Those of you who follow me on Instagram will know that this summer (2022) I finally finished walking the last 115km along the Camino de Santiago, from Sarría to Portomarín in Spain. This is the fifth leg of the Camino which I started in 2016 (if you’re interested, I wrote a Q&A post in response to some of the questions people had asked me along the way that year). In theory, was supposed to complete a leg each summer until 2020. This is Day 39 (other posts from other stages are linked at the end of this post).
We were so thankful for a shorter day (listed as around 15km) today. One of our party was suffering from footwear issues and was itching to get to a larger town with some shoe stores (sandals in mind!). Everyone needed a shorter day (especially those who had arrived at 1.30 am on Saturday and got up to start walking for 8am the same day and had already completed close to 50km in the first two days!).
In fact, this leg is typically close to 27km but we split it and the following day (24km) into three instead of two so we could catch our breath a bit. So glad we did!
Just don’t ever look at Google Maps before you start walking…
Thankfully, the breakfast was copious (on shorter days, we generally don’t eat a “lunch”) and involved FRUIT! GRANOLA! YOGHURT! (it’s a good day on the Camino when there are all these things on offer!) and a bunch of meats, cheeses, the tomato topping for toast, breads, and pastries. On these shorter days, a good breakfast and a good dinner are really all you need!
Fully fuelled, off we went…
The guidebook describes the trail as mostly “delightful woodland” and references Melide as a “good halfway stop” (or, you know, complete stop for some thank you very much!) and, indeed, it was a very pretty, green (after the rain the day before) trail…
It’s always so much nicer not walking on (main) roads and if it is hot, the trees provide much-needed shade.
We saw some of the local police on this leg (and subsequent days too!):
Yep, on this stage we saw a bunch of the Guarda Civil on horseback patrolling the paths!
Of course, there was a second breakfast…
And with so “few” kilometers to walk, we meandered along the way enjoying the less hilly terrain and the shade…
It really was a beautiful day’s walk…
And then, we approached the outskirts of Melide…
You can’t see it very well but this GALACTEUM and their motto is “Rediscovering the Milky Way”. Clever dairy puns!
And just when we thought we were nearly there…
Doesn’t look like much but it’s a long hill. And it was actually about 2km to the centre of town which, when you’ve already walked well over 50km in the last 3 days feels more like 20!
But finally, we made it and eventually all of us made it (some of us needed a rest before tackling this final couple of km)
We took a poke around the supermarket and discovered an interesting local cheese…
Yes, this is “Tetilla” (breast”) cheese and it’s a Galician specialty! Also: delicious!
Another specialty of the region: Pulpo (octopus) and you’ll see these signs everywhere!
So as we had a little bit of extra time, having arrived at our destination earlier than on previous days, we spent the afternoon: buying shoes/ resting/ swimming (our pension had a pool!)/ researching dinner. Melide seemed as busy as Sarría in terms of tourists so we wanted to make sure we had a reservation (again, a party of 5 is much harder to manage as a walk-in as opposed to solo travellers or a couple).
I found reasonable reviews for O Recuncho do Convento and was able to make a “reservation” (I use this word lightly as noone asked us for proof but should we have needed it, I had confirmation!). It was busy the night we ate there (a huge youth group eating inside – we had a table outside on the terrace) but we had packed out patience and found the service to be very personable (and apologetic when there was a bit of a longer wait time) and they made sure we always had drinks and brought our appetisers quickly so we had nothing to complain about.
Top row left to right: Patatas bravas, Jamón Ibérico, Scallops, Sardines
Bottom row left to right: Fish, lamb, squid and… the pièce de résistance … “Crèma” (for the “ladies” – like Baileys) and “Hierbas” (for the men – a herbal liquer kind of like anis). We were not allowed to NOT have these drinks LOL!
A fabulous, relaxed meal with great service and drinks on a terrace watching the world go by – a perfect way to end a much easier day’s walking (with another shorter day ahead!).
Verdict: Absolutely did NOT regret breaking two days into three – sometimes you need to walk less and explore a little more!
Disclosure: I researched Camino trips independently and chose the Camino Travel Center based on a number of features such as flexibility to accommodate a couple of “splits” in some of the longer days, price, and customer service. They were, in fact, the first company I came across in my very first Google search and the one I ended up booking with. From the initial inquiry to the actual trips, they have been a pleasure to deal with and we have been very impressed with the service provided (bag transportation) and the accommodation choices. I was not compensated to write about this trip in any way but I love sharing companies and products I believe in with my readers. I couldn’t recommend the Camino Travel Center more and, in fact, we are all thinking about walking a DIFFERENT Camino in 2023!
Read more about the Camino de Santiago
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