PortCam16 // D5 / Ponte de Lima to Cossourado

Today my full-sunshine reputation went totally down the toilet.

It rained.
Not a drizzle, but rain.

Well, at times it drizzled, but I guess when it drizzles constantly and in buckets, then you could arguably call it rain.

RV on Ponte de Lima bridge-1

We left Ponte de Lima with threatening skies, walking over the magnificent Romanesque 22 span bridge.

Laurie on Ponte de Lima bridge-1 Bart on Ponte de Lima bridge-1

We then made our way to the Last-Stop cafe before the big climb up to Rubiaes. Before I began the climb I had my requisite two Coke Zeros.

Bill with 2 coke zeros-1 2 coke zeros-1

I remember last time I did that climb it was a struggle. It was hot, and I was knackered, and my mate Steve helped me along.

Today it was a breeze. I scampered up the climb no sweat. Probably because it was cooler, I was stronger from some solid training beforehand, and last year I did the Via de Francesco, which made today look like a cake walk.

I’m not sure what a cake walk is, but I suspect it’s a walk you do when you want to go get some cake…

Our group did well today.

Some jumped the hill climb, because they’ve developed injuries. The others did the climb without difficulty.

path up big hill-1

Bill the filmmaker was up top documenting it all.

Bill up top recording-1

I’m getting to know them.

The front mob consists of Jan, who is lithe and fit and clips along with her mate Marilyn at a solid pace. Vivienne walks with them too – and they natter as they walk, often chortling with laughter.

Walking with them for a bit, they reminded me of the three Witches of Eastwick –

Susan Sarandon
and Michelle Pfeiffer

(Ladies, you choose which one is which!) (or witch one is witch… haha)

Walking with them often is Ian, who walks without poles, wears shorts even when it’s bloody freezing, and makes walking 6kms per hour look effortless.

Ian out front-1

Today Bart was our front runner – and his daughter Merissa and Jennifer officially took the title of the back mob. The two of them had a lovely walk in the rain, Merissa taking photos which she showed me later. She took them on her smartphone and now I hate her too. She has a really good eye.

There are a lot of good photographers in this group. Maybe it’s a New Zealand thing.

Or rather, thung.

Today I walked up the mountain with a lady who is not with our group. Her name is Linda. She is in her 60s, although she looks younger, and her husband works for the UN.

Linda by yellow door-1

I walked with her because yesterday she’d gotten talking to some in our group and she had expressed some nervousness about doing the climb today. She’s carrying some serious injuries from a broken neck sustained in a horse riding accident.

She can’t use poles, she can’t carry a backpack, and she was worried about the climb. So I thought it might be handy for someone to accompany her.

As we began the climb we chatted, and she told me that her husband works for the UN as an investigator. Like a detective. He chases down bad guys within the UN – at the moment those in the peace-keeping forces that are allegedly involved in illegal activities, such as rape, misappropriating funds, selling their firearms and weapons to the insurgents, etc.

He’s currently in a remote part of the Central African Republic, and she’s worried about him because she hasn’t heard from him for a while. I said that surely in his job, he would be a target. His life would be in constant jeopardy. She agreed, and said that he usually has security guards around him, but on this current assignment they didn’t show up, and so he called in for backup but because it’s so remote it’s taking a while.

Linda had a brief communication from him this morning before she set off – and said that she was a wee bit worried because he was worried. Later this evening she still hadn’t heard from him.

She handled the climb ok. It turned out she was a strong and accomplished walker.

At the point at which you cross into Agualonga, there is a large cross which has accumulated many more stones and mementos since I was last there…

Cross ws-1

I always find it a very emotional experience to think about the stories behind some of the photos left at these crosses.

Cross with angel-1 photo with angel-1

We got to our Casa Rurale in the mid afternoon, and everyone was wet, cold, and bedraggled. We all had warm showers in rooms that are quite luxurious. Later we had a gorgeous home cooked meal which began with cod cakes and Padron peppers.

dinner table Cossourado-1 Padron peppers-1

Towards the end of the dinner Neville, who is a supreme raconteur, told us a joke:

A man had to be an MC at a wedding, and so he went to a friend and said – Look, I have to be an MC at a wedding and I want a quick joke to break the ice. But I don’t know any jokes, and I don’t tell jokes particularly well, so can you help me out?

The friend said sure. Okay. Here is a quick and easy joke:

A Spanish fireman got married, and his wife bore him twin sons, so he called the first one Jose, and the second one Jos-b.

