We stepped out of our hotel, the Convento San Benito, in A Guarda into another clear morning. A nice cool sea breeze made our departure that much more comfortable as we climbed up and out of town. Today proved to be a very quiet day. We only encountered a few pilgrims and other than a huge motorcycle club (100+) passing by and a rather good sized cycling club all was rather peaceful. A good portion of today’s walk was by the water and that continued to bless us with some cool sea air throughout the day. We chatted with an American from Boston for awhile. He was stopping in Oia for the day so we pulled over for some refreshments as well. It is a pretty, but very small, seaside town that had just absorbed two buses of tourists as we entered the village. It was like an army on maneuvers but less regimented. But the beauty of walking the Camino is that you can just walk on. Which is exactly what we did. An hour later we arrived in Viladesuso, and our hotel for the night, the Casa Verde. We were greeted at the reception by a pleasantly vivacious young lady who spoke excellent English. As she checked us in we inquired about laundry service (fingers crossed) and bingo she gave us the good news that they provide a laundry service for 6 euros. She said it would be done in two hours and it was. When one arrives soaked in sweat finding a lavandaría or a hotel laundry service is a gift from heaven. So far we have been lucky. So no smelly pilgrims. Yea.
While the laundry was being done we slipped into the dining room for a lunch of pulpo (after all we are in Galicia), grilled vegetables, and a grilled veal chop (huge). We are now horizontal waiting for the sun to ease off a bit. I think a stop at the bar, a bit later, for a glass of wine to enjoy while viewing what should be another beautiful sunset is very much in order. Such is the pilgrim life. Buenas noches from Galicia.
We had a short beautiful day’s walk from Vila Praia de Ãncona to A Guarda. An early morning start helped us with the heat as we made our way out of town towards Caminha where we would cross the Minho into Spain. We moved along enjoying the coastal views as the day progressed. We saw a few pilgrims but not as many as before. But, for us, it was pleasantly quiet. We had the coastal wind keeping us alert, but absent that we had a quiet path to to the Minho ferry.
Arriving in Caminha, a bustling border village, we quickly found the ferry terminal. At the bar we were told we could catch a skiff across the Minho in just a minute for the same price as the ferry. So off we went and a few minutes later were in Spain
Once in Spain we followed the Camino path into A Guarda and settled into our hotel. We have now finished with lunch, our laundry is done and now we are just strolling along the sea front enjoying the end of the day.
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.