Camino Portuguese XXVII

  There’s always something you don’t manage to do! And on this trip there have been lots of things. With only one day in Porto it was only ever going to be a taste, but what a taste it was! 
The day before we left Santiago our host said, “it’s a pity you are leaving in the morning; we have a festival here tomorrow night!” There would be bonfires in every square and celebrations long into the night. We arrived in Lisbon to discover their festivities had been the day before!!  

   

  When we were walking we also missed out on things. Many of the churches along the way were closed when we passed and we didn’t linger in the hope that they would open. There were some delightful towns where you could easily spend a day – Barcelos, Valencia, Tui, Pontevedra, Redondela – but we didn’t do a lot more than walk through them with our senses on high alert. Yet this was the right thing to do at the time.

When we decided to take a trip, we could have chosen to do anything – cruise to Antrctica, beach hop in Greece, visit Disneyland like we did on our honeymoon…..but we chose to walk the “Caminho Portugues”. We should have walked the Via de la Plata, the Silver route, seeing as it’s our silver anniversary, but that’s 1,000km and we couldn’t squeeze it in to three weeks!

And so we come to our final day in Portugal.  

 We could  climb back up to  St George’s castle. We could visit any of the many art galleries and museums that would take at least a week to go round. We could take a tuktuk ride. But at 75euros for a couple of hours, that was never going to be an option! Instead we buy a 6euro transport card, which gives us unlimited access to metro, trams and busses for 24 hours.  Steep streets we have already walked can now be effortlessly climbed in the world-famous-in-Lisbon Number 28 tram. We are surprised to discover there is only a small portion of the route we have not already traversed.  But it is far more fun to rattle along in these 1930s  rickety contraptions that would only be seen in a museum in any other city.  They  groan as they creep up the hills, then zoom with gay abandon down the other side. At times they pass other vehicles with only inches to spare. Other lanes we wind through are so narrow there is no room for anything else. 

  

    

 

Then we switch to a modern tram and head out to Belem. We know there is a monastery, an explorers’ monument and a small but significant tower there. What we have no clue about is just how enormous and ornate the monastery and church are. Here we meet with our first tourist hoards, but it is still possible to sit in contemplative silence and observe. In fact, we notice most people rush through, stopping only long enough to take a selfie. I wonder how many people get home and struggle to remember seeing the  things they posed in front of.  

   


Across the road is a lovely riverside walk with buskers and beggars and sunglasses sellers… 

   

  
With time to spare, we consult our little list of things to do in Lisbon and pick the contemporary art gallery – primarily because there is no admission charge and we are saving our last euros for food! Probably not our best decision to date. In retrospect, it would have been better to forgo food and feast our eyes at the tile museum (no, really!) Not much of the modern art piqued our interest beyond a cursory glance  


    (Does this look like an old suitcase on a sofa with concrete?? There is actually something similar on the sidewalk just round the corner from where we are staying!)
  …and so we opt to look for lunch as it is fast approaching 4pm! Last day in Portugal calls for something typical, right? Will it be pork or seafood? We are presented with a plate of olives and basket of bread. Then we tuck in to a couple of bowls of Indian chicken curry! 

There is only one thing left to do before packing and sleeping until 3am: buy specialty cheeses and olives to take home.  You should have seen us running to catch the metro so we could get these precious babies into a fridge as quickly as possible.

We end our time with no regrets about what we did not do, but full of thanks for what has been possible. 

 Question for the children: which of those exhibits at the art gallery is a Salvador Dali one?

