8:25am to 1:50pm walk time
The “easiest” days on the Camino tend to be the hardest. I don’t know if it’s your mindset thinking it’s going to be so easy, but the reality of walking the distance of a half marathon up and down hills while the day gets hotter and hotter makes the short days feel just as brutal as the long days. Every time you check your guidebook, there happens to still be 5km left. And today was only 17-18km (11 miles) according to the guidebook. Though the gps in my Fitbit says it was just over 13. But eventually you get there. And it’s so great when you finally do.
Especially today when several doggies and kitties came out to greet my arrival at Casa Fernanda. This albergue is legendary on the Camino Portugués. Everyone who has stayed there raves about it online. Even my friend Bruno said Fernanda was wonderful and he didn’t even get to stay there. I’m told there are seven Germans, someone from Spain, someone from the UK and me staying there today. It’s one big room with 10 beds (no bunk beds!) and two bathrooms in the back yard of Fernanda’s house. I look forward to the communal dinner later this evening.
Today started off fairly bland as it takes a while to leave the city and outskirts of Barcelos. There were lots of pilgrims out as I was leaving town. At one point I got stopped by a local farmer who jumped out of his tractor to tell me in Portugués and hand signs that I should stop at the next cafe that was about 100 meters ahead and that the next cafe was 5km away. After that I think he said if I didn’t stop I would have my arm sliced off and I’d have to pray to get into heaven. At least that’s what I think he said to me. And then it looked like he was saying the same to the next pilgrim.
So I stopped at the cafe. Turns out Lena from Germany who I met in Vila do Conde was there. She said she had also booked Casa Fernanda, so we spent the day walking to the albergue together.
Today offered pretty views but a lot more hills than my legs really wanted to handle. I think walking 64+ km in the past two days is catching up with me. I knew today would include lots of vineyards and farm country and I remember enjoying the scenery from last year. I do think the arrows make you automatically go for the more scenic but more strenuous hillside route that takes longer, which is why it was over 21 km when the walk was completed.
Anyway, tomorrow may end up for real being a short day. Fernanda serves breakfast at 7:30. Ponte de Lima should only be about 8 miles away and I think I’ll plan to stay there. Having an easier day may help me regain some energy in my legs to help with the biggest climb of this Camino the day after.