Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Day 4 Viana do Castelo to Caminha June 21

Still trying to catch up on blogs and so today I will tell you about 2 days ago. The night spent in Viana was great and the Albergue (at 6 EUR) was pretty good. The Hospitaleros were a couple from Porto who were volunteering weekends at various Albergues in Portugal. It was great to be given a glass of tea and a sweet bun when I arrived and slowly revive from the ordeal of such a hot day and 28+ km. After recovery I went out to see the town and ran into the Japanese pilgrim Aoki who was heading off in a different direction in the morning. He just couldn't take the uncertainty of route and the lack of bars and cafes to stop, so he was taking a side trip for a day (something about an antique train south of here) and then was going to transfer to the interior route. We had a cerveca and said Bom Caminha and I went back to the Alberge for an early night.

The Carmelitas Convent in Viana do Castelo

I left just after 7, a bit later than normal because they only open the yard gate at 7 and there is no way to leave early. I was assured that the way was well marked with yellow arrows and so I was hopeful that it would be an easier day. That plus it was a tad cooler than yesterday and so I was optimistic that the day might be a bit better than yesterday.

As far as the route was concerned it was easy peasy - no problem finding the route. There were really 2 parts to the route. The first part was up in the hills high above the ocean and then we winded down from the hillside to the town of Ancora which on the sea and from there we followed tight to the coast.

The first part of the route dipsy doodled up and down hills but kept high in the hills. When we could see the sea below it was spectacular. The route was about 50% down walled lanes, without a bit of breeze and only a view of the sea every so often. The rest was a was a beautiful walk though woodlands. I think I have said this before, but again - if it were just a bit cooler I would have enjoyed it more. I guess I have to add, that with nearly 30 km of walking in the day's plan, it was just a bit too far to stop and enjoy the streams and dangle my feet in and read a book for an hour or two, which is what I would have loved to do.

Every so often a dog would appear at the top of the wall and bark and growl fiercely. Sometimes the lanes were sunken and the property on one or both sides was considerably higher. At one point I wondered if the dog was going to jump down at me.

Sometimes the arrows would navigate you down a path to a park or a water tap and then back to the route. I stopped and sat in the shade at the picnic table at this rest stop.

There was a good amount of forest in this first half. The shade was welcomed.

Magical doors to abandoned estates


There were a couple of beautiful streams which were very inviting.

The theme changed quickly once I reached Ancora. The beach was to die for and the town reminded me a little of Wasaga or maybe Sable beach north of Toronto. It was a pretty typical beachside resort town.

It wasn't long before the route left the town and followed the beautiful coastline for about 10 km to the destination, a town called Caminha.

You can see the Spanish town of A Guarda which is right beside the pointy bit in the background of this picture.

In the town just before Caminha, there was a man with a camera gesturing to me from his balcony and he took my picture. It turns out that he was the arrow painter for this section of the Camino. He provided more specific directions to the Albergue ahead and talked about the Costa route above Caminaha. It as nice to see someone so excited about helping pilgrims. He said he posted all his Perigrino pictures on Facebook and identified them as to the nationality.

Caminha was a 3+ km walk down a major sidewalI after my chat to the arrow guy. Not infrequently we pilgrims are treated to a big 5ft wide sidewalk out in the country of no reason other than the road is well travelled by pilgrims. We had this nice walk the whole way into Caminha all the way from the previous town of Moledo.

Finally the town centre in Caminha. The town is on the very large river Rio Minho at the point where it empties into the Atlantic. A ferry boat takes passengers to A Guarda in Spain and there is a bridge over part of it to land still in Portugal and on the way to Valenca, which will be my destination tomorrow. Today was another 28+ km day and the forth day ending in near exhaustion. I didn't arrive until nearly 7 pm and I had been travelling 12 hours at that point. I have decided to go to the interior route where the distances are shorter and there are more bars and cafes along the way, as well as more frequent Albergues. Tomorrow will be another 28 km day,mount thereafter the distances are more in the 20 km range. I will find that much easier.
The Albergue at Caminha is on the river in the basement of a community building.


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures , the beach looks so nice I would of jumped in...nice to see people are so friendly there.