Today was always going to be a big day – 34kms. That’s a long way.
Some of us wanted to do the full distance, some opted for a shorter walking day –
Steve & Arlene & Angela – 14kms
Jennifer & Marie & Donna – 20kms
Peter & Julie, Ken & Greg, and myself – 34kms.
For those of us wanting to walk the full stage, it meant we had to return to Barcelos and pick up the Camino from where we left off.
We checked out of the hotel at Bom Jesus early – and by 7:30am we were back at Barcelos and on our way.
Peter and Julie are experienced walkers, and they set a cracking pace. Ken, walking his first Camino, had no problem keeping up. Greg and I hung back a bit but even so after an hour we’d walked 5.6kms, according to Peter’s Garmin GPS.
We stopped for coffee – meanwhile the others were back at the hotel having breakfast, and getting ready to head out – to pick up the Camino further up the track, closer to our final destination of Ponte de Lima.
I had a quick espresso at the roadside cafe and set off on my own – I got some fine shots of the quartet coming towards me –
And a trio going away…
Ken hung back to chat with me –
Around 11:30am and after having already walked about 20kms, we stopped again for a refresher – this time at a little bar. As we walked in Peter noticed a glass of white port on the counter – frosty cold.
Agreeing that a little cold white port might give us the zip we required to complete the walk, Peter dutifully ordered a round.
We stepped outside, chatted, and soon realised the port had gone.
I put it down to evaporation in the hot sun.
We all agreed that nature was grossly unfair, so we walked back into the bar and ordered another round – this time Ken shouted.
We chatted some more. And we laughed a lot.
We all agreed that you get fewer blisters when you walk in a relaxed manner, and we all agreed that the port was making us relaxed. So for the sake of our feet, we ordered another round. I think I paid. But from this point on, things got a little hazy.
I remember we agreed that it was grossly unfair that three people had shouted a round, and the other two hadn’t. We all agreed that this inequity should be redressed, so Greg ponied up the next round.
I do recall speaking to the bar lass – her name was Caterina, I remember that much. I remember that because of our Caterina. They both had the same name. I remember.
And I remember instructing her to fill my glass up right to the brim, because she’d left a tiny tiny sliver of the glass empty. I good naturally admonished her – then took her photograph to make her feel better about herself.
I don’t remember much more after that.
I do though remember Julie did the honourable thing and shouted the last round. By this stage we’d drunk nearly three bottles of white port between five of us. The issue of blisters was no longer relevant. We felt no pain.
We had another 14kms to walk.
It’s really hard walking when you’re legless.
I noticed that the standard of my photography had deteriorated somewhat.
I was having trouble with headroom…
We set off, and Julie killed a snake. At least that’s what she told me, and I was prepared to believe anything she told me. I was prepared to believe anything anyone told me.
At some further indeterminate place, at an indeterminate time, we stopped for another drink. I know this because I took some photos.
I don’t know who these people were. At the time, they seemed friendly enough – in retrospect though, they look like serial killers.
We were lucky to get out of there alive…
I don’t have much else to report on today. Other than the last few kilometres into Ponte de Lima were beautiful.
I met two young blokes walking in – Miguel and Pedro. Miguel is a pharmacist and Pedro is studying to become a psychologist. Smart young men. They’re walking their second Camino Portuguese –
I was the last one in, of course. Donna & Greg were laying in wait to ambush me with a photo of myself walking in through the avenue…
We’re staying at a magnificent boutique hotel – and we had a glorious meal made by the hotelier’s wife – all local specialities. We agreed it was the best meal of the tour so far.
Marta, who works for the hotel and organised our accommodation and meal, was a total gem, and she got a round of applause from everyone when she successfully took a group shot.
She was terrified she wouldn’t get the headroom right…
To complete the evening, Steve showed us a picture of himself on his 70th birthday. I told him I thought he should make this a feature of each meal in future…
Kind of like an after dinner mint…