The second part of our holiday in Galicia was spent in Pontevedra – about half way between Santiago de Compostela and the Portuguese border to the south; it's on the coast at the end of a Ria (a long, deep sea inlet) which shelters it from the Altantic Ocean.
The people of Pontevedra have 'hanging out in squares' down to a fine art! Young and old, they're all there for morning coffee or a lunch time bottle of wine . . .
a cup of thick hot chocolate in the afternoon and for beer and tapas in the evening . . .
or just to sit in the sunshine and chat with old friends . . .
Peeping at the people in the squares below is the pretty little Peregrina chapel; the story is that Mary the mother of Jesus came on pilgrimage to the tomb of St James at Santiago, she stopped along the route from the south at Pontevedra and blessed the town. The chapel's ground-plan is in the shape of a scallop shell – the symbol of the Santiago pilgrims – and inside, above the altar, stands the figure of the Virgin of the Pilgrims dressed in her wide brimmed hat and wearing a dark blue velvet cloak embroidered with stars.
The weather was good, just right for a good long walk in the country; we decided to head south to find the pilgrim route that leads eventually to Portugal and although we weren't sure of the extract path out of town, Cliff was confident that he could sniff out the path!
Once we'd navigated around the railway tracks and the tangled knot of a motorway/road junction, we found the clue we were looking for . . .
Once you've got you're radar tuned to the yellow arrows then the scallop shells can't be far away . . .
We knew we were definitely on track when we came upon this road-side crucifix, wearing a cloak and pilgrim's hat.
Our reward was sun and views over the distant hills rising to the Iberian border country.
And eventually a view of the next Ria. We sat down and ate a ripe peach, perched on the granite outcrop surrounded with heather and listened to the sound of someone playing the Galician bagpipes in the village of Paredes, far below.
We turned back and returned to Pontevedra, walking along the sunny lanes bright with willow trained in arches that sprout bright orange stems ready for the basket makers.
Returning to to the buzzing squares of the town via the lower, meandering river-side route which took us right into the centre and our comfortable apartment.
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