Today was a hot one with temps finally topping out around 87. We left Viana do Castelo in cooler weather but as we pushed along the side streets out of town the sweat was already trickling down. It was a quiet day with surprisingly few pilgrim encounters, maybe 6 or 8.
Once clear of Viana we found ourselves being directed along a series of connected quiet lanes with a few forest tracks included for good measure. The eucalyptus scent in the forest was ever present and quite pleasant. One thing that seemed a bit odd was during a break in Carreço, at the only bar in town, no one mentioned the fire that was still smoldering along the Camino trail.
We enjoyed our brief rest at the bar and shoved off not expecting anything out of the ordinary. As we entered the forest smoke was visible, hanging close to the ground and then rising with the coastal winds into the trees. It was apparent that a recent wild fire had burned through this area. It was also obvious that at one point the fire had burned right across the trail. All around us the charred landscape was actively smoldering enveloping our path in a smoky haze. It was a bit disconcerting to realize that a major fire had recently burned through and no one thought to mention it to those of us who were about to transit that area.
But, onward we went, now free of the charred and smoking landscape to enjoy the quietude of the lanes and forest paths that eventually led us into Vila Praia de Ãncora, our destination for tonight. We are booked into a basic tourist hotel right on the Atlantic coast about 13 kms south of the River Minho, which is the border between Portugal and Spain. Now with laundry done and dinner settled I am sitting in a seaside restaurant enjoying a final glass of tinto as I write this post. The sun is just slipping below the horizon signaling that another wonderful day on the Coastal Way is now officially over. Hopping over to Spain tomorrow. See you there.