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Day 14 (23 March). 16 Miles. The Journey Never Ends

As we set out for Santiago, we were torn. We were glad that the daily long walks would be over but also felt a sense of losing the constant anticipation about where the next walk would take us. But isn’t that what each day, regardless of our stage in life, and where we live, is? The past is done; hopefully, we all have treasured memories and lessons learned. The present is the moment that we can’t predict but should be experienced openly and attentively. The future is a fuzzy canvass in which broad strokes of wishful thoughts may be set in pencil but could easily be erased and re-drawn.

During the Camino, Doris Day’s singing of “Que Sera, Sera” kept popping up in my mind. My mother used to play that song when I was a boy. DD sang it in Hitchcock’s movie, the Man Who Knew Too Much. That was the first movie my parents took me to at the Bards near the corner of Adams and Crenshaw, our neighborhood theater. Until 2019 when I did ohenro (88Temples), I did not appreciate what those three words meant. Here’s to you, Doris Day.

We were under 15 miles. Santiago was just over the horizon after approximately 208 miles by our count (final total) not including the ten touring Baiona on our rest day. Our first stone Galician sign was seen on Day 7 as we left A Guarda (159 km). Each day was a day but now that week seemed to be a mere blink. More than most of our daily segments, this one zigged zagged through small villages, farms, and forest. We saw many different examples of Galician granaries including one being built. In a 10 minute span, we joined several fellow pilgrims excitedly making their way to Santiago before dispersing into smaller groups traveling at their own pace. At a bend in the road, we stopped in a church in which a man stamped passports. A Xi’an warrior looked out at us – part of an international company of Camino guardians? The Pope does have his Swiss Guards.

Nearing Santiago
Granary In Village
Lowe’s Home Improvement Project
Pilgrims With Purpose
Wanna Stamp?

Xi’an Guardian Of The Camino

We stopped for lunch where they did not accept Laird’s Burger King coupons. As expected, we finally arrived in Santiago. Of course, the Cathedral was at the top of the hill. We had a long 1.5 mile climb through a built up modern city in order to reach old city. We were able to enter part of the church. We went down to view the tomb of St. James. I lit some candles next to the sanctuary to give thanks for a safe journey and thoughts for my family and friends, past and present. We walked around the old city as night fell. By a busy pedestrian street, we sat and shared a beer. We missed seeing Jennifer and John from Canada. Perhaps the Invisible Hand was busy.

Tomorrow, we plan to check in with the office that issues Compestellas (certificates of completing the Camino) and then immerse ourselves in the city. The Camino was a journey well spent. Thanks for sharing it with us.

In a few days, we will post a final blog with further reflections from the two of us including helpful hints about preparing for the Camino, hotels, and so on.

Go That Way
Up The Final Hill
The Cathedral
Sublime Sunset
Celebrating Al Fresco

Day 13 (21 March) 15 Miles. Sensing The End

After 12 days on the road, one might be jaded. But the Camino experience is to take in the present – look about the world and chill. I have included some views from today including a loaf of bread left on top of a gate. At one point, we were following a small truck whose driver stopped to deliver bread in the area. Another Amazon subscription service.

Galician Church
Amazon Subscription Service
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof
Serenity
On The Road

We had almost completed 20,000 steps, our criterion for stopping for lunch. We also needed a stamp on our passports to show our progress. A convenience store appeared at the bend in the road. We ordered our chorizo sandwiches and beer. To the side of the serving counter was a stand with what seemed to be a shrine or was it a not so subtle advertisement satisfying heavenly and earthly needs?

Meeting Heaven and Earth

We were on the downhill of the walk entering Padron. Neither the Camino nor the 88 Temple walk is devoid of power plants, refineries, and the like. The town square about a mile later brought us back to a more traditional setting. This is life as we currently live it.

Local Carbon Producer
Padron Town Square

We walked the last five miles in steady rain. We pined for showers and beds to rest weary bones. A wonderful dish of grilled salmon with a fine bottle of Albarino contributed to our well being. Tomorrow, Santiago!