Camino Portuguese XXVI

Senses are on high alert for the first 24 hours you’re in a new place. Lisbon is the place and the time is just up. Our usual plan of attack is to walk the neighbourhood of wherever we are staying. We did that last night and put in over 20km. That’s the benefit of starting before dawn, changing time zones so you get an extra hour and not stopping til after dark. We didn’t actually plan to walk for so long. We wandered until we were tired, then set the GPS to take us home by the shortest route. The only problem was that the GPS-Setter accidentally plugged in the location of the aqueduct across town that we intended to visit today! Let’s just say we almost got to see it last night, and when the mistake was noted, we were so tired it caused laughter rather than complaint. I may have grizzled momentarilly, however, when we turned a corner and were faced with climbing the hill that the funicular travels by day – there’s a reason they use a machine to move people up that hill! And so one of the first observations about Lisbon is made: it is hilly (and related to this fact, there are lots of stairs)

   

      

 The very first conscious observation which grew stronger as the evening progressed is that this is a very cosmopolitan city. Walking down the street we passed all sorts of nationalities. There are Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Turkish, Nepali and Polynesian restaurants, as well as Portuguese ones. As for Portuguese establishments, there is a bar/pasteleria on every corner and three more between.  

   

    

 (mil folhas & tigelada for breakfast)

So if there is a bar on very corner, there is a monument or fountain in every square:  

   

   

   

  

The city has a vibe quite like Berlin. I’m not sure if it’s the grand monuments or colourful graffiti everywhere or the street performers…   

    
The scale of this city really is grand. When you are a top one of the seven hills its breadth is striking – it stretches for miles. When you are at ground level, you can’t help but notice the solid dimensions of the buildings lining wide avenues. And at the same time, narrow houses nestle together in narrow lanes.  There are wide open spaces.. There is majesty. There is also shabby.

   

     

            
I have been smitten by the colours of the city. Rarely are two adjoining buildings the same colour, but it is not a garish mish-mash  as most of the colours are pale shades or muted tones. 

   

   

   

   

   

   

 

As we traipsed across the city today, we commented on how we are a good fit for each other – we both enjoy walking, neither of us minds walking a few kilometers to save a metro fare, and we both like to move slowly across a town to get a feel for it. We had read online that getting to the aqueduct is really tricky as not much public transport goes nearby. But when we looked on the map, we saw it was only about 4km from our hostel so we decided to walk. We wanted to check out a supermarket in the opposite direction first (we’re on the hunt for nice cheese to take home) so we did that too, increasing the distance somewhat! We didn’t mind. The aqueduct, built in the 1700s is a pretty impressive piece of construction:  

   

   

 

Walking along the outside of the structure afforded great views of the city and river. Well worth doing if you’re ever in Lisbon! I can’t tell you if the water museum or the steam pumping station or the hydraulic engineering something-or-other are as worthwhile as we went for the simple entry that allowed access only to the aqueduct itself. I’m guessing you might need to be an engineer to enjoy the other options! We saved our money for more cheese to take home!

Camino Portuguese XXV

 Started at Santiago train station before sunrise. Traveling back over the way we had walked was strangely moving. Memories flooded back and we talked. I also wrote the following little summary of our Camino experience for anyone who might be thinking of doing it themselves.

Doing the Camino Portuguese was a spontaneous decision for us. We are familiar enough with camino-ing now that we could pack our bags and be off in no time at all. When we first decided to walk again, we thought we’d do the Camino Madrid, but the kids urged us to go somewhere different and we listened. However, we did very little planning and other than knowing that many people have walked this route and loved it, we did not have much idea what was involved. We glanced at a guide, but elected to just read the relevant pages each evening before walking rather than reading up before we left.

So there were a lot of surprises for us.

First of all, the good……

 The food was very inexpensive, very tasty and the variety of pastries outshone Spanish ones. Not that the Spanish ones are bad, but they are largely limited to croissants or chocolate napolitanas, whereas along the Portuguese there are all sorts. Add to that a wide range of seafood, from Rob’s favourite word “chiperones” (squid) to cod, from octopus to whole sardines. And then there’s pig in all its forms (bacon, ham, smokey, not, shaved, thick, roast, you name it!) And don’t forget the fruit – right now berries and cherries, peaches (especially flattos), melons – and the promise of a grape harvest to come. In fact, at the end of the day, we will remember this as a Food Camino. That’s how good it was!

