We left the casa in Agualonga early – and for the first time on the tour I led the way.
My knee was feeling good – twinging a little now and then, but manageable – and my feet were not nearly as sore as yesterday.
I’d strapped my feet with bandages yesterday, and that I think had created problems – firstly, it made my boots much tighter, which constricted blood flow, and secondly, it restricted the flexibility of my feet and my ankles – and that’s what I believe caused the pain yesterday.
We walked through some very pretty countryside – and by “we” I mean myself and Donna and Greg. I gave an impromptu photographic lesson or two on composition and light.
We had plenty of laughs along the way – one very hilarious moment being when Donna described Jen as being like a sunflower, and I chipped in that I was like a bee.
Take my word for it – it was funny at the time.
After nearly three hours walking we finally stopped at a bar/cafe/restaurant.
I spotted a little girl with her father. I took several shots of her – cute as a button with her blue glasses. I gave my email address to her father and told him to contact me and I’d email him the shots of his daughter.
I set off on my own, but Steve soon caught up with me.
Steve is amazing. He has an extraordinary affinity with animals. Every animal he sees – whether it’s a dog or a lamb or a horse or a donkey – he’ll stop and try to engage it in some way.
I asked him why he liked animals so much. He said: Animals are loyal, they don’t ask anything of you, they will always stand by you, they won’t let you down, they won’t betray you, they won’t lie to you.
I told him there were some people like that too.
He said he hadn’t met any.
I told him he’d met me.
He said: You’re the exception to the rule.
We were soon joined by the Landers Express. Peter & Julie. Ken and Angie (the Landers cabooses) were a bit behind.
Peter told me about his early interest in music – and about his love of the blues. We share that together. We both believe that Clapton is God.
The Camino is starting to seep into Peter. He surprised me today by telling me that he wasn’t using his Garmin anymore – his GPS watch. Prior to this he’d been very keen to know how far he’d gone, how much further he had to go, his pace etc.
I can understand this. I was the same way at the start too.
But he’d turned off his GPS, and he was allowing the Way to unfold in it’s own natural rhythm and pace. Julie, his wife, said this was quite a significant step for him – letting go, as he was…
Peter is a very successful accountant, and his job requires precision and exactitude. Yesterday when someone asked what time he’d got in, he’d said 2:35pm. Not 2:30pm. Not a quarter to three. But 2:35pm.
Peter told me he was working towards a time when he would even throw his watch away, and judge his timings by the sun.
The Camino works in subtle ways.
After a long hot walk, we finally made our way into Valenca, the last town on the Portuguese side of the border.
We had a lunch in a small restaurant. A beautiful vegetable soup, followed by more pork and grilled turkey than we could eat – then home made deserts.
At the end of the meal Steve put on a demonstration for us with his breasts – pulsating them from side to side.
When a bottle of liqueur came, I suggested that perhaps he could open the it with his boobies, given that they were so strong.
He delighted us all by doing so –
As the afternoon wore on, the bottles stacked up. We told jokes and we laughed and each of us had a truly wonderful lunch. Marie the Basque said she hadn’t laughed so much in months.
She’d gone to the doctor earlier in the morning for some serious foot work – and the lunch made her feel so much better.
At the end of the lunch Peter and Ken stacked the empties up in an effigy to me – complete with green scarf, Swannies cap and sunglasses…
We then made our way across the bridge, across the Mino River, and entered Spain. We climbed up to Tui Cathedral, and the hotel where we’re now staying.
Today was memorable. We had the best time.
Why shouldn’t a Camino be full of happiness. Does it have to be dour and serious? I don’t believe so. There’s so much joy in this group – and now half way along our journey we’ve all bonded very tightly.
I can’t quite believe that this time next week, it will all be over.