Grilled Salmon
Albarino

Day 12 (20 March) 17 Miles. Wonderment: Big And Small

The Camino helps one shed the noises and distractions of daily life that oftentimes blocks or blurs the beauty around us. From my hotel room in Pontevedre, I awoke to a sunrise of dark brooding skies. The photo does not capture the dramatic hues of color or the crispness and stillness in the air. I stood there admiring the beginnings of another day.

Dawn In Ponevedre

We carried on after breakfast making tracks on the pilgrim route. Our first stop was nearby at the church of Nuestra Senora Del Refugio – La Divina Peregrina, the Virgin Mother who is the patron of Camino pilgrims. Unlike the Our Lady of Sorrows in Porto (see Prologue), she was in regal robes with the baby Jesus appearing to preside over the pilgrimage. She was dressed in purple, the color of the Lenten season. I don’t recall seeing a Mary without her abaya and hijab. Expand the photograph to see her in more detail.

Nuestra Senora Del Refugio

As we crossed the Rio Lerez, we were treated to a spectacular morning sun that shone through the clouds. Most people did not stop to view the moment as they seemed to be walking to work or doing some errand. It is a privilege to have an free mind and the time to “slow down, you move too fast, you’ve got to make the morning last” (Simon and Garfunkel). I was feeling groovy then and while passing these ducks in a small pond off the side of a road. One could have missed them in an eyeblink.

Feeling Groovy
Ripples In Pond

A bit later, we came upon a group of youths idling below a monument outside of a village we had just passed through. It was Monday, a school day. Break time? Were they on a Camino feeling groovy?

Feeling Groovy Two or Too

After some ups and downs, twists and turn, lunchtime had arrived. Almost on cue, a greeting committee met to beckon us to a restaurant. Besides our beer, we ladled our own chicken broth soup that was populated with the tiniest pasta. We devoured it all – enough for two bowls each.

Hey Boys
Mom’s Chicken Soup

Near the end of our walk, we Duoed with Laird’s daughter, Kate, and her fifth/sixth grade students in New Hampshire. We broadcasted a 10 minute Rick Steve’s like segment on the Camino that included a guest interview with an Australians mother-daughter pair, Pam and Jenny, who were coming up the trail. We had told the students that people around the world walk the Camino. What timing. We took a photo of them later as we were sitting having a beer at a sidewalk cafe a few blocks from our hotel.

You also probably guessed that Jennifer and John from Canada made their sixth appearance. The clock was running diwn. We had almost given up hope that we would see them yesterday. Near sunset, they appeared and shared their day with us. We were left in wonderment.

Day 11 (20 March) 10 miles. Old and New

It was Sunday. Breakfast started at 9 AM. Our walk was short. We started off at 10:30 and walked at a leisurely pace experiencing what was clearly roads and paths that were used during earlier Caminos. In a village outside of Arcade, we were directed to go right by a modern Camino sign but also an older one below it. Like the 88 temple walk, most of the signs are new but occasionally I came across signs from previous eras. One senses a bond with pilgrims of old.

Camino Signs

We also met many more pilgrims. From Porto to Vigo, we saw a handful. Now, we met that many by the hour. We surmised that many start from Vigo which is just outside the required 100km walking distance to qualify for a Compestella. Also, we were on the path after which different branches of the Portuguese Camino meet. Above VIgo, someone had drawn a stylized line showing the merger of the green and yellow paths. We think that wavy line represents the sea.

The Wavy Green Line

We met our first Americans in Arcade at our hotel in Arcade. They had started from Vigo.

I need to digress for a moment because upon reflection, I may have given an incomplete review of Vigo. Indeed, our first encounter was the harbor and cars oftentimes ignoring pedestrians waiting to cross streets. But Vigo Centro reminded me of the boulevards of several main cities in the Spanish world such as Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Madrid with their 8-10 story apartment buildings and stores on the street level. Before dawn, cleaning machines were up and down Centro Vigo’s streets and trash cans were emptied. Drivers almost always stopped for pedestrians as they do throughout the city and country roads that we have walked in Portugal and Spain. Drivers in Bethlehem need to be re-trained to better the ambiance of a walking environment.

