Plaza del Autobus Tourismo- that MUST be where I am!
That HAS to be where I am as hoards of humanity scurry by my table, determined to catch their bus lest it leave them behind. Currently I see five busses waiting to gather their inhabitants and continue on down the road to the next site...wherever that may be.
As for me, I have arrived in Vigo after a simple walk of appx. 20 km. Baiona to Vigo via the old Camino route for the first 2 kilometers, until I crossed the river at Ramallosa -on a pedestrian bridge which is considered to be one of the finest Roman bridges in Galicia!
And then, because I simply didn’t want a 28km day, I opted to walk the PR 522, which actually was a grand choice. 20 km. To the same destination. That works!
Plenty of cafes along the way as I passed through Nigran and on to smaller roadside villages. Although a major thoroughfare connecting Baiona to Vigo, a pedestrian path, augmented by actual sidewalks through the towns, made for a safe and easy crossing. At the high points the sea peeked through off to my left….hazy in the foggy mist, but there, visible to this searching set of eyes.
And then….Vigo. This is the largest port in the country of Spain ( according to my chatty cabbie...more about that later). I internally question if it really beats out Barcelona, but opted for
“ Ohhhh, si? Numero Uno en Espana? Wow!” He was pleased.
So, why a chatty cabbie? Well, the PR 522 was a perfect pathway to Vigo UNTIL about 2km outside of the city limits ( felt like I had been within the city for at LEAST 2k by then). At about 2km to go, according to plentiful road signs, yellow arrows appeared pointing me to the right , off the main road. As I saw the expanse of major metropolis before me, I decided it was simply the easy way to bypass much of the port area, and I followed. I have trusted the arrows..follow them now!
Down a side street and around a bend and soon I was walking under a major freeway viaduct...a freeway I had yet to see from my safe haven of the PR522. For the first time in many, many days the path following the arrows did not feel ‘right’. Yellow arrows marked the way….yet my head said "Nope!”
What if this is the marker that bypasses Vigo and heads straight toward Redondel-…..tomorrow’s walk? . I promptly did an about face and trekked myself back to the safety of the PR522….. Which, of course, now showed NO yellow arrows for guidance.
Just this morning I was laughing at the situation: 59 years old, traveling solo through Portugal and Spain, on a path traversed for centuries by pilgrims. Not once have I felt unsafe, uncertain...jumpy at the noises of nature in the brush when in the forest, or cars and people whizzing past when on a roadway….I have felt safe and secure in my pilgrimage.
Vigo, something about it had been tugging at my brain for the last couple weeks. I have had no desire to walked through Vigo; no desire to see anything it has to offer ( although as a true pilgrim to Santiago it is on my way and deserves its due course). And here I was on the near edge, looking toward a sprawling metropolis before me and I did it….I ducked Into a cafe and politely asked the young lady if she would call me a cab, showing her my destination in the Casco of Vigo. Chuckles from a couple older gentlemen at the bar...not sure what that was about….but within five minutes I was ensconced in a cab with a polite, rather grungy looking, chatty cabbie who brought me right to the door of Hostal Real on Calle Real, Vigo.
I am two hours ahead of my pre determine arrival time and no one is at the Hostal….and the Hostal looks scary….one star on the sign scary. Hummmmm, just under a number 8 rating on bookings.com…..well, it IS old town, and I know buildings in old town can look VERY scary from the outside and yet house a lovely home away from home. Since no one is available to meet me, I place a call ( thank you young Spaniards from Vodaphone for getting me hooked up here in Spain) and reach the hostess.
I am early she politely informs me. I had said 2 PM and my room will not be ready until then. Can I please come back?
Fair enough..I have been in this business for a hundred years and know how it works. She is right...I need to kill a little time.
Ergo, here I am at Plaza del Autobus Tourismo, my cerveca and slice of quite yummy tortilla Espanola, keeping me company while I watch the tourists wander back to their busses.
And, I am waiting to see if Hostal Real will meet its mark or , if outside scary is matched by Iinterior scary…..SO hoping to find a little slice of heaven behind these doors!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ UPDATE ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HOSTAL REAL, FOR E18 FOR A PRIVATE ROOM W SHARED BATH IS PERFECTLY FINE!