Thursday, May 9, 2013 -- Pontevedra to Caldas da ReisWe left town at around 07h00 and had a very nice walk over the Puente del Burgo and through the deserted town of Santa Maria de Alba. We passed quite a few interesting old hórreos along the way. In San Amaro, we took a break at the Cafe Don Pulpo and got our pilgrim passports stamped. I went over to another bar in town and got their stamp as well but it took up four spaces on my credencial. I thought I was catching up with everyone but I actually got myself lost for about 20 mintues. I was fine with that since I was enjoying the beautiful countryside. The fields were either overcome with bright yellow flowers or lush with green vineyards. Near a small town called Tivo I came across the 50km marker and used the timer on my camera to get these photos. I was the last of our group to reach Caldas da Reis. This is the first place you see before entering the town. It is called the Igreja de Santa María. Caldas da Reis is famous for its thermal waters. Today, the town still benefits from its waters as a major health spa. This is just one of the free thermal fountains in the town. Many pilgrims like to stop and soak their feet here--we just stopped long enough to see how hot it was. Everyone was waiting at the Cafe Thermas across the bridge. A nice old lady on the street saw that we were having some problems finding our hotel and attempted to show us the way. We thought she was very funny because it was obvious that we couldn't speak her language but she felt compelled to talk to us as if we understood. Once again, we called ahead to make reservations at a place called the Hotel Lotus. At 15 Euros per person, the accomodations were very comfortable. The toilet in our room was not working but I played around with the handle and finally got it to flush. I was also pretty tired so I took a nap. About an hour later, the others woke me up and I joined them to explore the town. This is the main church in the city called the Igreja de Santo Tomás Becket. It was built in 1890 from the stone salvaged from the medieval castle where Alphonso VII was born. It seemd to me to be the most active part of the city because there were many people hanging out in cafes around the palm-covered park. After some window shopping at the Chinese Bazaar we all went back to the Cafe Thermas and ate pulpo and drank a few beers. Later that evening we found a restaurant that served a pilgrim meal for only 8 Euros. Charly, Tommy and I found this outdoor spa later int he evening and took some time to soak our feet. The 40 degree water was so soothing I could have stayed in all night.