 Likewise, the albergues were good to exceptional. Being a less busy route than the Frances, there was no rush to get a bed, and there was only one night that every bed in the municipal albergue was taken (at O Porinno). They were also cheap – usually 5 euros per person. Additionally, there is quite some variety. In only twelve days of walking we stayed in two monasteries and two family homes as well as the more “standard” accommodations. If anyone were contemplating this route, I would recommend they make an effort to stop at these places – the monasteries at Vairoa and Herbon, Casa de Fernanda at XXX and Quinta Estrada Romana just after XXX. Another fantastic albergue, which has only just opened and has the most amazing facilities we came across is at Arcade. There are also private pensions and hotels in many towns. The accommodations may not appear as frequently as on the Framces, but they were close enough to provide flexibility. It must have worked out about half the time that we tentatively headed for one location, but ended up walking on further without the distances being too excessive (33km was our longest day and that included wandering round a town).

    The way marking is faultless and so frequent (almost to the point of excessive in places) that there is no room for doubt.*  In fact, if way markings were the only consideration, this would be an excellent first Camino.

However, there are a couple of other factors that make me hesitant to unreservedly recommend this route, especially to a first-timer.

Firstly, this route begins in Portugal (being called the Portuguese-n-all) and that means there are Portuguese drivers. Now before you accuse me of being too harsh or making too broad a generalization, I will admit my observations are based on only one week’s walking in the country. However, I will add that everyone  we have spoken with reached the same conclusion. A Swiss gentleman we met succinctly stated, “The Portuguese drive fast and don’t give a damn!”  In other (more polite) words, drivers show complete disregard for pedestrians. They drive fast, even on the narrow lanes that wind through villages. This is in total contrast to Spanish drivers, who slow down as they approach, possibly give you a wave, and definitely stop if you are standing anywhere near a pedestrian crossing.

Additionally, this route has quite a bit of road walking, and in places where there is little or no shoulder. While we did not mention it in earlier blogposts so that no-one would worry, there were sections that felt (or were) dangerous.

Another drawback to this route is the relative lack of scenic interest. Of the seven routes I have now done, this is the least stunning. The others were spectacular, and the Portuguese just cannot compete. There are very few long stretches in nature – mostly you are walking from one village or town that fairly seamlessly merges into the next one.  We even felt at times that the nature trails were an ideal place for weirdos (for lack of a better word) to hang out – conveniently close to residential areas, but providing cover. (On the other hand, there are women who have walked this route solo and never felt in danger).

 Finally, the cobblestones. From Porto to Xxxxx (check location and insert – Barcelos? Tui?) there are long punishing stretches of uneven blister-causing soul-destroying cobbles. Consider yourself warned!

By now I must sound like a real cheer germ! I don’t mean to dissuade you from choosing this path, but to highlight what you might encounter. Actually, if you are someone who wants to use English as the lingua franca, this could be the perfect Camino – almost everyone speaks at least some – and often excellent – English. If you want a Camino that you don’t need to carry food on, this would be ideal (that is, the Central route is well-littered with bars; the coastal route not so much). And if you want a Camino where you meet all sorts of interesting people, then chances are high this route would provide – that was certainly our experience! (Just make sure you have well-cushioned shoes or sandals and a high visibility vest)

* faultless way marking comment: the exception that proves the rule here is O Porinno, where the locals have blacked out the arrows – just follow the black and you’ll be right. Then when you get to the River versus Bridge option immediately before the town, take the river again – it will take you directly to the Municipal Albergue.

Question for the kids: what is the precious metal associated with a 25th wedding anniversary? (Answer will appear in tomorrow’s post, along with some commentary!)

 As we walked round Lisbon in the afternoon-which-dragged-past-sunset we found more yellow arrows. We also clocked up well over 20km, which is not bad when you consider we also had eight hours on three trains today!

Camino Portuguese XXIV

 Final day in Santiago…..food, friends, finding family gifts….

