Day 3. Labruge to Póvoa de Varzim
The albergue in Labruge was very nice but freezing cold. After we showered we sat and shivered until we could stand it no more. We went in search of dinner… the Canadians and their Spanish friend had already decamped to a coffee shop but had told us to walk back towards the beach to Rubens II…apparently the place to eat.
We arrived just before 7:00 but he was already open and oh it was toasty warm. We had soup and fresh rolls and a huge plate of chicken and fish and salad and rice. The girls shared the house rosé and I had a coke… all for the princely sum of 25€. It was an absolute bargain considering the amount of food we had… definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
We jogged our way back to the albergue and the local kit fit class was well underway in the room next door. We wondered if their energy had warmed the albergue because it wasn’t as cold as when we left. We sorted our things for the morning and the other pilgrims returned and we settled down for the night.
At some stage in the early hours I was woken by a strange whimpering. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was; it sounded like a young child talking/crying quietly. As I woke up a bit more I realised it was Jaqui… she wasn’t crying nor was she talking… it was more of a squeek. .. Sara had also heard it and we’ve had considerable fun today teasing Jaqui… and we’re still not bored with it.
The room grew colder as the night went on. I did manage to sleep but woke this morning to see Jaqui emerge from her sleeping bag like Nanuk of the north, wrapped up in her hoody and fleece with the hood secured tightly around her head… haha the joys of albergue life!
We readied ourselves for the day as our Canadian friends tucked into breakfast. We prefer to walk a little before stopping but we were surprised to bump into them 5km down the road… ahead of us? We’d walked back the 1km to the coast but apparently there was a shortcut.
They walked on and we stopped for breakfast. Hot chocolate and toast, which turned out to be ham and cheese toasted sandwiches but no matter because they went down very well. We ate in silence watching Portuguese breakfast TV with their version of mystic meg reading the tarot cards for callers… and when we were done we walked on… always on the boardwalk and always beside the sea.
As we walked we took photos of our shadows on the sand; and made fun of Jaqui’s squeeky dreams and just generally acted rather childishly in the morning sun. We watched the little fishing boats bob up and down in the swell… they were there one minute and gone the next. “They’re really small aren’t they” Jaqui said and instantly I thought of Father Ted and his explanation of big and little cows…. I explained the principle to Jaqui and she just rolled her eyes and grinned. In short we had a fun morning… always walking on this endless boardwalk and always beside the sea.
Just as we arrived in Vila de Conde yellow arrows directed us away from the coast. We had to get around the estuary to a bridge. As we’re not following the camino it was nice to see those familiar arrows. We walked into the suburbs passing some rather smart houses. A huge dog jumped up and almost over the gate and gave us a start… but he was very soppy so never barked, he just panted and looked at us with a bit of a smile as we walked by.
Vila de Conde is lovely old town. We stopped off at the tourist information for a sello and we wandered around the church before heading onwards, still following the arrows. We walked through the narrow steets until it opened up to modern suburbs and a park.
We spotted a cafe in the park and decided it was lunchtime. There was no menu the choice was fish or pork… I choose pork and the girls fish. It was another feast for just 5€ each… and we had soup to start. We never intended to eat a full lunch but at least we wouldn’t need to eat tonight.
On we walked through the residential quarter. We knew we weren’t far from the coast but the camino was directing us across country… and it made a nice change. But towns lull you into a false sense of security. You think it’s safe easy walking but in reality there are hazards everywhere. For example a small kerb when you’re not expecting it… and suddenly you’re down on your knees cursing your own stupidity… and then you realise that it hurts and then you realise that you’ve opened up that cut and skinned off all the new skin… Really? I mean really? Come on! Give a pilgrim a break!
I could see the blood seeping through my Skins and I left a bloody knee print on the pavement. Fortunately we were only 30 minutes from the albergue. I was so cross.
We walked on past a full cafe… one chap called across “hey baby hello” he called. He waved and I waved back. I laughed to the girls; I might fall over a lot but I’ve still got it…to which Jaqui replied “yeah but did you see him? You should be careful with what you’re pulling” which caused more laughing and good humour.
At the albergue, the first job was to get my Skins off and check the damage. It was as I feared… Bother! It’s not fair! I showered and we covered the broken skin in Betadine and dressings. At least we’re not going to be scrambling over rocks and cliffs and I could clean the wound quickly… please everyone keep your fingers crossed that all will be well!
We did our washing and changed and went in search of coffee and cake… we walked along the seafront and watched the sun sparkling on the sea before turning back to find a cafe….and oh my goodness we found a great one! Three cakes and six coffees later we rolled out high on the sugar.
We stopped in a supermercado for some fruit and ended up with crisps and a bottle of vinho verde! The chap behind the till kindly opened the bottle for us and we wished him him a good evening and meandered back to the albergue; it’s only 6:00pm but we reckon we’ll be asleep well before lights out.
What a day! Bom Dias everyone!