Ligonde to Melide
Third Day of Walking the Last 100 km to Santiago
Elevation: 383.32 meters up + 554.53 meters down
Our sweet host from Casa Roan snapped a quick photo of us on the beginning of this day. Clearly, we weren’t quite in formation but he had places to be and things to do, so this is what we got. I kind of love that his shadow is in the picture as well.
You can tell we are in good spirits starting off on this day, and that the day was already turning out to be beautiful!
We headed down the road in the sunshine, making our way from Ligonde to Melide.
Our mileage was up on this day from the previous one, so I kind of pushed us on without stops for the first few hours.
It was pretty easy going and the countryside views were lovely.
By now everyone had adjusted their packs to only what they really needed or wanted to carry.
And a couple folks had even decided to try going without packs altogether.
Because we stopped so often for drinks and snacks, you could actually almost get by without carrying anything.
Especially if you were willing to tie your jacket around your waist.
We followed lots of green, mossy lanes throughout the morning.
The trees provided some shade from the sun, so this day was mostly was easy walking.
Because we had stopped for the night well before Palas de Rei the previous day, we were sort of out of step with most of the other pilgrims.
So we seemed to have the trails all to ourselves.
We reached Palas de Rei around 11, and we made a quick stop at a church.
It was Sunday, so services were letting out and the doors will still open.
My friend, Mary Ann, who is a nurse, has worked throughout the entire pandemic in hospitals.
I was so grateful she joined us on the Camino, as we have walked some trails together in Scotland while both our husbands were at the University of Aberdeen.
You could often catch her on this trip lighting a candle in a church. She was the first of us to notice if a church was open, so we could go in and get our pilgrim’s passports stamped. And maybe pause and say a prayer or light a candle before going on our way.
After the church, we walked through a Sunday market in the town square of Palas de Rei, but then I encouraged everyone to keep moving through the town and onward because I wanted to stop at a place I had remembered from my first Camino, Casa Domingo.
We’d had such a lovely big breakfast at Casa Roan that it was easy to get everyone to walk a little further before stopping.
Besides, like I said, this day had very little uphill and the kilometers seemed to be easily flowing by.
Everyone had gotten spread out but we all met back up at Casa Domingo for a good long rest around noon.
They have such gorgeous space, inside and out, at Casa Domingo, and it seemed like we had it all to ourselves.
The rest of the pilgrims of the day had already come and gone, but there were still coffees and pastries, which were as good as I remembered.
We had the classic almond Tarta de Santiago.
And they even made fresh Spanish tortilla de patatas for us, which came out warm and delicious.
Sometimes a rest is that much sweeter because you have waited longer for it.
I think I enjoyed this stop every bit as much as I did in 2015, and I bought extras of their yummy cookies for the road.
We did finally move along, wanting to get to Melide at a decent hour.
Everyone spread out on the trail through the afternoon.
Again, the day was just gorgeous, which made some folks want to push on and keep walking.
And for others, there were too many things to stop and see for hurrying.
And that’s ok. That is the way the Camino is.
Everyone walks it at their own pace.
I was at the back with Mary Ann and a couple other gals.
We made a stop for ice cream, and for the bathroom.
And then we stopped again to buy some Camino necklaces from a lady that was selling them outside in a village.
And between each stop, we passed more forests and eucalyptus trees.
We saw pilgrim statues and fun seashell markers.
I love to see where villages and homeowners have embraced the Camino by decorating with the symbols and signs of the trail.
When the Camino first came into being, it brought “the world” to these small villages.
And with the resurgence in popularity in the last 20 years, the Camino is bringing the world to villages in Spain again.
Old buildings are being restored and turned into hotels and albergues.
Every time I come, more places have opened to welcome pilgrims, which is so fun to see.
The pandemic certainly created a big pause in the swell of pilgrims walking, but pilgrims are returning and though they are being cautious (masks are obligatory everywhere), hosts seem excited to be receiving pilgrims again.
We weren’t sure we were going to get to take this trip, but now here we were already on our third day of walking!
Some of the girls texted around 3pm that they had made it to the outskirts of Melide (to Furelos) and were stopping for a beer, so those of us in the back rushed on ahead to reach them.
We crossed an old medieval bridge on our way and a water fountain, but soon enough we made it to the cafe where our friends were.
It was about 3:30pm so we were just in time for round two.
The bar overlooked the bridge and the village of Furelos, and you could see Melide in the distance. We were close!
After our drink and a rest, we walked the last couple of kilometers into town and reached our hotel for the night.
It wasn’t exactly hot outside, but we were still excited about our hotel having a salt water pool.
The water was freezing, but we all gathered around the pool and soaked our feet and legs in the water.
Five of us braved the water and jumped all the way in for the benefit we knew it would be to our sore muscles.
Then everyone ran for hot showers and naps until dinner.
Melide is a little bit bigger town than we had been in the previous nights, and some of the other Camino routes start joining this one here and in the next town ahead, so there are a few more pilgrims.
Melide is also famous for the local specialty, Octopus or pulpa, so we found a Pulperia for dinner that night.
Everyone at least tried a bite of the local octopus, and then we also ordered up our usual plates of peppers and meats and cheese and salads. Most of us ordered soup after our cold dip in the pool.
After dinner, we went up the street to a cafe that had artisanal ice cream.
It was super yummy. I can’t remember what everyone else got, but I had pistachio and it was divine.
We decided we would come back to the cafe the next morning for breakfast. Then we walked back to our rooms, ready for sleep. I think I was asleep in about five minutes on this night, my head and heart filled with the memories of another great day on the Camino.
PS. I am already planning to return to the Europe in 2022! So if reading about the Camino is making you wish you could hop the next flight, sign up here for updates about when and where I’m going next.