Off Piste

Day 5 | Viana do Castelo to Vila Praia de Ancora

Neither of us slept well. Our bed was lined with those little granite cobbles that we’ve been walking on today and the pillows felt like they’d been stuffed with the remnants of yesterdays bread. To add to our comfort there was a very handy light feature on the headboard, just immediately behind the pillow. Everytime Gerry turned over all the lights would come on and we’d wake with a start. In the end he said he was too afraid to move so lay on top the granite trying to shift his weight around when his hips felt too sore. In short… it wasn’t the best night we’ve had.

Earlier in the evening we’d planned on going to an Indian restaurant for dinner. It was 900m from the hotel but as we walked the rain came down and the wind was still howling so we jumped into a Chinese restaurant instead. It was an OK meal but not as nice as we’d hoped and the owner was way more interested in the Brighton vs Arsenal match on the TV than two cold pilgrims.

Returning to the hotel we watched the end of a James Bond movie before sleep (obviously using that term loosly). In fairness to the hotel, it was a great location, a lovely building, helpful staff and the room was spotless… and the shower was magnificent. There weren’t many gluten free choices at breakfast but I carry a small GF loaf and had this with some of their homemade quince jam and a few slices of melon… Ger said the croissants were very good too. Apart from the bed, Hotel Jardim was actually very nice. However I would feel a bit heavy headed all day.

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Spirits Were Dampened

Day 4 | Povoa de Varzim to Viana do Castelo (27km)

It was raining when we left the restaurant last night and was raining as we walked out of town this morning. It was going to be a coat day, I guess if we walk in October we have to expect some wet weather. It was just as well today took is away from the coast and inland along the coastal camino (we’ve been walking the littoral camino sticking to the beaches).

As we left the beaches behind Gerry told me about his horrible dream. He said he was falling and a voice whispered to him unless you wake up you’ll fall down to hell. He said in his dream he tried so hard to wake but kept falling… until suddenly he woke with a start. Oddly he also said I had a bit of a night terror a little later and cried out in my sleep… although I have no recollection of this. Anyway I told Gerry we had to stop at a church and I’d say a little prayer for him.

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Big Sky

Day 3 | Povoa de Varvim to Esposende (23km)

Last night’s room picnic was a big success with plenty left over for our picnic today. Our hotel included breakfast so I also managed to stow away a hard boiled egg for my sandwich; I didn’t feel too guilty as I took my own gluten free bread for my toast.

We had a really lazy start to our day and we heard the clocks chime 9.00 as we left. I don’t think I’ve ever started a camino day so late but it felt wonderful. The hotel was just a few hundred metres from the coast so it was a mere hop skip and a jump and we were there.

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Slow Slow Quick Quick Slow

Day 2 | Perafita to Povoa de Varzim (24km)

Last night’s accommodation was spotless.  We had full use of the kettle so drank several cups of tea.  The shower was hot and fabulous… indeed it was all pretty great except the bed was sooo hard.  Neither of us slept too well and I think we’d pay for it later.  But at least this morning there was tea before we left.   No breakfast for me but Gerry had the second slice of cake that we’d been given yesterday.  He said he was quite relieved to discover it was cake because yesterday he thought it had been a really grainy piece of flan. 

We both showered and got ready for the day ahead.  Feet tape, bags packed and still on the road before 8.30am.  Of course Portugal is in a different time zone and next week we’ll need to be awake considerably earlier but for now we enjoy the extra hour.

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How was Your Day?

Day 1 | Porto to Perafita (17km)

When we decided to walk the Portuguese Coastal Caminho, one of Gerry’s requests was that we take our time. I first walked this route in 2017 and we rushed as we had limited time. Gerry had loved the photos and as he loves the coast and seafood and Portugal it became another route on our wishlist… but only if we could meander. Today we certainly meandered.

We woke before the alarm but only just… we’d set it for 8.00am so it wasn’t exactly an early start. I decided to change my toe taping routine, which I would regret a bit later but for this morning I used a compeed patch instead of my usual gel toe cap. It was a relaxed, almost lazy start to the day but that was exactly the mood we wanted.

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When is a walk…

Day 0 – Porto

When is a walk not a walk?  When it’s a walking tour!  Today was a non walking day. We arrived yesterday and meandered the streets of Porto.  Porto  feels a little down on its luck.  When I came in 2017 the streets were lined with fancy arty shops and glitzy windows inticing passing tourists to stop and shop..  They’re gone now and every other window seems closed but… there is reconstruction and renovation everywhere so it seems that Porto is again on the up.

Today we met a tour guide for a 3 hour walking tour of Secret Porto.  It was just us and the guide so we had his full attention.  He walked the narrow streets and he gave us a history lesson of this wonderful city.  We paused for drinks and photos and chocolate but mostly we walked. 

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