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  • Writer's picturemvsetiawan

Journey to Vigo

Updated: Jun 14

Making my way to start the Camino - Part I

Apr 22-23, 2024

Barcelona - Madrid - Vigo

When I decided to do the Camino de Santiago, I did some research and finally decided that I would do the route from Portugal, or better known as the Camino Portugues. And I knew I’m only going to be walking the last 100km+ of it to meet the requirements for getting the Compostela.

With all that information, I learned that the city to start my journey is the town of Tui, located in the border of Spain and Portugal.

The journey to Tui was not a straightforward one, especially from the last big city I was in: Barcelona.

After doing some research, I learned that there was no train that went straight to Tui. The nearest town where the train would stop is Vigo and from there I would have to find other means of transport, whether taxi or a bus.

There is an overnight train that would go from Barcelona straight to Vigo, but that would take a slow approach.

I decided to make an overnight transit in Madrid instead so that I could sleep in a bed instead of sitting on a train seat.

The next morning, starting from Madrid, I had to begin the journey in the 4°C quiet dark pre-sunrise early morning to get myself to the Chamartin train station. From there I would take the Renfe Alvia train to Vigo. The journey would take about 4 plus hours.

Madrid at 5 am in the morning as I made my way to the train station

Getting onto the fast speed train that would take me to Vigo.

Luckily, getting to the Chamartin station and the process of onboarding was pretty easy.

The fast train began its journey and off I went to get myself to the starting town of my Camino. We passed by some beautiful scenery along the way and I was just thankful to be there.

However, at about 2/3 of the journey, the train started to stop and slow down a lot.

Soon, there was an announcement on the overhead speaker. With my very basic level of Spanish, I tried to catch what it was saying, which was not easy since the speaker was very soft and had a very crackly noise. But it seemed as if the train was having some issues and at some point all the passengers had to switch trains.

I tried to ask the lady next to me in my broken Spanish but she just shrugged her shoulder and said that she didn’t hear what the announcement said.

Worries started to flood me as now it seems that there was a change in the route from what was supposed to be direct and easy journey. However, I tried to stay calm since the train was still moving forward and there was nothing anyone could do.

As the train continued with a slower speed, another announcement crackled over the loudspeaker. Straining my ears one more time, I made a guess that now the announcement was asking the passengers to just stay on the same train. But I wasn’t sure. The lady sitting next to me had moved to the seat in front so I couldn’t confirm it with her.

We finally made it to a station and I saw almost everyone got up and took their luggage. “Here we go,” I thought, “now what do I do? Do I stay or do I leave?”.

My train cart was almost empty except for a few people who seemed as confused as I was. I needed answer and I started to walk towards the cart behind and saw a young Spanish guy. “Ah, as young person! He must speaks English,” I thought. I came up to him and asked whether he does and I was right.

Upon asking what’s happening, he seemed to get the same information as I got that the passengers were to stay on board. But soon after, one of his friends went out of the train to ask one of the workers and confirmed that we all had to switch train. Finally, a clarity! I quickly picked up my luggage and moved over to the other train.

Seated on the other train, I breathed a little easier. Who knows the first 3 hours of my journey was already full of adventures! The train started moving and we made our final approach to Vigo. Although I got some peace, in my head, my brain was still running through the next step I had to take once I reached Vigo.

(Continue to part 2 of the journey in "From Vigo to Tui")

One of the beautiful views along the way as we approached Vigo

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