 Food. Churros with the thickest chocolate from a nondescript little establishment on Rua San Pedro – if you’re in Santiago, don’t eat churros near the cathedral; come here!  

 Then when you’re ready for lunch head a little further out on the Camino Frances route until you come to Cafeteria-Restaurante “Periquillo” at Calle San Lazaro No 59. For 3,90 euros you will get a three course meal with bread. Wine and coffe are extra, but you can hardly complain about that!  

 The food is home-cooked standard fare with lots of vegetables. And yes, that is a whole chicken on the plate! Every day there are different choices.

Friends. Before we did our first camino in 2008 I joined an online Camino Forum. Early on this Camino I met  two of the members, a married couple. We snapped a pic of the two lasses with the forum badge on my pack:

 And today we caught up again for a drink and some final Padron peppers. Although both couples did the Camino Portuguese and bumped into each other again halfway, we then took different routes in to Santiago. We forgot to get a photo, but had a pleasant time comparing stories today. While we are all grateful to have walked this route, we agreed it was not a favourite for any of us (I’ll do a summary post later which will explain why – but probably not until I get on the plane in a few days!)

Family gifts. Now that would be telling;-)  

 

By the way, thanks to those who joined our Kiva Campaign yesterday. It’s now 32% funded.

PS There’s another “f” word……fantasised. We dreamt of bringing home some of these cheeses, but commonsense won, so there will be no party for the Auckland Airport Biosecurity Guards!  

 

Camino Portuguese XXIII

  Traveling as a twosome is very different to traveling as a family – no surprises there! It has meant we could rent a little attic room in Santiago instead of staying in a big dormitory. See the skylight up there on the left in the picture? That’s our room. Here it is from the inside – perfect for two:

Traveling  without kids also means you’re not looking for playgrounds or stopping to catch lizards or having to be particular about always having food available. On the downside, when there are only two of you, you cannot buy a large wedge of Brie because you simply can’t eat it all at once, and if you buy muesli you have to carry it for three days for the same reason.  The real disadvantage of having no kids with regards to muesli is that Rob gets to choose and he doesn’t pick the nuts and chocolate variety;-) And without kids here it’s hard to justify buying a six-pack of icecreams (although we did buy a three-pack at the seaside town of Arcade and managed to demolish them all before running in to Art and Mike with whom we would have had to share the spare!) On the upside, when traveling sans sprogs you can splash out on fancy icecreams: 

You can linger in the square listening to musicians instead of looking for aforementioned playgrounds.  

 (Although to be completely fair to our kids, it must be mentioned that they have happily listened to hours of street musicians in our travels). These two elderly gentlemen were so understated, perched on the stone pavement, strumming and fiddling in perfect harmony, expertly, modestly. 

I stopped to watch a brass band for a while, too – beautiful rich music that filled the summer’s afternoon wafting up to the cloudless blue sky. If I’d known I would blog about it, I’d have snapped a picture, but I just enjoyed being present in the moment. 

 The musical interlude was disturbed when Mr Brazil, the second pilgrim we walked with back at the beginning, appeared along with a nameless pilgrim we shared the first monastery with. They arrived in Santiago this morning. Friendly greetings and chance encounters are some of the magic of this town.

Because I was thinking about traveling without kids, it was natural to consider the question “is doing the camino without kids different?” The answer would have to be yes and no, but more no than yes. When Rob was walking with me and the four youngest children last year – and when we walked with all eight children and Grandpa too – we were a more self-contained group and people did not approach us quite as much as when it was just the kids and me or Rob and me. That is not to say we had no interaction with others – far from it! There is just MORE  when the group is smaller; in fact, I think it has more to do with the size of the group than the age of its members. When Rob went home last year, other pilgrims looked out for us. Pilgrims seem to treat other pilgrims as a class of their own, not as adult versus child. That was something our children enjoyed.  

