. Your blogs have inspired many of us to follow in your footsteps. Your information is a treasure trove for our preparation and provides guidance when we are on our way. Looking forward to your next!


  23. Lucymi says:

    Dear Magwood, congratulations on finishing this amazing journey. I loved reading you reports every day, I can‘t add much else to the other readers‘s comments.
    I hope somebody from the BBC or Netflix etc has also followed your blog, it would make a great documentary.


  24. Conchy says:

    Thanks, Maggie, for sharing your camino with those of us that cannot “walk” it any other way! You are amazing. Loved your descriptions, information, and photos. Please write a book soon. Will miss your daily blog. Take care and enjoy your home and David now.


  25. Congratulations Maggie. I have enjoyed every step of your latest adventure and I am full of awe and amazement of what you all achieved. I will truly miss your daily updates and the little escape they provided me from my hum drum. I guess I just need to patient (and get training) for my own little adventure just around the corner. Take care and ‘where to next’??!! Mel


  26. Joseph Binef says:

    Dear Maggie, congratulations on finishing your trip. Cannot explain the thrill I get every time I read your daily blog. Always great pictures and stories, love them. Makes me feel like i’m there with you. Have been following you since your Madrid trip. Can’t get enough. Thank you for keeping my spirit alive. God bless.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Brilliant! Wonderful writing and photos! How to settle back into a normal lifestyle now?


  28. gracethepilgrim says:

    Congratulations doesn’t seem BIG enough. You are a great inspiration and the joy you bring to so many cannot be measured.
    Without your daily dose of adventure, I’ll just have to resort to planning my next one (wink wink) Best wishes, Grace


  29. M3 Mary says:

    Well done Maggie on a wonderful achievement. You are an amazing woman and I shall miss the daily reports. I followed you everyday on my phone but not being very tech minded I couldn’t comment! Like many other people I believe this would make a great book and I love all your photos. Why not get into the guide book market and give Mr. Brierley a run for his money. I was having the time of my life on the Camino Frances until last Sunday when I got an infection in my leg and had to come home. I shall return in Sept. to complete the adventure. Have a lovely rest Maggie you are an amazing woman. Much love xx


  30. Martin o Leary says:

    Dear Magwood. My congrats on completion of your extraordinary Camino. I enjoyed your daily bulletins all the way from Almería. They were always concisely full of interesting detail and always beautifully illustrated. And I almost felt by journey’s end that I knew your friends personally. Also, having completed a few longish Caminos as a vegetarian myself, I was delighted to read how you so capably managed your diet. No mean feat in Spain. Well done ! Now it’s time to put the feet up. Relax and enjoy. Best wishes. Martin.


  31. William P Brister and cachy Brister says:

    Congratulations on the end of your trip!! Have truly enjoyed every post with all the details and honesty in your writings. The pictures were great, I appreciated them and your wonderful sense of humor. Much respect how you were able to following your vegetarian diet all through the trip. Reading through the times you were short of food I felt my stomach growl in sympathy!!! Enjoy the rest…………cachy


    • magwood says:

      Hi Cathy, thanks for your comment. I never actually went hungry, but had to ‘make do’ on various occasions. Fish, meat and eggs are staple ingredients in Spanish diets and often my only option was a sad salad and some soggy chips. But hey, at least I wasn’t tempted by ice creams and hot chocolate and chocolate bars (although the odd packet of oreos found its way into my pack). I just stocked up on healthy food when passing through larger towns with supermarkets that had a good choice of suitable products.


  32. Michele Collett says:

    Dear Maggie, Another wonderful achievement, Congratulations, to have completed this mammoth Camino. You are a true inspiration for others wanting to trial one of these adventures. I have loved your blog each day, and as others have said, you really should put these into a book, would make wonderful reading. Look forward to catching up with you in the village, be great to see you back. Enjoy a little rest now, much love Michele X


  33. Thanks for a wonderfully entertaining close-up of what a camino entails. I am in awe of you and your companions. I hope you never stop. Best wishes, Ian


    • magwood says:

      Thanks Ian. I also hope I never stop. The camino seems to run in my blood now and not only I, but all those who know me, just assume there will be another one next year. Watch this space!


  34. Danielle says:

    Dear Maggie!
    Wow! What can I say that has not alrady has been said by the previous comments!!! I love reading your daily blog, you are such an inspiration! They are so well written, with a bit of humour, descriptive and the photos!!! Thanks for sharing your Camino experience with us! You are inspiring me to walk from Seville, for my 3rd Camino next April, thanks! Enjoy your well deserve rest and then I hope you start planning again, lol, sorry David!


  35. the2geordies says:

    HI Maggie
    I will miss your daily blogs & fantastic photo’s,
    enjoy the rest until the next one, & I agree you need
    to bring out a book, put our name on the waiting list
    Barbara & Bob


  36. Frances says:

    Hi, I’ve loved your comments and admire all the Km you have completed.
    We are currently on our 3rd Camino – Portuguese from Porto having completed Francais from StJPdeP and Englaise from El Ferrol.
    We’d very much like to take the boat from VN de Arousa to outside Padron.
    Can you tell me please, is it possible to book in advance? Can you send me any details you have please.


    • magwood says:

      Hi Frances. We reserved our places for the boat at the albergue when we arrived the previous afternoon. I imagine you can reserve at any of the accommodation places in the town. I really enjoyed the boat ride and hope you do too. Buen Camino!


I would love some feedback - tell me what you think.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.