That said, back to the trail. We met a trio who had stopped at a crossroad – Numo, Carlo, and Christine. Numo and Carlo are boyhood best friends from Madeira, a Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco. Numo had walked Camino in early 2020. He described how difficult it was because of the lockdown. Lodgings and restaurants were closed. When he asked locals for water, they told him to place his bottle on a window sill to be filled. No close contact. Was that how people experienced Camino during periods of the plague? Numo said that he has returned to the Camino to achieve balance in his life. ”I run at 12,000 rpm; Camino calms me to 1,000.” Although an aviation mechanic, Numo’s passions are rally car driving and mountain biking especially on Madeira’s slopes.

Carlo, his best friend, married and moved to Lisbon. He is an electrical engineer but changed to a software designer who heads two teams consulting with large size companies. He and Numo seldom see one another. Camino is their opportunity to be together as they used to be going to school in Madeira.

Krista is from Vancouver, Canada, lived in Chicago, and now, the Netherlands. She is a practicing Catholic. The Camino was on her bucket list. I did not have the opportunity to talk with her thus her story is short. She had met Numo and Carlo only that morning.

Krista, Carlo, Numo

We walked by crosses formed by twigs, old grape vines (probably Albarino), and Galician stone granaries. We were shocked when we encountered construction of a new highway that was being cut into the hills. The pastoral beauty of the countryside was being cut by one of the inventions of the 20th Century. Pilgrims in the future will be walking across a steel bridge to continue their journey.

Cross On Fence
Old Vines
Galacian Granary
Highway

It was time for the Invisible Hand to show its work. The Camino path divides into two near Pontevedre – the main path along a busy country road and a branch along a stream. Taking Yogi Berra’s advice, ”When you come to a fork in the road, take it,” we did. (Yogi Berra was a Baseball Hall of Fame catcher for the New York Yankees. Look up his other sayings.)

Just across a bridge, we saw our old friends, Jennifer and John, for the fifth time. They had taken an unmarked trail and were on a snack break. Who would have thought. They sent us reciprocal photos of us with our poles.

Really ? A Fifth Encounter
Laird and Ron On Trail
Walking With Purpose

Our touch with the future happened again when we checked into our hotel in Pontevedre. We came to the front door and were confronted with metal and glass – written on the glass was welcome in several languages. Welcome? In front of me was an intercom. I pressed the button with a bell symbol. A recorded voice came back in Spanish. What does a non-Spanish speaker do? Written on the wall, in Spanish and English, were instructions to call a phone number in case of problems. I did and a fellow responded in Spanish then English. I was told to press in a code number. Alacazam! The door opened.

At The Threshold

No one was at the reception desk. To check in, I went to a console, pressed a button, and a woman with a headset appeared. She took our vitals. Left of the screen were our keys with our room cards and instructions on how to enter the hotel if we left. Our bags were in our rooms.

Checking In


In the morning, we wondered if someone would appear for laying out the breakfast buffet and for checking us out. Lorena was there – all smiles with instructions on where to put our baggage for pick-up. We were also impressed how ecologically minded the hotel was. We also haven’t seen a straw in either Portugal or Spain. The future?

Lorena At The Desk
Ecologically Minded

The Wheel of Time keeps turning. We are in the present but have walked where many have before us. Those in the future will do so as well but will see and experience a different Camino.

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Day 10 (19 March) 18 Miles. Ups and Downs

Although the length of this segment was less than 20 miles, we agreed that it was the hardest of our camino. The highest and steepest climb was up a mountain from which the picture below was taken. Vigo stretched out before us. About an hour and a half before, we had hiked up the hill in the distance. Towards the end, we had to deal with long grades as we neared Arcade where our hotel was located. I photographed Laird coming down one of the steeper grades to give you a sense of the challenges of the day. What goes up eventually comes down. It was hard on the knees.

