Day 6 Rubiães – Tui
Last night’s alburgue was another little gem and my room had underfloor heating to ensure my toes stayed toasty. And because it was ensuite I enjoyed the luxury of a morning shower too. I slept well enough but woke a few times as the rain was coming down so hard on the roof. I pulled the covers up and wondered how bad the trail would be in the morning.
We woke at 7.00 and had a cup of tea before packing up and heading off. I feared the worst but actually the sky was clear and the rain had stopped. Unlike yesterday the paths weren’t flooded and it was a really pleasant walk into town through misty woods.
We passed a lady from Italy and said hello… We crossed yet another medieval bridge before finding ourselves outside yesterday’s mini Market. We decided to stop for coffee… Sheila had coffee and I choose hot chocolate. We chatted with the Brazilian couple before heading off once more.
We followed the path beside a river and stepped aside to let a farmer pass with his flock. Sheila started herding a few stragglers at the rear but they weren’t following her French commands.
The sky brightened and I quickened my pace. I told Sheila I’d see her at the next bar. We walk at different speeds… Probably due to our height difference but also because sometimes I can really pick up my pace and this morning it just felt like one of those times.
It was just wonderful. The path was easy, the forest ablaze in autumnal colours, the birdsong just right, no rain and neither too hot nor too cold. It was just the right sort of everything to walk. I decided I wanted music. I couldn’t think of a song so looked on Spotify… What can you suggest I said out loud. I scrolled down through a few songs and Georgia caught my eye but the one offered was Louis Armstrong… No no no that wouldn’t work. I searched… Yes… That was better… A little Ray Charles to accompany me through this beautiful forest.
I stopped to wander around a church and a little doggie came over to say hello. I thought he wanted a little treat but I had none… However he started herding me back to the arrows. I’d gone back to the road by mistake but should have carried on behind the church… Thanks little doggie.
Onwards I walked through more forest. Did I mention already how nice it was? I could hear voices behind and thought that I could hear Sheila so I guessed she’d met another Pilgrim to chat to.
Far too soon my forest walk ended and I arrived in a village. I could see a thick bank of clouds ahead and really hoped it was moving away from us. I stopped at the first bar and ordered a drink. The voices I heard soon arrived but instead of Sheila it was two lads from the UK. Two minutes later Sheila also appeared and we sat and drank and exchanged usual Pilgrim introductions. The chaps left and I decided I should make a move before I got too settled. Sheila however ordered another coffee so we said cheerio and agreed to meet in the first most obvious bar in the old town of Valenca. I left Sheila to enjoy her coffee and set off in search of that Georgia feeling.
Alas it never really returned. It was a pleasant enough but not as wonderful as earlier. The path lead through villages which were all very pretty but not the forest. I was admiring one modern house when an old chap came out and invited me in for coffee. I didn’t really understand him but he kept saying cafe cafe… Come come… Ten minutes only… I think he was pointing to the sky and suggesting rain but I declined with several obrigados and smiles. The Portuguese really are so kind.
Onwards I walked into the suburbs and the rain started. I walked on but it really was getting heavy so I dived into a bar and had another hot chocolate and hoped that it would ease and maybe Sheila would catch me. Neither happened so I braved the elements and continued.
I’d leapfrogged the English guys and asked if they’d seen Sheila… They hadn’t but I later learned she dived into a very posh hotel and had a coffee.
Onwards in the rain through the modern part of town I could see the huge fortress walls rise up ahead. I thought back to my last visit here… It had been sunny then. I entered through one of the gates and popped out beside the tourist information. Then I pondered where best to wait for Sheila. I climbed up on the walls to see if I could see her but it was raining really hard so I decided to head into the town. Turning the corner I spotted two cafes… That seemed an obvious place and was about to sit and wait when Sheila wandered around the corner. We shared an omelette and both looked out the window in disbelief as the rain just emptied into the square outside.
We ate and drank and watched the rain until we decided there was no choice but to get our coats on and go. Oh it was wet and cold. Rain fell from the sky and also from the eaves of every house as we walked down the narrow streets. We followed the arrows, head down and trying to keep as dry as possible. We left the old citadel through another tunnel and dropped down onto the road below. We turned left and there it was. Sheila didn’t realise but I remembered. We’d reached the border. I have to say Portugal was certainly giving us a memorable departure. It has rained everyday but on the whole we’ve dodged to real downpours until today.
And so we crossed the mighty Minho River that separates Spain from Portugal. The rain poured and the wind howled and before we knew it we were in Spain. We didn’t linger. It was too cold and wet. We edged towards the old town. The world turned a pale grey as the rain drained all colour. The streets became rivers and I stopped caring and splashed through the water just hoping to find our alburgue.
We reached the cathedral but didn’t linger. Onwards and onwards to our hostel. Alburgue Convento de Camino. It was built in the 13th century and is now privately owned by the grandson of the man the restored it.
Its beautiful for sure and the bed is super soft. But first we decided to find a shop… Then we could settle for the night without having to go out again in the rain. We left our packs and went in search of supplies.
And so I’m here now in bed just about getting the warmth back in my toes. I’m listening to Ray Charles and trying to ignore the rain. The forecast tomorrow is better. I’m not sure it could get worse… Although perhaps its best I don’t tempt fate. We made it to Spain and my fitbit says 24.9 kms
Ps my phone has a little slow motion photo feature… Not sure how this looks but this was our veiw at lunchtime