Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Day 6 Valença to O Porrino June 23

I am still 2 days behind on my blogs, but at least I am not getting further behind. Maybe I will be able to get this one finished and posted today (June 24th) and then I will only be 1 day behind tomorrow.

Tuesday was another good walking day, both cool and cloudy and a shorter distance to be covered - under 20 km! I was able to sleep a little later and left just after 7:30, but lost an hour when I crossed the border with Spain since there was a time change between countries. So I did start much later than usual.

The route had us walk through the fortress on our way out of town and out one of the doors on the river/north side.

I said goodbye to Portugal but not at this bar.
Across the bridge then into Spain

After I crossed the river I was able to get this zoomed shot of the Fortress at Valença, high above the river.

The next stop was Tui and of course we needed to climb up the hill to see the Cathedral and I was confident that is where the arrows would lead us. And of course they did.

We started to see distance markers which were oddly precise and placed at random distances. We started to look for the 100 km marker. I remember the great joy in seeing that marker on the Frances route. Something worth celebrating 100 km to go. But not yet.

Adriaan did a stone exchange, take a stone, leave a stone.

The next big decision coming up was whether to take the new official route or the old route and the point at which the route splits in two was fast approaching. There had been many posters along the way in the past 20 km warning us about the route ahead. I say warn because there was a feud going on. The route somewhere past Tui to O Porrino used to go through a very unappealing area - industrial, on road and just not nice. So the local Amigos of the Camino decided to change the route and made a nice path through woods and beside a stream. Unfortunately, along the industrial patch were a few bars and restaurants and they resented losing the pilgrim business. So the feud started. We were warned that the yellow arrows marking our way may be painted over! Something to think about- which way to go?

We were dying for a coffee and that in itself may have caused us to take the nasty route, but an angel in the form of a Spanish woman named Fatima appeared with - you guessed it - she had coffee! She and her daughter ran an informal cafe in a garden beside a house (not sure if it was her house). She had coffee and fruit for donativo! We enjoyed our coffee sitting on the grass. There was also a clean and well equipped toilet! After she served us coffee she gave us a small sip of the local liquor- a yellow sweet firewater, which reminded me of a certain Hospitalaro in El Cubo de Vino, when I was there in 2013, who served the same stuff. We met a number of other pilgrims there from Brasil, and I bet she did a pretty good business and her expenses were low. :). Incidentally, there seem to be a bunch of new folks on this route.

When we got to the point of our route choice, it became quite clear that the new official route arrow painter had been there more recently than the "paint black over yellow arrows" guy. When you examined the signs it seemed that they had been painted over many times as well as new ones added which in turn had been painted over. It made the route even more obvious with plenty of yellow arrows with black background.

We were surprised how far along the route signs had been over painted with black. There also was another point nearer the town where the sign feud started anew and the yellow arrows on black background began again.

The path was great and for the most part was through woods and followed a small river/stream. There was a bar/cafe further along the way and we were able to stop and have a cerveca.

Before we knew it we were at the Albergue at O Porrino. Adriaan carries on as he was going to the village of Moss about 8 km further.

The Albergue sided the river and was just on the edge of the small town. For some reason today both baby toes blisters got big today, so I made a trip to the Farmacia and got iodine and some Compeed bandage and set about piercing the blisters so the fluid could escape and ease the pain when I walked. We don't have Compeed in Canada - it is a special bandage which is more like a thick second skin you apply to blisters. It worked well, the next day I was walking nearly pain free!

We never did see the 100 km sign marker!

Tomorrow I am headed to Redondela a mere 16 km!


  1. I think I would prefer the scenic route over the coffee route ....

  2. Yes, me too! Seems there is often a more scenic route to be found.

  3. Always an adventure. ..looks fun though I'm sure the lady enjoyed you going her way!