Vigo Vista
Steep Grades

Every walk produces surprises. As we walked up the wooded hill in the background of the Vigo Vista, we heard loud cheering from a stadium above. Curious, we stopped and watched a match of youth league futbol. The fellows with the masks were standing by for their game to start. Games go on all day because of the number of teams in the league.

Future La Liga Players

As we plowed on, we met John Jimenez, a young professional cyclist from Costa Rica. Note his right arm that is in a sling. A month ago, he crashed during a race. He broke his collarbone; he showed us the staples that closed the wound. Ouch. He’ll be back in the saddle next month. His dream is to ride in the Tour de France. Perhaps we will see on a broadcast in July.

Future Tour de France Cyclist

While making the descent from the mountain, we came across Kim and Duc from Germany. Kim is an internal medicine physician and Duc is a software engineer. They had made it to this point from Porto in six days whereas it took us ten. They were carrying full packs! We were not being competitive in making this comparison. Kim is 28 and Duc, 32. Our age differences brought home the point of youthful bodies. Both of them also had wonderful spirits to explore and experience the world. We wished them well when we met them later dining at our hotel restaurant. The Invisible Hand?

Kim and Duc

As arduous as this walk was, meeting these young people reinforced our belief that no matter how bad the news may be, these young people are following their dreams and in their different ways are contributing to the commonweal. We are in good hands.

Tomorrow, breakfast starts at nine because it is Sunday. Our walk is about 9 miles. Another welcome respite for weary bodies with high spirits.

Day 9 (18 March) 20 Miles. The Invisible Hand

We started at 8:45 this morning anticipating a long day. The skies were blue and I only wore my wool t-shirt. A local commented that the weather was unusual because March weather is bleak and rainy like the days before our tourist respite in Baiona. Seventy degrees plus blue skies? Something was afoot in the weather. We liked it just fine although we forgot to pack sun block. We bought some when we entered Vigo.

Our route took us along the shoreline of towns with sandy beaches and built up “boardwalks” like the Jersey shore. We passed our first palm tree. We walked on a few beaches; to exit one, we had a climb up a long stairway with steep steps. Glad we did hill training. We also saw an unofficial sign with 115.8 kms posted. I emphasize unofficial.

First Sighted Palm Tree
At The Beach
Stairwell To Just Rewards (More Walking)
A Unofficial Teaser

We were closing in on noon. We spotted a restaurant with outdoor tables. Who did we meet for the fourth time – our Canadian friends – Jennifer and John. They are walking free lance choosing hotels each day. They spent the previous night in the mountains and were on their way to Vigo but staying at a different hotel. Coincidence? Is there an Invisible Hand moving pilgrims on the Camino?

The Canadians From The True North

We pushed on to Vigo along a lovely path by the sea. We crossed under a major road. Within 50 meters, a construction fence blocked our path. We detoured up a path right into a highly urbanized part of the city with buzzing cars speeding in and out of the roundabouts. The detour probably added a mile to our distance.

Infinity

We were in a gritty part of the city along the harbor front. My iPhone lost power so we relied on Laird’s Waze to bring us home. Tired, feet hurting, our receptionists checked us in, and connected us to WIFI. Boots off, shower, and we were down for the count.

Our Receptionists: Reme and Susana

Two hours later (8:30 PM), we arrived at Morrofino for dinner – a Michelin cited restaurant serving good food at a good price – not a starred one.

We chose the menu with seven courses (two dessert courses of the seven) with an Albarino. Each course was small but very tasty. Every dish was excellent. We think the potato waffle with kimchee and smoked eel was outstanding. The kimchee taste was there but subtle. We had our first taste of ice cream combined with what the menu stated was blondie chocolate cream. Blond chocolate? I went with the flow.

Potato Waffle
The Albarino
Citrics With Blondie Chocolate Cream

When we arrived at opening time, we were one of two occupied tables. Like our experiences in the Middle East, we were wondering how this restaurant could stay afloat. The next arrivals came around 10 PM. We left around 11 PM, here’s what it looked like. Morrofino was hopping.

