A Rainy Walk Between Caldas de Reis and Padrón (Day Eight)
Today we went hiking in the rain between Caldas de Reis and Padrón. This is the eighth day of our pilgrimage. We had been lucky, as the previous days had been splendid, but we knew that Galicia is one of the rainiest regions in Spain, making it humid and green.
An hour before dawn, before leaving the hostel, we dedicated much time to our foot care routine. Massages, stretching, Vaseline, warm cream, blister prevention patches, toe socks, and the latest technology: silver-threaded socks (we’re not exactly sure what they are or how they work, but we wear them anyway). So far, we remain blister-free, but our feet do require extra attention.
The day we had not yet fully broken when we finished getting dressed and packing our backpacks. We left the hostel and walked to the neighborhood bakery, where the same customers gathered daily. I felt I was in a movie set: The gentleman with a cast from recent surgery, the neighbor complaining about the weather, the waitress who comes over to assist the elderly man while carefully adjusting his hat like a caring mother, and the baker who steps out to complain that his coffee is always cold.
After trying the pastries, cakes, bread, and churros, we prepared to start our hike. Just as we were about to leave, it started to rain!
Encountering the Rain
We had to return to put on our waterproof gear: pants, gaiters, jackets, hats, gloves, ponchos and covers for our bulky backpacks. We could hardly move when we finished due to the discomfort and laughter. Eventually, we grew accustomed to the layers we wore and began walking more freely. We spent the entire day under a persistent but not very heavy rain, which delicately deposited glistening drops on the grass and leaves.
What are the “hórreos”?
Along the Way, I came across some structures whose purpose needed to be clarified. They looked like tiny, elevated chapels, very narrow, without doors or windows, raised on stone pillars. Initially, I thought they might have some religious function because almost all had crosses on the roof. But what could they be? When I encountered someone who seemed to be from the region, I asked him. He told me they were “hórreos” to store corn. He didn’t provide further explanations. I tried to write down a name he couldn’t spell.
I wanted to search for them, and Google understood what I wanted. The name magically appeared alongside an image. A “hórreo” is a construction designed to store and preserve food away from moisture and animals, keeping it in an optimal state for consumption. It is raised on pillars to prevent rodents from entering and allows for ventilation through slots in the side walls.
Although similar structures are found in ancient African and Arab cultures, they appear to have been built in the Iberian Peninsula since Roman times. This old painting depicts their use since the Middle Ages. (Hórreo. (2023, June 7). In
A Place to Rest for Pilgrims
The best moments we lived were in the small cafes and inns where we didn’t just have a cup of tea to warm up, but above all. We connected with the locals who were always interested in our origin and story. In turn, they shared their anecdotes with us and offered us handicrafts they made with their own hands. Those beautiful moments were the best experiences that I cherish in my memory.
How Far Have We Walked?
We are nearing the end of our journey, and so far, we have been averaging 20 to 25 kilometers per day, burning between 1500 and 2000 calories each day (according to reliable data from my companions). The weight of the backpacks is the most challenging aspect of the journey, but it also gives us the flexibility to walk as far as we want without having to adhere to a predetermined schedule.
The last kilometers are always the hardest as time seems to stand still, and the kilometers stretch out. We arrived at the town of Padrón at dusk, hungry and tired. We had a Spanish tortilla, and the house wine served in white porcelain cups.