The two biggest differences in walking without them would be 1) being more relaxed about food availability (we adults can skip breakfast if necessary as we did yesterday or we can wait until 9pm for dinner as we did after mass at the Herbon monastery), and 2) simply not having responsibility for them (even though they did all their own clothes washing, and  looked after and carried their gear, and helped with cooking, and filled their water bottles there were mental/emotional considerations, but this time we had only to – perhaps selfishly – think of ourselves) So, while traveling per se is quite different as a couple, doing the camino as a couple is not so different to doing it with children. Both are good! I’m guessing going solo would be different again. 

But I must say enjoying a leisurely tapas session in the Praza de Cervantes at 8pm is hard to beat!

    

 

So we have walked without kids (although there has been daily contact so they don’t feel entirely abandoned). We have walked to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary and we have asked if 25 people would join us in lending $25 to Kiva…..right now our campaign is at 24%. That’s got a ring to it, but we’d love it if you’d help us make it 100% sometime in the next nine days when the campaign will end.  You can find out more by clicking here.
Muchas gracias!

Camino Portuguese XXII

 This is what last night’s albergue looked like in daylight….and here’s what it looked like as we left just before 6am:  

     

   

 It was Art’s idea – and a good one – to leave early. It meant we were in Santiago, had collected our compostelas and were taking photos in front of the cathedral as the bells tolled 9.   

  Sitting at Auckland airport I had written in my journal “While this may be a wedding anniversary trip, it does not mean it is about *us*. A marriage is not just for *me* or even *us* – it’s for others too.”

The week we left I had heard a friend with kids about the same age as ours has cancer. I have whispered prayers for her at wayside crosses and churches along the way.  

The night we left, Someone else we know was also at the airport having had an awful day. It was nicer to sit with her than cocoon ourselves in our own little bubble. 

And we took that thinking with us every day. We could have stayed in private hotels, but we elected to go for the communal options (although we nabbed private rooms when they were on offer and pushed bunks together when we could!). We could have walked alone, but frequently didn’t. We slowed our pace to *be* community.

And I believe our marriage is greatly enriched because of sharing with others. 

The encounters have been brief but authentic. We have made friends. There is a bond that is hard to explain.

And today we sat in the cathedral, participated in the mass, some even shed tears as the botafumeiro swung to its awesome height….we shared a final meal together, and said GOODBYE.  

   

Question for the kids: how heavy is the swingy-thingy? PS there’s a video of it on Facebook if you want to see it

Teo to Santiago – 13km + another 10 round town

Camino Portuguese XXI

 While it would be true to report that we took a short walk today in order to have time do our washing and catch up with blogging, it would not be so interesting to recount just that. (By the way, we did do our washing by hand…as always….but not in that communal washing station above)  The walk itself was unremarkable, but at the same time had a little bit of everything that has been particular to this camino: eucalyptus trees, corn, grapes, cobblestones, dirt paths, roads, grassy verges, train tracks, fountains, flowers, bars, churches, houses, locals at work, friends bumped into unexpectedly.     


So let’s tell you about where we left from this morning and where we ended up tonight.

Perhaps you’ll remember yesterday turned into a long hot slog, but at the end of the day we all agreed every single step was worth it.

 

   We finished in this gorgeous monastery that was established in 1209.  Just us, Art and Mike and the two German girls., Katrin and Svenja……plus one very congenial hospitalero and five remaining monks (who we think actually live elsewhere).

Pedro, the hospitalero, took us for a tour of the grounds and buildings.

  
  In its time, this complex has been not only a monastery with its own cemetery and meditation pool, but also a school and prison, as well as an albergue. It has even been used as a movie set and it takes no imagination whatsoever to step into that “other world”:

These movie-set beds in a room far away from the pilgrims’ dormitory would (we thought) be perfect for our resident Roncador (translation: Snorer), but a little good-natured pranking provided an alternative solution:

We have had a lot of good laughs on this camino!! Americans have a reputation for being loud, obnoxious and in our experience they frequently don’t *get* Kiwi humor. Art and Mike are certainly exceptions to the rule (although the snoring was LOUD!) and we have shared joviality with them every day. We’ve also talked deeply about suicide, grief, relationships, education – sometimes the camino is an experience that allows or even encourages people to share more openly more quickly than they might in another setting. This is a treasure.