Dining at 11 PM

The city was busy as well. We took a deep breath and made it back to our hotel. I slept uninterrupted until 6 AM, a world record for me.

Day 8 (17 March) 10 Miles. Blue Skies Shining On Us

A night’s rest will do wonders. Laird sent me a text at 8 AM saying that he was good to go. We waited until 9 AM our agreed upon time because I had to finish yesterday’s blog. When we emerged from our hotel, blue skies were above.

Our breakfast was in a traditional coffee house on Baiona’s main street. What a change from a buffet and self-serve. I even peeled my own kiwi. The Camino does change one’s behavior. It was an excellent start to the day.

Desayuno In Baoina

Laird wanted to reach 10,000 steps for the day. By the time we went to dinner, we were over 20,000. How did this happen on a day of rest? We played tourists wandering to and fro around Baiona.

We met Jennifer and John hailing from near Ottawa, Canada whom we first met at dinner in A Guarda. This was our third encounter. We may meet again in Santiago. No Americans encountered yet on the Camino.

Jennifer and John From Ottawa

On our stroll of the corniche, we looked out onto the bay without having to lean into the wind. We enjoyed several moments of puppy love. It seemed like almost every walker was with a dog, or two.

Take Me Home
Life Is Good

We walked back into town to find a grocery and bakery for tomorrow’s lunch. We were successful. When leaving, we met this fellow and his 15 year old dog. He pointed to a tall statue on a nearby hill and said that must visit the Virgin of the Rock (Rocha). We climbed the hill, passed the stations of the cross, and look out on Baiona from the Virgin’s feet. We said to one another that we were grateful to be in good health – physically and mentally.

Go See The Virgin
Up the Hill
Station Twelve
View From The Top

On our way down, we gave our usual Ola to a fellow working by the ride of the road. He turned to us, smiled, and gave us thumbs up for walking the Camino. Though he could speak four languages, English or French was not one of them. Pablo was his name and I asked if I could take his photograph. Unfortunately, he was in the shadows but that didn’t away from the vibes of the moment.

Pablo

It was 1:30 PM – time for lunch at La Boqueria, outdoor seating. We wanted to go light so we ordered calamari frito. The pieces were just right – hot and crispy but not too crispy as to make them chewy. With beer, it was the right choice. The waiters asked where we were from and introduced us to Anna, Alejandra, and Miguel. They live in A Guarda; the husband/dad is a fisherman. Can you guess where Anna lived before moving to Spain? To be exact, Danbury, Connecticut.

Just Right Crispy Calamari
Anna and Joven

After a brief visit to our hotel, we spent the next three hours wandering the waterfront. We went aboard a slightly larger replica of the Pinta that had returned to Baiona in 1493. Next to the harbor is Monterreal Fortress that dates from the 11th Century. We walked around the top of its walls and at the bottom of its outer walls. We returned to our hotel following the Camino arrow for a Guinness in honor of St. Patrick. We did not forget.

Columbus’s Pinta
Fortress Tower
Baiona From The Walls
Following The Arrow
Guinness What Else

Our full day of touring ended back at La Boqueria indoors. We went Galician with Jesus being our guide. Casserole of langoustines and pulpo (octopus), cuttlefish wrapped in shredded wheat, Albariño, and a Galician cafe liquor. With warmed hearts, we strolled back to our hotel.

Jesus Our Guide
Galician Casserole
Galician Cuttlefish
Albariño
Cafe Licor
Night In Baiona

Day 7 (16 March) 23 Miles. The Yellow Brick Road – Macadam If Truth Be Told

We woke up with vim and vigor looking forward to what the guidebook stated as a near 20 mile walk. As noted before, these distance statements have underestimated what our Fitbit, Apple Watch, and Stepz programs show. We wanted to start as soon as we could because of our anticipated late arrival in Baiona.

