Continuing to improve

Another blue sky day greeted us as we departed Esposende. We jumped ahead to the village of Belinho which was to give us about a 17 km day. We started walking at 10:00 and arrived at our hotel in Viana do Castelo at 3:00. We did take a half hour lunch break, but it seemed like we should have covered more ground in 4.5 hours of walking. But who knows.

The important point is that we continue injury free and with just a few aches that are normal and manageable. So put that aside and let’s talk about the route. It is a truly enjoyable Camino. We have been most pleased with the path, the signage and the beauty of the land. We do notice a somewhat more mellow attitude with pilgrims on this Camino. Perhaps it has something to do with less stress regarding lodging. In any event everyone seems to be moving along in good form and in good spirits. We encountered our first few climbs of this Camino today. Nothing strenuous but a good proving ground for Robin’s back as we push onward. Happy to report that all went well. For now we are relaxing in a local bar next door to the lavendaría awaiting our laundry to finish up. All is well.

Still inching along

We awoke this morning to another splendid day. Clear skies and temps in the upper 50’s. Later in the day temps rose to the mid 70’s. The NW’ly wind of yesterday was still there but less boisterous than forecasted. We taxied ahead to try and create around a 16-18 km day, but in fact it seemed to be more like 20.

In any event we held together and chugged along enjoying the beautiful coastal views, fresh air and simply reveling that we are able to walk. A few aches and pains remain but compared to not that many days ago this was a significant improvement. Robin is in very good spirits which also means I am as well. We had a splendid day’s walk and still had some steam in the engine when we crossed the threshold of the Hotel Suave Mar in Esposende.

Fortunately the hotel restaurant was still serving lunch so we quickly ducked in to see what was on the menu. For me a grilled dorado with veggies, and for Robin spaghetti with meat sauce. This was all chased down with another outstanding Portuguese Albariñho from the Moncão region near the Spanish border east of Tui. So in short our cautious optimism has been ratcheted up a notch and we feel as though our old Camino legs have been resurrected. Let’s hope that is the case. I will let you know more about that tomorrow after or walk to Viana do Castelo. Oh, and btw we traveled in pretty solid company today with a couple of dozen pilgs shuffling along the boardwalk with us. Lot’s of German being spoken.

Off again

After some fun days catching up with friends in Santiago we moved on to Porto to walk the Coastal Camino back to Santiago. Today our journey actually began.

This has been a challenging time for Robin and I as we have had to confront some physical issues that have plagued Robin since February when her Uber was hit in Los Angeles by another car. At first it seemed all would be well but later a stubborn back pain emerged that has proven tough to rehabilitate. At this point we were already fully booked for our upcoming Camino so what to do? Robin saw all the docs and followed all the guidance but the pain was in a world of its own. Each day there was some incremental improvement but would the improvement be enough to allow Robin to walk and carry her backpack?

Today the answer was a resounding yes. We left Porto and jumped ahead to a point where we only had about a 14 km walk to Vila do Conde. All went well with our first day walking. I carried some of Robin’s things so her pack weight was manageable and despite a brisk NW’ly headwind we chugged along in good form arriving in Vila do Conde just after 1:00 pm. I have to admit this was some sort of miracle after watching Robin for the past few months gritting her teeth against the pain. So, we are now cautiously optimistic that with a bit of luck and God’s grace we might just inch our way to Santiago once again.

The weather is beautiful, but windy. Tomorrow the winds will kick up even higher, 20-30 gusting to 40 and yes it will be a headwind again. But, we count our blessings and will take things one day at a time. One thing is for sure, when Robin makes up her mind to walk the Camino she damn sure is going to walk it. So that’s our plan, just walk on and hope for the best.

Camino tips. Vila do Conde is a very nice town. We are back again at the Hotel Brazão and recommend it. It is a basic, but very clean hotel with a very nice staff. A restaurant recommendation is the Restaurante Ramon. It is a family run business that we head to for a good meal.

We are now showered, the laundry is strung across our room and so it is time for a stroll around town. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.