breakfast at apartment touristico porto de bois camino frances accommodation

Day 3 On The Camino Frances. Palas De Rei To Arzua

It is still dark at 7:20am when I join Jorge for breakfast. My night as the only guest at the villa went well. No Japanese spirits tried to kill me and I feel refreshed and ready for food. Today’s hike on the Camino Frances covers Palas de Rei to Arzua.

This is my first breakfast since I left home. For a pilgrim, this is a feast: there are different jams, fruit, cakes, orange juice, fresh hot croissants, hot chocolate, a whole cheese, and a meat platter. Will I manage to eat all of this? Have to!

Jorge joins me and shares his stories from the Camino including his own pilgrimages to Santiago. He’s done it three times so far! I’m impressed and admire his pilgrim passports which are full of colourful sellos. Of course, Jorge stamps my passport to document my stay at his guesthouse.

I really enjoy breakfast and have a great view over the Camino which passes the villa. The first people are already on the hike! Sometimes this walk feels like a race. Before I leave the villa, Jorge has kindly organised a local luggage transfer for me. A bit sceptical, I leave my backpack behind. Fed, well-rested, and a couple of kilos lighter I can start my day.

Jorge organised a local luggage transport for me. Here are their details: Mochilas David Transporte (Tel: 659 08 45 51), local, 3EUR per day

With the sunrise at 8:30am, I’m ready to leave and as the day before, the Camino is busy. I join straight into a pack of chatty pilgrims and get carried away with them. The next two hours are very productive. I make great progress as the landscape is flat and allows a smooth hike.

Today’s stage on the Camino Frances Palas de Rei to Arzua will cover 30km.

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camino frances pilgrim statue between palas de reis and arzua
Pilgrime statue between Palas de Reis and Arzua
camino frances outside melide
Outside Melide

Melide Calling! First stop on the Camino Frances Palas de Rei to Arzua

I pass through medieval villages, local chapels and cross-arched stone bridges. After a hike through an autumnal forest, I take my first break in the outskirts of Melide. I help pilgrims with their pictures in front of the picturesque stone bridge in Furelos. Then I get chosen again. This time by a friendly Colombian, who travels with me for a short while. Together we check out Furelos and its charming chapel San Xoán.

pilgrim outside chapel on the camino frances
Outside a chapel and still dry
furelos bridge outside melide camino frances
Having a break and giving my battered feet a rest
furelos village on the camino frances
A grim day on the Camino Frances

Furelos goes over into Melide, which turns out to be a small town! It has to be as two routes, the Camino Frances (the busiest) and Camino Primitivo (the oldest), join together. Naturally, the place is packed with pilgrims. The Camino leads straight into the centre. I walk past the Galician restaurant Pulpería Ezequiel on a corner with a bald-headed guy who tries to sell me Octopus.

I tell him politely that I can’t have any seafood and could end up in hospital. I’m on a mission and need to keep going. I do see the Colombian and some other familiar pilgrim faces resting at the restaurant and grinning from ear to ear when they see me. But hats off to the restaurant guy. His sales strategy does work. I could do with a little snack so for “lunch” I drop into a small supermarket and get some Mikado. The sugar from the chocolate is nice and I head straight to the church of St Peter.

The church is open but there’s no one to stamp my passport. Anyway, just when I enter the building, it starts pouring. It was forecasted, so I’m prepared and get my raincoat and trousers out of my tote bag. The church is quiet and warm, so I take a longer break in the hope the rain might stop. It doesn’t and shortly after 12pm, I get restless and want to get moving.

Oh, It’s A Rainy Day On The Camino De Frances!

I leave Melide behind. The rain is a constant and even drizzle. The kind of drizzle you know won’t stop for the rest of the day. It’s ok, I’ve dressed appropriately and I march mindlessly ahead. Outside of town, the Camino splits and there’s the choice between a shorter, but uphill route (Primitivo) or a longer but flat route (Frances).

I decide on the first option as it leads through the forest of Ficheiro and the highlight is to cross a stone bridge over the stream Catasol. Two Germans have been around me for a while – mother and daughter. We talk for a bit but I can sense they aren’t keen on having me around. They hike ahead fast and ditch me at the next opportunity.

forest of ficheiro and stone bridge over catasol camino frances
Forest of Ficheiro and the little stone bridge leading over the water

For the rest of the day, I travel alone. It rains silently and gradually. The Camino goes through leafy forests, and there are long periods in which I meet absolutely no one. Even the villages seem to be dead. There are a few hills up and down but not as challenging as the days before, or maybe I have the impression because I travel without a backpack and Carole’s walking stick is a blessing.

At around 1:30pm-ish, I pass through Boente, a little village, and get told Arzua is only 8km – a 2h hike- away. Excellent! After that, the rain gets heavier though. I keep walking through the settlement Ribadiso which has a lovely Roman bridge. After that, it’s uphill again.

village boente with chapel on the camino frances
Boente village – only 8km to go!
ribadiso with roman stone bridge on the camino frances
Ribadiso village with its Roman stone bridge

About an hour later, after managing that steep hill, I make a stop at a horrible cafe. There weren’t many cafes around today so I make a very quick stop to have some ice cream. The place is a bit shabby, unfriendly and there’s a loud group of Irish pilgrims getting hammered on wine. As soon as I sit down I can feel it. I’m damp. My rain trousers are non-breathable so they’ve created this horrible sweaty climate in between my running leggings. I feel very uncomfortable.

