Tivo, Spain — August 18, 2017

Again I am writing with Microsoft Word in the hope of uploading this blog entry later this morning at a café on the way. There is theoretically Internet access here at the Cartro Canos Café y Albergue in Tivo, but it is so slow as to be unusable. I can barely access the blog site, and uploading pictures or writing is impossible. I would like to catch up on the Trump news, but the connection is too slow for even that.

[Later, I was, however, able to follow the terrible terrorist attacks in and near Barcelona.]

I cycled directly north on the N550 highway yesterday. I left Redondela at about 8:30 am after breakfasting and updating my blog at a café across the highway from the hostel. When I started cycling, the light was still not very bright, but I had a blinking taillight and was able to cycle on the highway’s shoulder almost the whole way. The street was narrow in Redondela and again in Pontevedra, where I arrived at about 10:30. Pntevedra would have been a sensible place to stop for a pilgrim on foot, but of course, on the bike I make a lot better time.

About halfway to Pontevedra, I crossed a bridge where I stopped and snapped the following picture. I wish I could tell you the name of the river, but without reliable Internet access I cannot look it up.

Leaving Pontevedra, I passed a DIA supermarket, one of the biggest chains in Spain, where I bought two bananas and some chocolate croissants for second breakfast. As I sat on the curb of the parking lot eating, and old man passed carrying his basket of groceries to his car. ¿Alemán? he asked me. German? I told him I was from the USA, and he said I looked light skinned like a German. Are Germans lighter skinned than the rest of us of European descent? One thing I like about Spain is that, being fluent in Spanish, I can gossip with all the locals along the way.

Some enterprising locals make a business of setting up a temporary café along the Camino and selling refreshments and snacks to the pilgrims. The pilgrims are grateful for the break. Of course, everyone who wants the pilgrims’ business offers to stamp the pilgrim passport, the document that is required to stay in the pilgrim’s hostels and which will get you a certificate of having completed the Camino when you reach Santiago if you have at least two stamps in it for each day that you walked the final 100 kilometers. Businesses along the way are grateful for the requirement.

Here’s a picture of the awning of a sandwich shop that I passed. I was struck by the name, O’Peereio. If the O in front of the name looks a bit Irish, it’s because the Galician region of Spain was settled by Celts, even if the modern Galician language is derived from Latin

Usually, the path that the pilgrims on foot walked was away from the highway, but there were times when they were forced to share the shoulder with me and my bike. The pilgrims in the following picture had just crossed the highway to the opposite shoulder. A bit further on, they left the highway on a cobblestone path to the left.

Below is a picture of the hostel where I am staying. If it looks like it’s way out in the country, I suppose that it once was. However, this little village of Tivo is surrounded by the sprawl that extends from the nearby town of Caldas de Reis, even though the latter reportedly only has about 7,000 inhabitants.

After I showered and changed clothes, I thought I’d better wash some clothes. When I asked where to do it, I was told in Spanish, “Here we wash the traditional way, out in the fountain in the hamelt’s square.”Here’s a picture of my laundry spread out ready to wash including my Arizona State University cycling jersey.

To anyone thinking of following in my wheel tracks, I say that cycling in Spain is very safe. There are rare exceptions, but for the most part, Spanish drivers are very respectful of cyclists and their right to the road. Big semi trucks will pull way to the left to pass a cyclist, and if there isn’t room to do that, they will slow down and patiently drive behind you at your pace until it is safe to pass. I wish I could say the same about Arizona motorists.