6. Porto Covo – Vila Nova de Milfonts
Our hostel last night was lovely. It was the closest we’ve come to an albergue. There were lots of other walkers and travellers and it was nice to feel part of a little community.
There was a fabulous roof terrace where we could watch the sunset over the sea… or rather the village rooftops beside the sea… but no matter because the sky was a beautiful creamy peach colour and this combined perfectly with the white houses and the very very blue painted windows and shutters.
Porto Covo is a pretty little town. All whitewashed and the houses look like they are tumbling down to the sea. It’s beautifully kept and as with everywhere else in Portugal, people seem cheerful and happy with life… this is a nice place.
Our host took out his maps and showed us the best places to walk. He showed us a couple of shortcuts and reassured me about the heights and the cliff walking. He talked us through the rest of the route and the coming weather forecast… 36c + with a big risk of storms.
Once we’d sorted our chores we went in search of a supermarket. Tomorrow is going to be the hardest day. We’ll be walking on sand most of the day so we expect to walk at half our normal pace. There are a couple of stops but there is a large 12ish kilometre stretch in the middle with nothing. The weather is very hot so we’re taking no chances; we bought plenty to drink and supplies for breakfast and lunch. Our plan was to leave at seven… just about the same time as the sun wakes up. The earlier we leave the more cool walking time we will have.
After our lunchtime feast of hake roe and cuttlefish we decided to have something lighter for dinner… soup and a small salad. Gerry has a terrible cough. It’s not a cold and he fine when walking but once he stops he says he can feel his sinus getting irritated and he starts coughing… it’s so bad at times he can hardly speak… so he’s resorted to writing notes instead; It makes for interesting dining.
On our way back to the hostel we passed a shop selling the most unusual bottle openers… postively pornographic! As you can imagine this caused much giggling from us… why are we such children?
So we slept. We have no complaints about Ahoy Porto Covo except that we had no mattress on our bed; just the wooden slats and an ikea mattress topper… I know because I have the same one on my mattress at home. (When I typed this first it read no Mates on the bed… and Gerry giggled a lot as he proof checked for me).
We did sleep but we both woke frequently to rub and sooth sore shoulders. I turned the alarm off at 5:50am. I was awake so I may as well prepare for the day ahead.
My knee is really sore this morning. When I changed the dressing it looked a bit angrier than yesterday. I sprayed it with plenty of antiseptic and when that was dry I added the usual light covering of antibacterial cream… then I covered it and taped it in place. Then I moved to my blister care… this morning routine is more than a little tedious!
Once I’d finished playing nurse we dressed and washed and made ready… it was actually just before seven when we left and it was still dark. But as we left town retracing our steps back over the little beach the sky grew lighter and lighter and we easily found our first marker.
We’ve left the Historic Trail and we’ve joined The Fisherman’s Trail for five days. We’ve read this coastline is stunning and I am so looking forward to this part of the walk. However about two kilometres in we reached the hardest section… it wasn’t the path that was hard… it was the choice we had to make.
My knee is really sore. We are having to scramble up and down the paths a bit on this section and I am struggling to bend my knee. We stopped and looked ahead. If I carry on and my leg gets worse we could be miles from help. We peeled back my dressing to take a look and to be honest it wasn’t pretty. We decided to walk back to the road and rejoin the Historic path from yesterday and then walk on to a small restaurant. Once there, we decided there was nothing for it but to get a taxi to the next town. I needed to get my knee checked.
We asked Mr Taxi Driver to stop at a large pharmacy on the main street in Vila Nova de Milfontes. The lady spoke English and she took one look at me knee and said I needed the doctor. We were given directions and off we trotted. There is a little clinic with a doctor who visits daily but the nurse saw me immediately. There was a fair amount of tutting and frowning… in her head I wondered if she was just saying euww. She took some photos and I guess sent these to the doctor. Then she set to work cleaning the wounds… ouch is the only appropriate word for this blog… best I say no more. Poor Gerry stood in the corner looking at the wall trying not to faint.
So now my knee is clean and redressed… and throbing like crazy. We must return at six to see the doctor; I need antibiotics as I have an infection in the wound. We also have to go back for more cleaning with the nurse tomorrow morning and maybe again after this too. In short there will be no more walking today.
There was nothing for it. I thought back to Mr Swiss and his theory on worries and problems… I can’t change this so don’t worry.
We wandered down to the seafront for coffee. Gerry did the ordering and there is always a high probability that he will come back with cake. He came back with a smile… I’ve bought you a treatlet he said… “there was a choice of sweet pastry things or tomatoes and the pastry goes better with coffee”. Gotta love this chap.
So we sat in the sun in the shadow of an old castle looking out at the crystal clear waters of the small estuary below and the stunning atlantic coast beyond. All around us in the old town are more whitwashed houses trimmed with blue or yellow and dripping with bougainvillea. The coffee is hot and milky and the pastry is sweet and buttery. If you had to have an enforced rest day anywhere, I’m thinking that there are very few places that could be nicer.