The Low Point Of My Pilgrimage Is Here

Grumpy, I continue my hike. Unfortunately from here, it is pretty much all downhill for me. I can deal with rain, I can deal with challenging hills, I can survive my feet which have gone into stiff mode again – BUT there’s nothing more in the world that I despise than being soaked.

It gets worse with every step I move forward. I sly through a forest and I’m on the lookout for somewhere to sit. There’s no stone fence or any other opportunity so at one point I resign and sit down on the side of the forest ground which looks reasonably dry. Within seconds the rain trousers soak up the water and I’m wet through the trousers, my leggings, and my underwear. GREAT!

camino frances pilgrimage hike from palas de reis to arzua
Today’s terrain & challenge: mostly uphill and it is pouring

Wet and cold, I drag myself along the final kilometers to Arzua. It is horrible. I’m so fed up it is best if I don’t talk to anyone and end the day pretty much as soon as. Arzua is a long stretched settlement and it takes forever to reach the small tourist information in the village’s centre.

A few days ago I received a message on Expedia from my host tonight, but it’s in Spanish and I really don’t fancy sorting this out right now. Luckily the girl at the Tourist Information is super helpful. I’m grateful that she translates for me and calls my host as instructed per his message.

Ending The Day At Casa Lucas In Arzua: Stage 3 Of The Camino Is Done

At 4pm, I get picked up by an elderly man called Lucas and he’s very friendly. I try hard to get a conversation going but it doesn’t help that I’m still soaked and cold. Lucas takes me to his guesthouse, again a beautiful converted Galician villa in the middle of nowhere, located by a lake with spectacular views.

His guesthouse is a family-run business and his daughter deals with all the admin side. I’d say she’s in her early 20s, super nice and she speaks fluent English. She checks me in and allocates a beautiful little room across the courtyard. Their dog, a huge shepherd’s mix, follows me around. I feel instantly safe and a bit better after having a cuddle. My backpack has also arrived and is waiting for me in my room.

My Camino Frances Accommodation
My checkpoint for today’s stage on the Camino Frances Palas de Rei to Arzua was Casa Lucas*.
*Unfortunately no longer in business. Updated December 2023.

casa lucas arzua camino frances lakeside pension
The stunning lakeside by Casa Lucas

I head straight for the shower. The hot steaming water feels soooo good. Afterwards, I lie on my bed. It’s only 5pm! The room is small but very pretty with lovely features that make the place homey. Lucas will drop me off in the morning in Arzua and I’m happy I’m staying again with friendly locals. A group of hikers which I’ve seen a few times on the Camino has also just arrived. They will join me in the morning for the trip back to Arzua.

I prepare for tomorrow’s route and text Carole & Denise to check in if they are ok. Carole replies back they made it to Arzua and stay at the modern San Fransisco Albergue. We agree to meet up in the morning and travel together, which makes me happy and looking forward to tomorrow. It is early evening but I’m glad I’m no longer out on the Camino. It still pours down heavily and will do so for the rest of the night. I’m warm and comfy, and feeling myself again, although earlier I had massive doubts about myself.

casa lucas arzua camino frances accommodation
Casa Lucas, my accommodation on the Camino Frances for tonight

Back on the Camino when I was wet and grumpy, I felt this hike was a challenge too big for me, I was that fed up. I’m not trained in hiking at all. Sure, I do my occasional 10km runs in London and try to pick up ice skating again, but in general, I’ve never been a sporty girl (and I have an autoimmune disease that restricts me a little) so doing this pilgrimage is quite intense for me.

Luckily I’m warm now and even my emergency pasta pot tastes rather nice. I hiked another 26km – well it was supposed to be 33km today if I hadn’t “cheated” with yesterday’s taxi ride to Jorge’s guesthouse.

I have it comfy and I will see Carole & Denise tomorrow.

I’m good now.

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Till next time,

You might also like my other adventures on the Camino de Frances:

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  • Reply
    3 May 2022 at 6:08 pm

    Great read. I felt your pain and discomfort as I’ve been in similar circumstances. It all pails when you then achieve something and its the bigger goal of completing the walk and being able to look back on it as a huge accomplishment, despite the pitfalls. I love that you put your emotions and feelings into the written piece. It feels more human and we get a true feeling for your journey. I’m like you, not an experienced hiker, so have great admiration for you . Looking forward to reading more on this!

  • Reply
    8 May 2022 at 10:48 am

    Totally agree with you, there’s nothing worse than being soaked when walking! Sorry to hear about your challenges but well done on carrying on and good luck for the rest of your journey.

  • Reply
    10 May 2022 at 10:12 am

    I wonder as I read this if you had a personal mantra that you silently say to yourself when things get hard. I like you can walk a little in the rain, especially if dressed for it, but then there comes a point when you are soaked to the core like you were that you just want to give up. What keeps you going I wonder. Can’t wait to read your next chapter.

  • Reply
    14 May 2022 at 4:40 pm

    I’m living for your Camino trail posts right now, getting all the inspiration. This day sounded rough, I’ve been there, the days when you just can’t get dry or warm are the worst. It makes you feel more miserable and defeated than walking twice as long on a dry day. The villa stays sound really good though, and the luggage service had to have been a nice perk

  • Reply
    JoJo Hall
    15 May 2022 at 8:22 pm

    Awesome post and I hear you, hiking in the rain and being soaked is not a fun time! But I’m glad to see you made it to your next point and I cannot wait to read more about your adventure!

  • Reply
    Vic and Gus
    4 June 2022 at 10:55 pm

    Love these story and jealous of your time on the camino! Rain walking/hiking is never fun but sometimes its the crazy stories that make you remember them the most!

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