The day after the night before – we had a cosy dinner together in town and drank 1 glass of which Tessel immediately got a leather tongue – we are woken up by Kasper coming to return the powerbank. Kasper & co are almost ready to leave at 8 am. We have yet to start getting up 🤭. Two hours later we cycle out of town on the Portuguese camino to the south. We encounter lots of pilgrims.
Are more people walking to Santiago from Portugal or is this the Doppler effect? Either way: there are a lot of people walking on this Camino. Every few metres we pass a group of 2-4 walkers. All of them deserve a greeting.
We alternate between buenas (dias), ola and buen camina as we carefully steer around everyone. After 30 km, a few hundred greetings and a lot of manoeuvring on difficult roads, we are fed up. We decide to cycle a bit on a slightly larger through road. Also not a resounding success so we return to the Camino. With all those people around us, would we still be able to find a place to pitch the tent? Fortunately, from about 3 pm onwards the crowds quickly abate. And then suddenly there is this vista to a field to the left of the path. Is that also a little bridge leading to it? A super spot. We almost dare not believe it so fine. We put up our chairs and have a drink. Then wash in the stream before cooking and pitching the tent. at around six in the morning, we wake up to headlights passing by. Tough people, those pilgrims.
Just a few dozen km south of Santiago (and a few hundred metres lower) we already notice that nature is changing. Whereas up north we saw the first autumn colours appear, here the oleander and hybiscus are still in full bloom.
Still further and on the coast, the first cacti, an occasional agave and a sedum-like dune plant join them. It feels like the circle of our tour of Europe is starting to close.
The 3rd day on our journey south, we cycle along the coast and suddenly encounter considerable storm and rain. Apart from being exciting (because sometimes Oscar can barely hold the handlebars), it is also tough. The battle with the elements is also, or especially, a battle with yourself. How far can/will you go? When can you move along and how far? What gives strength and how do you distribute it? Many short stops for a photo of the waves crashing (why does it never show up in the photo the way you see it?) or just taking a breather helps.
Twice we stop at a canteen-like bar. This is where the commercial value of the Camino has suddenly kicked in. Fast food at hefty prices.
When we arrive at the campsite in Guarda, it turns out that a code yellow had been issued. Oops, we hadn’t caught that one. No wonder it was a bit of a struggle.
We spend the night in an old caravan because the wind is too strong to pitch the tent. Super funny experience such a caravan until Oscar puts a fresh pan of tea for breakfast on the handy folding table and then pulls away the bag standing underneath. The leg flips away, the pan of tea slides down his left arm. That hurts good. So cool, cool, cool. Fortunately, it only looks red so we leave an hour later than planned, with a wet sleeve over the battered arm, for the boat that is supposed to take us to the other side of the river/Portugal. In the local pharmacy, with a bit of hand and foot work, we find paraffin gauze and extra bandages (gauzes).
Oscar is cool under it but the next morning he turns out to have a whole series of hefty blisters. luckily we are almost in Porto where we have booked a flat. 🤞 that the blisters stay closed.
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