Celtic Fairyland, a Michelin Chef, and the Women of Galicia (Day 5: Caldas de Reis to Padron)

5 Takeaways from our last 2 Days on the Portuguese Camino (Redondela to Pontevedra, Spain; Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis)
July 22, 2021
The Final Push to Santiago (Day 6)
July 24, 2021
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Celtic Fairyland, a Michelin Chef, and the Women of Galicia (Day 5: Caldas de Reis to Padron)

Once again our friends at Follow The Camino had placed us at a wonderful lodging called Hotel Chef Rivera in Pádron, Galicia. Madame Pirriette from France and her husband, the renowned cook, José Antonio Rivera, aka Chef Rivera, run the place and as I gifted them a pair of my books, they gifted us his cooking book in return. Their sons, Alejandro, also a cook, and Richard with Galicia Tourism, round out the family. Richard at one time was a consultant for Martin Sheen on a scouting trip to Santiago for the movie The Way.

Señora Rosa and Perla

Leaving Caldas de Reis we soon entered this Celtic Fairyland of leafy green forests of moss and lichen, babbling brooks and the chirping of hidden birds.

It is hard not to notice the women of Galicia. We came into contact with four different women of various ages toiling on their small but fertile plots of earth–one digging out potatoes, another cutting wood, still another on a mini-tractor and a fourth feeding the horse. They are strong, marvelous women who are the backbone of this land.

We chatted with Señora Rosa, an elderly woman, who was being playfully led about by her St. Bernard dog, Perla. A recent widow, she talked about raising her children and four cows, about losing her husband and her daughter’s cancer.

“I fell into a depression. I don’t cry anymore but it hurts.”

Yet she continues to eke out a meager existence. These women left a profound impression and we thought about them often during the mostly gentle 12-mile stage.

Oh yes, somewhere along this bucolic stage, we observed a strange sight, that of a wild boar outfitted with real tusks moving about a resident’s enclosure. However, this boar appeared to be tamed!

We are now within one day of reaching our goal—Santiago de Compostela, Spain. 🙏

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