Stage 3. Redondela-Pontevedra
We continue our journey, and we are now on our way to the province capital of Pontevedra. We will start off in Redondela, the town of viaducts, and after passing the railway bridge we will go down to the Baroque Chapel of Santa Mariña. Our steps will take us to Cesantes, from where we will enjoy an excellent view of the Island of San Simón.
The beach of this parish, which gets really crowded in the summer, is very close to the island, and from its seaside promenade we will see the Rande Bridge in the distance, linking together the shore of Vigo and Redondela with the shore of the O Morrazo region.
In Cesantes we will see another statue associated with Jules Verne's novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, in this case in the middle of the ría (a coastal inlet), as a tribute to Captain Nemo. This set of sculptures is partially covered by high tide. In this world-literature classic, Nemo goes to the bay to recover the legendary treasure that sank during the bloody naval Battle of Vigo Bay. In spring and in summer you can visit the Island of San Simón, whose history we have succinctly outlined, and which we can get to know in depth at the interpretive centre.
The Cove of San Simón, with the Rande Bridge at the entrance and the mouth of the River Verdugo in the background, is a natural space of great value. It is part of the Natura 2000 network as a Site of Community Importance, just like other places that we have passed. Bivalve molluscs are grown here, and we can sight different species of aquatic birds.
We will continue our journey from Cesantes to the parish of O Viso and, after climbing nearly 150 metres (approximately 492 feet) from Tuimil, we will go down to Arcade (in the municipality of Soutomaior), famous for its highly valued oysters. As we walk through the town centre we will find a niche decorated with motifs related to the Way of Santiago, with religious images and dedications.
A recommended visit, if we have time, because it is off the way, is the Castle of Soutomaior, built in the 12th century, which reached its heyday with Pedro Álvarez de Sotomayor, known as Pedro Madruga ("Pedro the Early Riser"). At that time, in the 15th century, it became the centre of political activity in southern Galicia. Outside its walls we can find stately gardens with a rich, varied, century-old flora.
We will move on from Arcade to Ponte Sampaio, crossing the bridge over the River Verdugo. In this spot, from 7 to 9 June 1809, a battle was fought that would be crucial for the retreat of Napoleon's troops from Galicia during the Spanish War of Independence. The bridge has a Roman origin, although its current structure is medieval.
After crossing the river we will find the parochial Church of Santa María. Further on, the landscape where the Ponte Nova (New Bridge) used to be will stretch out before our eyes. This was a one-arched medieval bridge that was completely destroyed about ten years ago as a result of the flooding of the River Ulló, and it was replaced by another one four years later.
We will then get to the Brea Vella da Canicouva, a path along the itinerary of the Roman Road 19 with a history behind it. Some sections are paved with stone and some are just earth and gravel. Our route will then take us to the parish of Figueirido, in the municipality of Vilaboa, passing by the small villages of A Boullosa and O Alcouce.
The route guides us through Santa Comba de Bértola, and we will pass the Chapel of Santa Marta, from 1617. In the small village of O Pobo we will take the itinerary along the banks of the River Tomeza, in the municipality of Pontevedra, with its riverside-forest variety of trees, the main species of which are willows, ashes, chestnut trees, black poplars, birches and alders. This path is a variation of the official one that stretches out along the road.
We are already on the final stretch to our next stop at Pontevedra. The province capital, with a population of over 82,000, is a monumental town, and it is very convenient for walking around due to its eminently pedestrian spaces. It also has a beautiful old town where it is recommended to take a leisurely stroll around the streets and squares. But this has been a long day, so it is better to stop, get some rest and wait until tomorrow to get to know the town.