Day 7 | Ponte de Lima to Pencene
This blogs is a little late but that’s because there’s always a story when we walk the camino… and this walk is no different!
Our Casa in Ponte de Lima was really excellent… we’d thoroughly recommend it. We had breakfast from the remains of yesterday’s shopping and had plenty for a packed lunch. Indeed we ended up taking a rather lot with us that morning. We left later than we had planned because Gerry was feeling a little off; nothing major but he wasn’t 100%. So we took our time and had an extra cup of tea.
The clock struck 9.00 as we walked away from Ponte de Lima. It was raining and I felt a twinge of sadness. The last time I walked here it had rained almost everyday… so much so that the trail was lost under water where rivers had broken their banks and we had to find alternative paths to walk. I was hoping for sunshine this time but instead we had clouds. So we left town feeling under par and I felt cheated by the weather… I also started to feel a little ill myself.
We came to a section of path that was just wet, sticky mud and we had to make our way along a raised section of uneven slippery paving stones. It was slow going and we both felt kind of puffed and weary and were very happy when that section ended. We walked on in silence. Neither of us knowing that we both felt out of sorts. After a few kilometres I told Gerry I felt like someone had put rocks on my backpack. I was cross that we had brought so much extra food with us… I did that once before on the via de la plata and paid for the extra weight all day. We walked on but gosh I felt terrible and my pack felt like it was pulling me down.
At the first opportunity we stopped for a drink and to make use of the facilities and we jettisoned anything in our pack that wasn’t needed (like a carton of milk for Gerrys morning cuppa and a 300 gm pot of salt another of herbs de provence… and several other items that had no place in a Rucksack!). Gerry said I looked a bit sickly and pale; I was cold and clammy and my head was pounding and I had an underlying feeling of nausea. We walked on and my dear husband took the extra lunch food that I was carrying and put it in his own pack… he also took my spare shoes. Honestly my pack must have weighed less than 3kg at that point and yet I still struggled. I even emptied it to make sure I hadn’t left something heavy in it… I just can’t explain why it felt like such a dead weight.
Onwards we walked. Gerry confessed he also felt bad and it slowly dawned on us that maybe we were both suffering from the not so great supper the previous evening at Ancora. I had said at the time that I felt my pork had been cooked a few times too many and Gerry really didn’t like his cod. When we left that restaurant I’d joked as we walked to the hotel about how bad the meal had been and I sang ” when will I see you again” as we walked home… it wasn’t so funny today. I think maybe we both had a touch of mild food poisoning. But regardless we kept walking and at least the rain stopped.
The stage today was the one of the hardest days on this walk but it’s not hard compared to day one of the Frances or the Norte but there was still a bit of a climb. It shouldn’t have been a problem for us… just a few weeks ago I took a group from St Jean to Burgos, walking over the Pyrenees, my legs should be strong and yet I felt terrible. We stopped often. Trying to make jokes and make light of how we felt but honestly we felt awful. I sat on a rock part way along the trail. Gerry said he thought I looked so ill at that point that he’d have to try and find a taxi or some way of getting me down off the trail as I was such a pale shade of green.
Looking back now I’ve no idea how we coped on that day but slowly slowly we made it up the hill and down the otherside. We stopped at ever opportunity and apart from feeling ill we also missed the coast and questioned our reasons for coming inland. We’d walked through a lot of forest today; farmed forest too which was just pine and eucalyptus. It was hard walking today.
We reached a village and stopped again to rest. As we left I noticed a small flock of sheep in a field and two of the group had their feet tied with string… I guess to stop them making a run for it? i said that’s how I’d felt all day… someone had tied my feet together! As we watched it became clear that the ram was feeling rather amorous and was making a nuisance of himself with one of the ladies. She was clearly having none of it and as he sniffed she wee-d on his head. He moved pretty quick but his face left us in hysterics… it was like the poor chap was gagging. He was clearly not impressed but the ewe wandered off in a kind of victorious fashion and the ram was left to stew. We laughed… for the first time that day we laughed until we cried. Even looking at the photo we laughed again… its the simple things that amuse us and we needed some laughter today.
On we walked through Rubais and into Pencene. We’d only really walked around 24km and only had about 600m elevation in total but gosh we were totally and utterly exhausted. We checked in but it was 5.30pm… much later than planned. I made Gerry a tomoato and egg salad for dinner and then we crashed. We were in bed asleep before 8 o’clock and slept soundly. Today wasn’t our most favourite camino day ever. Although the weather improved I felt like I’d seen it before… and I think it will be a while before I can eat pork … and I suspect Ger feels the same about Cod!
Ps Big hooray for Casa de Capela in Percene… another glorious little hotel with big comfy bed, gardens, pool, kitchen, lounge and lots of quiet corners to sit in the grounds… such a shame we couldn’t use it.