Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Camino Day 2: Mercadoiro to Eirexe

Image Credit: http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es

Today's schedule
7:30am Wake up everyone
8:05am Everyone's out the door
9:37am We reached Portomarín
10:00am Breakfast at Pons Minea
10:46am Claudio market
11:00am Back on the Camino
11:42am Cow traffic jam
12:49pm Stopped for lunch at halfway point
1:07pm Team JEJ catch up
2:16pm Ice cream break
4:54pm Checked into Pensión Eirexe
5:15pm Team JEJ arrives
7:00pm Dinner
8:45pm Kids Watching Big Hero 6 movie

Distance covered: 23.98km/14.9mi
Mia's pedometer: 38,327 steps

I set the alarm for 7am again today but it was still dark so I let everyone sleep in an extra half hour before waking them up. Mia slept with me on my bunk last night and she kept me nice and warm. Her internal thermostat is set quite a bit higher than the rest of us.  The albergues are issuing a plastic packet containing a paper sheet and paper pillowcase. The problem is that they are very thin and fragile so they rip and pop off the mattress as you toss and turn. Our goal is to stay as far away from the bedbugs as possible. There are blankets on the foot of the bunks but I'm pretty sure that they are rarely washed so we drape them over the tops of our sleeping bags.

The plan today was to walk to Portomarín and eat breakfast there. We've been using a combination of the Camino Planner and a printed list of all the albergues along this section to plan where we can stop each night. The planner said it was approximately 5.8km to Portomarín which also happens to be the end of this "stage" of the Camino.
It only took about an hour and half to reach the town by crossing a bridge over the river and climbing up the stairs into town. We stopped at the first cafe we found for breakfast. These places confuse the heck out of me because you basically get two drinks and one piece of toast for a flat rate. Why two drinks? Everyone selected the fresh squeezed orange juice for the first round. The toast was the traditional barra bread cut in half and again lengthwise. Smothered with butter and marmalade, it was actually really good. I'm not sure that it was worth 4,95€ though. Our second round of drinks consisted of mint tea, coffee, or Cola Cao. We ran into the Canadian team having coffee on the terrace of the cafe as we headed out.

On our way out of town, we stopped by an ATM to pull 300€ out for expenses. Most of these places run on a cash only basis. We did a little shopping in the Claudio market and bought food stuff for snacks and lunch. Our idea being that it was easier to buy foods to eat and carry along instead of waiting for a cafe to pop up just at the right time. It is also easier on our budget considering that the kids aren't that interested in cafe meals and we'd like to save in the areas we can. The daily budget per person is 30€ per person so for a six person group, we are talking 180€ a day for potentially 10 days. We are estimating 10€ per night each on lodging, 5€ for breakfast, 5€ for lunch/drinks/treats, and 10€ for dinner.

  • 6 yogurts for ,30¢ each
  • bag of apples 
  • bag of bananas
  • honey roasted peanuts 1,51€
  • sunflower seeds ,90¢ 
  • liter of water ,70¢ 
  • half liter of yogurt drink 1,75€
  • bandaids 1,15€
  • Hello Panda cookie treats 1€
  • Tuna in sunflower oil 1,10€
  • Candy ,50¢
We filled up the water bladders in our backpacks and distributed the food between the different packs. We retraced our steps back down to the road to pick up our Camino again. As we came down the stairs, I asked a Spanish pilgrim, that we met last night in our albergue, if she would take a group picture for us. Since we've been walking in two different groups, it's difficult to get any group pictures with all 6 of us. I'm also the group photographer so I try to take as many pictures of us when we do gather for meals and the evenings.
We had a beautiful walk today with great weather. It's cool in the morning but when the sun comes out and starts shining, there is a little breeze so I am wearing an Under Armour tee and hoodie along with a Columbia hiking pant with built in skirt. We came around one corner in the trail and came across a bovine traffic jam. The old man was behind them herding but it is still a little unnerving as a lot of these cows have a set of horns on their head, not to mention, they outweigh us! Thankfully, they kept to their business and went right on by us with no hiccups. We found a beautiful viewpoint with a meadow on the side of the trail about the 12km mark and called it lunchtime. We laid our raincoats out on the grass and pulled out our foods. We ate fruit, crackers and Babybel, granola bars, nuts, you name it.
Team JEJ caught up with us while we were eating so we all rested together before heading out to finish the second half of today's hike. During our hike, Mia spotted the popsicle sign so we dropped our packs and picked out ice cream bars. José and I enjoyed the Magnum Almond bars while Mia picked out a cone. We didn't have to wait long for the rest of the family to catch up and get an ice cream too and add another stamp to our credencials.
We started to pull ahead of them and finished the day before they caught up. We arrived in the tiny little town of Eirexe and there are like three buildings here. I couldn't find the albergue that was on my list so I asked the four people sitting outside the restaurant. They pointed me in the direction of an albergue that had a different name on it. One of the ladies followed me back across to the albergue so that must have been the main meeting point for the town residents to gather at. When I stepped into the albergue, I noticed the sign that said no photocopies of documents allowed. I explained that Mom and Justin left their passports at our house and were carrying a copy but she wouldn't budge. I was bummed because it's a municipal albergue and they only charge 6€ a night which would have been a nice savings for our group. We walked next door to the private pensión and she accepted our ID's without any issues. We got a private room with its own bathroom for only 50€ with two sets of bunkbeds. There is only one restaurant in town and when we asked, they don't start serving dinner until 6:45pm so it was hang out in our room until then.
Promptly at dinner time, we showed back up in the restaurant and seated ourselves at a large table. The man behind the counter didn't even acknowledge us for the first 20 minutes but since he's the only option, it's not like we were going to get up and walk out or anything. We ordered drinks and then waited for our food to come. The kids all got hamburgers and they literally devoured them in a matter of seconds. I think Justin inhaled his which is shocking considering he isn't the eater in our family. We tried to do laundry when we got back to our room at 8:30pm but the old lady said it was too late, everyone was already asleep?! and it would take 2-3 hours to wash and dry. So we'll be wearing fragrant clothes for tomorrow's walk!

Expenses:
Bread 60¢
Gum 1,50€
Breakfast 29,70€
Claudio market 15.80€
Popsicles (6)  10.20€
Dinner at Bar Restaurante Ligonde 47.90
Pensión Eirexe 50€
Total Daily Expenses:  155,70€

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