Another treasure after our tour was the mass in the church. After the bells tolled there was a long (15 minute) silence as time was given for folks to arrive. It occurred to me that it was good to just stop. To be. To wait. During the service I understood a little more of communal faith – for hundreds of years in this church the family of God has gathered to hear the Word of God read aloud. So often in our faith tradition, Bible reading is an individual pursuit, but when Bibles were not available for every family, let alone individuals, this daily sharing aloud together would have been very precious. I think it still is today. At the end of the service one of the locals was asking the pilgrims which of us came from New Zealand (as had been indicated during the pilgrims’ blessing). He was keen to tell us that he was the first person in this region to plant kiwi fruit – we wonder if the ones we had seen that afternoon were his, and we cherish that little interchange.

Special too are the shared meals. At the monastery Pedro cooked a simple healthy delicious dinner for us  – tomato salad, bread, lentil soup and fruit.

Is this post already too long? Read on if you like. There’s another meal story.

The German girls walked on to Santiago today. We four oldies stopped 13km shy of the goal and we shared a final exquisite dinner. Padron peppers and potato croquettes made up the veges! Then there was calamari, battered and fried to perfection. Squid exquisitely cooked in garlic and oil. Tiny pieces of pork in an unusual (to us) almost spicy sauce. Slices of roasted pork in yet another delicious sauce. Bread, of course, too. We ate. We talked. We used the wifi. Then the proprietor brought us a plate of dessert – gratis! Little pieces of cheesecake which was delicious. Santiago tart; our first this trip. Membrillo (which for the uninitiated is quince paste) on a smooth creamy cheese, possibly tetilla. Divine.

But we might not have eaten there at Casa Touceda. We had entered the restaurant/bar and chosen the best of a selection of bad tables. A television was blaring, causing the slightly drunken guys at the bar to converse very loudly too. Considering our own conversation was likely to be non-existent given these circumstances, we contemplated taking a table outside. There were two good reasons not to. Firstly it was stinking hot (the air conditioning in the restaurant was set at 27 degrees and felt positively nippy in comparison to the outdoor temperature). Secondly, there were more drunk guys outside smoking.

We could have returned to another bar, Casa Javier, where the atmosphere was more peaceful. However, Rob and I had eaten a very average undersized overpriced salad there earlier. We had also shared a very average undersized overpriced undercooked plate of fries. So that option was unappealing. Fortunately the proprietor showed us to a quiet downstairs room where the tables were bedecked with crisp white linen and the television on the wall was turned off. Needless to say, we stayed and enjoyed a very pleasant meal, reliving some of the experiences we have shared, remembering people and places, discussing the future (well, Mike’s future anyway) and laughing a lot.

These camino days are ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.

Question for the kids: how would you deal with a Roncador?

Herbon to Teo – 16.3km (longer distance than necessary due to taking the wrong road and needing to backtrack, plus we wandered round Herbon a wee bit)

Camino Portuguese XX

Over 33km, over 30 degrees by the afternoon.  We had known that yesterday;  we had decided not to push on for a longer day then knowing that if we wanted to go to the monastery we would have an even longer walk today. There was method in our madness – yesterday we had had a leisurely start and so wound up walking in the heat of the afternoon. We decided today we could get away early and put in some miles before the sun turned everything into a furnace. And so we left at sunrise:

 The walking was easy, conversation flowed and the miles flew by.

  Before we knew it we were having the first coffee break and soon after the first town appeared. We didn’t stop for food, because someone had recommended a bar just after O Pino, which was purportedly not far away. We were fair skipping along, in high spirits feeling very jolly.

