I am writing this blog in catch up mode. It has been a very difficult few days, but (spoiler alert) at Day 5 I have made some changes and the weather has cooled and I am happier and more optimistic about the days ahead.
The journey today started ok with me first walking for an hour then me getting a cafe con leche and toastada, to which I added my peanut butter. A good breakfast by my definition so the day started well. It was a very hot day, so I had my usual arsenal - a bandana to wear wet under my hat, a microfibre face cloth to wet and use to wipe my face when I started to feel overheated and lastly my water/gel cooling neck kerchief ready in a Baggie wetted with a cup of water. It was going to be a hot one today - maybe 35 degrees.
All was well as I walked along the coast beachfront until I lost sight of the arrows - or maybe the arrow guy hadn't done a good enough job - in any case I had oat the arrows and was just following the coast - except there was no coast path.
I got a bit annoyed as I wound my way through the suburban streets walking a ways north then going down to the beach every once in a while to see if there was a path along the coast. I guess I could have just walked along the sand on the beach but that was hard going and the nice vents in my hiking boots soon filled with sand.
The saving grace was finding a beach access point with a map and a toilet, which by now, after a few hours of morning walking, an essential thing, given that it was a residential area. The map implied that there was a path to be walked and even though it didn't mention the camino, I assumed it was the way.
|Can you tell that this is a path?|
The path was sand bUt a bit easier to walk on than open beach. After following this trail for about 30 minutes it came clear that there was a river ahead emptying into the sea and no bridge in sight. I had to backtrack an pd head inland to find a bridge. Hot and peeved, I figured I lost over an hour due to the missing or just missed arrows.
I was able to find the trail of yellow arrows at the bridge and it led me to a stretch of busy road then vanished again. I was really stressed as I walked along this busy road - a main thoroughfare with a posted 80 km. speed - because there was barely a foot of shoulder which sometimes disappeared or had bramble bushes biting at my ankles. I wondered if the arrow painter had really chosen to have us wall this busy highway or if I had missed an arrow putting us on a less travelled street. I was no a happy Perigrino at this point. I also noticed that Spaniards do not move over to give pedestrians more room, they just zoom by with very little room to spare.
The arrows suddenly appeared and we were put on a nature trail going down, down, down, So yes, the arrow makers had put us on an incredibly dangerous road.
We went way down to cross a stream via a pretty stone bridge. Then we went up, up up... In the 30+ degree heat. High up to a ridge where there was a church.
I stopped for a rest break and to admire the pretty view of the sea and Viana do Castelo in the distance from up on the ridge.
Then we plunged back into the forest path winding our way around the small mountain through the woods for an hour's walk in dappled shade (yes!) and the heat and humidity. If it weren't so hot I might have enjoyed this bit.
Then we came out into civilization and wound our way through country roads like the one shown here. It seems everyone walls their property to there are always walls on each side of the road, sometimes with no shoulder at all. Not too much of a problem now as the traffic died off as I think most were home having their siesta. I however had been walking since just after 6:30 in the morning and it was now approaching 4:30 in the afternoon. Those path meandered and wandered from village to village and I was just about to drop when reached my destination. I don't think I could have walked another kilometre.
The town of Viana do Castelo is interesting and Happened to be having a Medieval festival. Lots of fun after I showered and resented and recovered from my day.