Day 6. Viana do Castelo to Caminha
The alburgue in Viana was OK. It seemed at first very promising, walking through long convent like corridors… convents are always warm and clean. However once we arrived in the Albergue part of the building we were locked in on our side… And our side was spartan. But that’s the camino so you just roll with it.
We woke around 6.30 and managed to be ready and out the door by around 7.15am. (Although there was a tiny hiccup when I realised I left a bag behind… fortunately whilst still in the grounds)! Last night we only managed a walk around the corner to the closest bar so we never saw much of the town. As we left this morning we realised that we’d missed a little gem but we had a long day ahead so we couldn’t linger.
My ankle was no better this morning. I have no idea what I’ve done but as soon as I put any pressure on my foot I have a grating pain shoot up my leg… it’s worse if I turn or twist. Its really horrible and for the first half hour it was very painful but after a while it loosened and just became painful. As we walked out of town, passing the boats and the working port and an old fort I did started to question if I should stop. I have no idea what I’ve done but gosh it hurts. I’ve never had this kind of pain before so I have no idea what to do. We’ve had a few longish days and tomorrow is long too and we’re on a schedule which isn’t ideal… and I feel like I’m holding the other two back and that’s not a great feeling. Gosh this is a testing camino! I decide that I will walk until our breakfast stop and then decide.
As it happens breakfast was a good couple of hours away but somewhere en route, on one of the many cobbles, I rolled my ankle. Nothing bad, just a simple bend like you do when walking on bumpy stones. As I did it I said ouch out loud… but as I took the next few steps I realised that the burning pain had stopped. Sure my ankle still feels tender and sore and it’s all a bit puffy (could even show signs of a bruise) but oh joy that horrible pain just stopped. I could put my foot down and there is no pain. Oh the relief that washed over me. I’ve had that pain for 2 days and it was so horrible… if it wasn’t so tender I would have skipped for joy!
More pressing though was the need for breakfast. Today’s walk was the first time where we had no options.. we’d walked about 10 kilometres and we were running on empty. Sara got out the phone and found us a cafe a 14 minute walk inland a bit… we all crossed fingers and toes and wished really hard that it would be open… and yeah it was! The simple joy of coffee and a toasted sandwich!
As we ate we tried to decide what next. We’d walked off the beach trail but the coastal trail was close now too. But we did have a long day so we didn’t want to add any extra kilometres if we could avoid it. In the end we followed the main road for a few hundred metres and then weaved our way back to the seaside.
Jaqui’s foot has been playing her up too and she was really suffering so as soon as we hit the coast we stopped on a bench and she changed her shoes. Sara carried the spare shoes and I took some of the contents of Jaquis pack… we figured that if we could help lighten the load it might help with the foot pain. And the good news is that it seemed to do the trick! Yeah!
On we walked always beside the sea although the boardwalk is no longer present. This part of the path is under construction so sometimes it’s a sandy path, sometimes stoney, sometimes cobbles and sometimes wooden… but the sea is always there. The only thing I miss is yellow arrows. Google maps is great but there is a certain comfort in those arrows.
Just before our lunch stop we saw a band all set up for a concert in an old fort beside the sea… but they were playing only to the waves. As we got closer we could see a small crew and we guessed that they were filming… we’ve no idea who they were but it looked exciting. We did consider the possibility of photo bombing the filming but we couldn’t get close… shame as I think we would have added something interesting 😀
On we walked along the beautiful sandy beach. This time we walked close to the waters edge and watched the waves roll in. The clouds had blown away and the sun was back too… we have been so lucky with the weather. Our stop was Âncora and we found a little cafe overlooking the beach. First things first though was to get my shoes off; my feet are so footsore. I’m wearing my Teva sandals but I have blisters on my little toes from where I’ve been walking with a limp; and I think the odd walking style has just been hard on my feet. We’re only really a few days in but I just ache.
We had a lovely meal though and such a veiw! I messaged Gerry to say my ankle was better but my blisters weren’t… he joked about yet another international rescue mission but decided that perhaps Portugal was too far even for him. However I did decide that come what may perhaps a hotel would be a nice treat tonight.
So we paid the bill, which as usual was ridiculously cheap and we headed off once more. We waved to the Canadians who had stopped a few cafes down from us and we meandered our way out of town. It was to be yet another beautiful walk beside the sea but this time we could see the mountaims of the Spanish border ahead… In a couple of days we will be in Spain!
We arrived in Caminha. Me with my aches and pains and blisters and Jaqui with her painful feet. As we reached the town square I bid cheerio to the girls… they went in search of the albergue as they are made of stronger stuff… and I checked into my swish hotel. Oh and it was a good choice.
I had a long hot shower and did the laundry and I pondered the last few days. Every time I’ve walked the camino I’ve started with a plan but I’ve never stuck to it… and over the years I’ve learned to let go and that simple following the arrows is a joy… and I’ve learned to listen to my body and my feet. Sara asked today which way we should go and I said we should take the path of least resistance; I joked and said which way would water go. As I popped and dressed my blisters and cleaned the cut on my knee I did question what I’ve been doing limping along in pain. I’ve forgotten the rules.
When we met up for dinner I told the girls that I was going to take it a bit easier. The plan we have for tomorrow is another 30km… although I’ve read it’s more like 32km. Everyone says you should walk your own walk… which isn’t easy when you walk in a group and when you have time constraints but if I am going to get to Santiago in one piece I have to take care of my feet and my ankle.
So I’ve told the girls to walk on. I’ll either take a taxi 12km down the road and meet up in a town on the route… or maybe I’ll rest here a day and catch them up… or maybe I’ll walk two shorter days and then catch them up. The thing is we know that we have to be in Santiago for our flight home next Tuesday morning… but between now and then we can follow the arrows and just see where they lead… and I’ve paid for breakfast in my swish hotel and I should make the most of it! I know it’s a little naughty but admit it… you’d do the same wouldn’t you?