Even behind the mask, we could see Mariana’s smile. She was our receptionist at the Hotel Costa Marine in Póvoa de Varzim. Our rooms were very comfortable, the breakfast tasty, and Mariana made sure that our baggage was ready to go to our next hotel. Our hotels have met our expectations so far – comfortable, excellent WIFI, and a superb staff. Thumbs up for Camino Ways’ choices.
From the warm confines of our hotel, we were literally hit with driving rain and 40+ mph winds from the south. We were lucky that the winds were at our backs. The winds pushed us along while the rain hit our backs. Laird took a moment to look back at the camera. He spent the next minutes wiping rain from his face.
We continued along the boardwalk as it wound its way around the dunes. Shortly after walking this long straight section, we came upon several holes of the Estrela Golf Club. The course is right along the ocean. With the rain and wind, we could have been in Scotland. Note the flagstick that was flying stiffly. No golfers were seen.
After the boardwalk ended, we were on dirt roads with puddles galore. We waved at farmers planting what looked like scallions. I can’t imagine the pressure on farmers to plant their crops in weather like this. We got the thumbs up from them – we guessed for being hearty pilgrims.
Such unexpected moments continued when we entered the town of Apulia. We correctly identified as the main church. We decided to try for a passport stamp because the side door of the church was open. When I went through the door, the church was filled with well dressed adults and children. We should have guessed what was happening because a vintage Rolls Royce was parked at the main entrance. Yes, it was a wedding. The rituals of life go on.
What is a beginning is balanced with the ending. We passed a cemetery. You can see the tiny blue Camino sign signaling for us to go left. But the yellow sign had more meaning — alternative exit. Ah, stage left.
It was now 1 PM. Time for lunch. We ducked into Chale on the Camino. We opted for Francesinha (a traditional Portuguese sandwich of slice pork, ham, cheese, egg, that is often covered with sauce). We opted for a full sandwich Chale style though a half portion was offered. Our eyes popped when we were served. We included a group photo of the cooking and serving staff who helped these pilgrims refuel their tanks. They also graciously stamped our passports.
One might expect that every day will be a Groundhog Day – the same old. However, today brought the gifts of new experiences with more to come. We can’t wait.