They both laughed, and the man said – Thank you, that’s perfect.

So the day of the wedding came, and the man stood in front of the assembled throng, and began by saying: I have a little joke for you. A Spanish fireman got married, and his wife bore him twin sons, so he called the first one A-hose, and the second one B-hose.

When Neville told this joke we all thought it was hilarious, but then again it could have been the White Port…

Neville with white port-1

Knee Update: 

I’m sure there are many of you who follow this blog who are anxious to know how my knee is going. I decided not to bring my brace on this Camino – believing that if I took it, it would only set an intention for my knee to give me problems.

(A MRI taken a while ago showed that the cartilage in my right knee has completely left the building, and I am technically bone-on-bone. My orthopaedic surgeon told me I had to wear an elaborate brace when walking any distance, and said a knee replacement was not a matter of “if,” but “when.”)


So I’ve been walking 5 days now, and done about 100kms, without the brace, and the knee is holding up ok. I’ve had some twinges, and today was a real test, going up that mountain, but particularly coming down the other side, which put a lot of stress on the knee.

I checked my knee this evening and noticed that it’s quite swollen. So I put some Voltaren cream on it.

I hope it gets me to Santiago ok. I don’t wish to go on Ibuprofen again…



24 thoughts on “PortCam16 // D5 / Ponte de Lima to Cossourado

  1. Maybe a rest day in order Bill. Regardless, fingers crossed, eyes tight and sending you healing thoughts.
    Will be walking Porto to Santiago in Sept/Oct so am keenly following your progress …. And scrawling helpful notes besides John Brierleys claptrap.
    The joke and a coffee was a great way to start the day. Very funny even without the port!
    Good luck Bill


  2. I’m really enjoying these posts, it’s a behind-the-scenes look into what an organized Camino group/tour could be like, and it’s fascinating. I love that there’s a front “mob” and a back mob and like to think about where I’d fall (probably somewhere in the middle: a fast walker but on my Caminos I’ve loved stopping often for coffee and photos breaks). Thanks for taking the time to share this journey with us!


  3. Wow Bill,

    Ice may help with the swelling. Voltaren should help but do ice it as well.

    The group looks and sounds wonderful, enjoy and Bom Caminho!



  4. Bill,
    Enjoying your journey, every step of it. Although I haven’t walked this Camino it is bringing back many wonderful memories. The Padron Peppers, the white port, the rocky paths, the yellow arrows, the stones with many stories to tell, the beautiful scenery, the smiling pilgrims . . . .
    Yesterday, as I was driving my grandchildren to school at the ungodly hour of 6:30 AM, I stopped at your most disliked coffee stand for a café crema and a chocolate filled croissant. Took me right back to breakfast on the Camino.
    Love to you, Jen and the group

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynda, thinking of you and Dale. Thank you for these gorgeous comments. Me thinks you two will be walking another Camino soonish… love, Bill


    • It’s true Donna – it only takes a few days on this Camino, as you know, and stuff starts to loosen up… It truly is magical, as you say…


  5. Bill, Looks like a great trip. I would be stubborn like you. Would avoid the brace until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Guessing and hoping you will never reach that point. We just got back from a Danube river cruise. i know you were recently in Budapest, the city where the cruise ended. What a great city!


    • Hi George – we actually go to Budapest after this tour, so if you have any tips please pass them on. Very much looking forward to it – never been to Budapest before… Bill


      • Hi Bill – We had two days in Budapest. The cruise line provided a morning city tour. Lots of great architecture and beautiful sights. Embrace the beauty and enjoy the people watching. The one thing I would recommend would be to find a local tour boat that will take you upstream a few miles on the Danube in the evening and then return to the city at dark to allow you to take in the incredible beauty of the lit up Parliament and other buildings. An amazing site!! Enjoy!


  6. Bill you are good at placing a shocker of a photo at the end of a post aren’t you?
    I think that I would have preferred the cooler rainy days to the warm sunny days we had as we walked in Portugal!
    i can still recall the pleasure of putting my fat full of water on my head to cool me down on those hot days!
    By the way – the other photos are great!


    • haha – Ralph, that’s an expression we use when we employ the van to “jump” those that wish to ride out a section rather than walk it. We have a dedicated van as part of our tour. The big climb though is not too bad, particularly in this cooler weather. You should have no troubles.


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