We had decided to buy provisions for lunch in order to save time from eating in a restaurant. The Supermercado around the corner opened at 9 AM. So, we arrived for breakfast at 8 AM. Our concierge greeted us pointing to individual trays with plates, coffee cups with saucers, napkins, and utensils precisely laid out. We picked up our trays but before we could start, he pointed to plastic gloves that we had to wear when picking up our food and pouring coffee from the buffet. This was the first time that either us had encountered this safety procedure. People in Portugal and Spain wear masks indoors and many outdoors – even teens. No rulebreakers observed.

Gloved!
Our Concierge

At 9 AM, we bought our provisions to add to the bottle of local wine we purchased the evening before. A jar of Malle mustard, 100 grams of cheese, and a freshly baked baguette. We were good to go.

We found the clock tower in the town square and what appeared to the main church. We stopped in the church to stamp our passports. Social distancing is practiced here. We were right on the shoreline as we made our way out of town. About 5 miles out, we encountered a stylized distance marker that we would see throughout this walk – 159,130 km to Santiago. We were within 100 miles or so they say, whomever they are.

Distance Maker – 159,130 km

About a half mile later, our trail led us to the main road whose shoulder was wide and yellow. The Yellow Brick Road ( YBR). We walked the rest of the way on yellow except for a few off road diversions to see the shoreline or walk a path in the hills.

The Yellow Brick Road

We had several interesting moments along the YBR. We were nearly windblown off the path several times. Laird wanted to title this day – the Windiest Day of My Life. You may be able to feel the power of nature in the photo below. Our destination was in the far distance about 10 miles north where a lighthouse stands.

Raw Nature

On our way, we encountered some bulls in a pasture, and a pair of Norwegians who were doing a roundtrip walk from Porto to Santiago. They warned us to stay on the shoreline rather than doing the hill path. Too rocky and dangerous, they said. When Norwegians tell you something, you listen especially when one was 6’5” and looked liked a Nordic skier. What am I, all of 5’3” to say to that.

Ole!

On one of our diversions into the hills, Laird said that we should do an artsy shot of us. Here we are below. I added a photo of a shrine to the Camino. The Galician is flying stiffly in the breeze. When we descended the hill, we decided to have our lunch. We found a bench on the YBR that overlooked a small bay. We saw what we took for birds but they were surfers. They were pretty good. We both agreed that sharing lunch, slopping the mustard and mayo on bread, pouring our own wine, putting our garbage in bag in 40 mph winds, and watching surfers was the best moment of the trip.


Artsy Shot
Camino Shrine

After two hours of walking, we came to the lighthouse. We were turning east and looked back on the western shoreline that we had walked for six days. We still had three miles to go. They were a hard three miles – our vim and vigor was gone and only sheer determination drove us to get our boots off.

Turning Point
Looking Back

We made it by 7 PM. We were both beat. But right on cue, dinner perked us up. We went to Restaurante Mosquito, the attached restaurant of our hotel, yes, Pensione El Mosquito. Lucky for us, we are here in the off season when those buggers are not around.

We chose to share the Insalata In Casa, a surprising combination of smoked salmon, avocado, anchovies, and tomatoes. I was hoping that Laird did not like anchovies. Alas, he took his share. The paella mariscos was as described filled with what you see and with loads of squid, octopus, and clams unseen. A shiny pan was all that was left. With two draft beers each, we were contented and looking forward to our tourist day in Baiona.

Insalate In Casa
Paella Mariscos

Day 6 (15 March) 9 Miles. Passport Control, Where Are You?

We decided to take it a bit easy today because we had a short walk to complete. We started with a leisurely breakfast. Our server brought over the platters of meats/cheeses, breads/cakes, and fruits. We spooned our eggs and bacon. It was the largest breakfast of the walk. All of our breakfasts have been similar but this one was substantial. I chose to include before and after photos. Laird had both natas. We were fueled for today’s walk.

Last Breakfast in Portugal
No Donut Left Behind

We walked along the quay to the ferry dock. The gates were locked. However, the ferry captain came out and called for a private taxi on our behalf. A fellow came for us in a beat up car and drove us back beyond our hotel where his boat was docked. Twelve Euros later, six each, we beached in Spain. We jumped off the boat. I imagined a humble MacArthur walking up from waves proclaiming — I have returned. We were on shore coming like smugglers with bootlegged goods. No passport control in sight.