   (Pic credit to Mike)

We bumped into the Polish guy we chatted with the other day and a German one we had stayed with one night (by the way, there are more Germans than any other nationality walking this path right now) and a bunch of Scots, one of whom has family in New Zealand (way down in Gore) 

 It was all very nice and then we realised we were well past O Pino. Guidebook consultation ensued and we discovered the fantastic bar we were heading for was not in fact anywhere near O Pino. It was a further 4km on from where we were. No matter, we’d continue….but we would be well and truly ready for a good meal by the time we got there! Encouragingly, it was a gorgeous downhill stony path through the forest.

 Temptation to stop met us round the next corner when we spied the Korean girls sitting outside a cafe, but, no, we had a fantastic restaurant to go to, so we pressed on again.

Imagine our dismay when we saw a sign telling us the restaurant was 46 minutes away. We figured that could not possibly be true and plodded on, getting increasingly hot. After what must have been half an hour there was another sign telling us we were now only 37 minutes away.  Our American companions started losing sight of the fact that the last restaurant we had recommended to them had turned out to be fantastic. And still we walked on sweating.

Long story short (because you can probably already see where this is going}, we eventually got there.

 Medieval Restaurant. A few choice words were spoken about the fact that the only thing  *medieval* about this place was the layer of dust that had been there since the Crusades.

 It was the kind of place that Grandpa would say needed a jolly good tidy up, but a younger generation might think was pretty funky with all its odd bits and bobs lying around.

The food was not bad, but it was nothing special and the kitchen looked like it would definitely not pass any hygiene tests. All the same we enjoyed some good gazpacho and Padron peppers that are a must-eat in this region that they are grown.

3km to go after lunch. It was so hot we did not even try to do that short distance in one stretch and made excuses to stop for iceblocks/cerveza along the way. Amazing how we had been blasting along so easily at 25km, but by 30 were lagging!

Thank goodness we had started in the cool of the day!

Question for the kids: what is gazpacho made from?

Camino Portuguese XIX

    

   

   

   

   

     

   

   

   

   

 

Gorgeous day. Great company again.  Ended up sitting under a tree waiting for dinner and talking so no further blogging – sometimes it’s more important to be in the moment!!

 

Question for the kids: if we left half an hour after Art and Mike this morning, and caught up with them, what information would you need to work out how fast we were moving?

28.6km – warm with breeze  Arcade to Portela

Camino Portuguese XVIII 

     “You just don’t know when to stop, do you?” Words echoed from my childhood as we headed off for a second stint today. Yesterday I had felt thoroughly sick mid-afternoon with funny tummy/ribs. We discovered one of the German girls was the same and today we arrived in Arcade to find a British lady who lives in Costa Rica has a similar unusual trouble. Because of said complaint, we had made the firm decision to have a quiet day, 18km to Redondela. Along the way we saw an advertisement for an albergue with wifi and decided to check in there. But when we arrived there was still over five hours until they would open.  

  So we did what any self-respecting pilgrim would do – ate well and walked on.

The trail in the morning had been busy…. …..but in the afternoon we didn’t see a soul. 

In the morning we passed a Roman milestone…..  

 ….and all day long we passed markers telling us how far from Santiago we are – to three decimal places!     

 In  the afternoon we got a peek of the sea as we wandered along discussing whether we would marry each other if we met now for the first time!   

Saw other good things too…. 

     

 Our perseverance at walking on was well rewarded.  A brand new albergue was just opened three weeks ago and it is wonderful! Big bunks, sheets, power points for all, fully-equipped kitchen, long dining tables, comfortable lounge, big windows, and wifi….but the connection is not the best and the pictures are not loading. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that four bottles of wine have been emptied tonight. Nothing to do with the four course meal we have just eaten. There are eight of us – Rob and me,  Art and Mike, two German girls and two South Korean – we have ended up staying together every night for the last few and tonight we cooked a massive feast together – I wish I could show you. Will have to wait until we get better wifi to add photos. Besides, it is very late and we have been talk-talk-talking all evening.    

And a few extra pics of the afternoon wander down to the sea….