Sem Saida – No Exit
The Getaway
Laird Looking For Passport Control

We took a moment to bid Portugal farewell glancing back at the fort that stood on an island at the mouth of the Rio Minho.

Forte da Insua – Portugal

We continued to move forward past a forest of trees with example of pictographs from the area until we reached a restaurant by the A Guarda harbor. It was 2:00 PM though our stomachs were still on Portuguese time (GMT) – 1 PM, early given our previous lunch times the previous days. Beer, of course, but just a small slice of Spanish tortilla and a garlic toast. Just right, and 4,50 Euros. An excellent price given that we had ringside seats of the waves crashing into the breakwater.

Local Pictographs
Light Lunch

Within three minutes, A Guarda harbor appeared before us. We found Hotel Vil da Garde, rested, and had time to walk the town. We met a fellow who was the crew coach for the local women and men’s teams. We looked over his shoulder as he shouted encouragement, we think, to his crew of women’s four with coxswain.

A Guarda Historic Area
Coach and His Crew

We ended the night with a fine dinner of mussels and chicken (Laird), sardines and grilled fish (Ron), and a bottle of Albariño (note the “vegan” on the back label). What an advertising coup. It’s like labeling olive oil cholesterol free.

Now safely in Spain, we can publicly show one page of stamps in our pilgrim’s passports — the top row, our last hotel from Portugal and the boat “company” that took across the Minho; bottom row, our lunch spot and our current hotel.

The Humble Pilgrim’s Passport

We’ll need a good night sleep because another 20 miler is ahead of us tomorrow. And, we did.

Mejillones
Sardines
Grilled Fish
Albarinho

Day 5 (March 14) 18 mikes. Easy Peasy?

Our schedule stated that our walk today was to 19 km a bit less than 12 miles. The sky was overcast, 25 mph winds, mid-50s. We’ll arrive at our hotel by 3 or 4 PM in time for a happy hour beer. After a 20 under harsh conditions on Day 2? Easy peasy (we said that at mile 5).

We chose the seaside route that took us by two 16th Century forts and small towers that appeared every miles or so. The towers had no signs to tell us their purpose or age. They did add perspective to the distance we had traveled and distance ahead.

Sentinel on the Atlantic
Looking Back

The walk was very flat with wide paved paths until we came to a wild section where we broke out our walking sticks. The sticks helped our balance as we negotiated a narrow path down a steep hill. They also helped as we plowed through sand on the beach below. I waited to take this photo for safety reasons.

Nordic Skiing On Dry Land

We were about 11 miles into the walk. 2:30 PM and time for a lunch break. Out of the mist, we came upon a restaurant on the beach. Most of the dishes were seafood and in the 25 euro plus category. We could have opted for salads that were in the 10 euro range. Laird spotted hamburger on the kid’s menu (the only item). We were kids for an hour. The Portuguese love their fries! The salad was delicious – fresh lettuce and tomatoes. We had eaten a deconstructed BK Junior Wopper with bread on the side to have with tuna salad, olives, and local cheese that was brought beforehand. Two beers, full bellies, and 25 euros later, we were on our way with Laird’s Waze noting we had 6.8 miles to go. It was 3:10 PM and sunset is at 6:40 PM or so. We had some serious walking to do.

Deconstructed Jr Wopper

We made it by 6:30 PM. For an hour and a half, we could see the mountain that fronts, A Guarda, the coastal landmark of the Portuguese/Spanish border. Mount Santa Tecla is in the far background of the photo with the sheep. A wonderful walking path that had several walkers and dogs on it even with winds reaching 40 mph. A mile before reaching the hotel, more puppy love.

A Guarda
Scratching Ears

Tonight was our last in Portugal. We decided to pay tribute to two traditional Portuguese dishes, bacalhau (dried cod fish) and polvo (octopus).

Easy peasy – 18 miles by sunset.

Polvo
Bacalhau With Mashed Potatoes