This morning we woke to a wet and cold day. We were eager to get away early but the breakfast didn’t start till 7.30 and we were told to come back later. Our route today was supposed to be short on cafes so we were warned to buy lunch. In the end we just made a sandwich from the breakfast spread as we had already stocked up with nuts and fruit before we left Porto. I hauled out the poncho for the first time and found it pretty good to walk in once I had the hood sorted! I look very funny but it is cooler and it kept me drier because it comes below my knees. It is not ideal for rough terrain but this sort of walking is perfect.
We saw the Church and the Aquaduct this morning when we were leaving Vila do Conde. It has 999 arches. It seems a funny number!
The route lead us out of town to the seaside. There is barely any demarcation from one town to another. Povoa de Varzim was a lovely town with a pretty town square. I loved this sculpture called woman. The way lead to the beach with lots of cafes surrounded by sand bunkers. The beach is very wide and quite flat so there were lots of volley ball courts, and soccer goals all along as we walked. The architecture is modern 70’s/80’s(?) and lots of apartments and pretty plain but overlooking the beach. The beautiful breakfasts are meaning we need a few pit stops in the morning so we were on the look out for cafes which were plentiful to begin with but soon we hit boardwalks and there was nothing, and no cover either. This route is hard on our feet because it is all pavements or cobble stones!
The sea was not so turbulent here and we saw surfers catching waves. This was all fishing villages once and we saw the remnants of windmills that were used for winding fishing nets and humble cottages. The dunes are being protected by the extensive boardwalks and loads of pink and yellow pigs face that grow into a luxuriant carpet of green and colour.
We walked through market gardens that were separated from the sea by a golf course. There is no forest or wilderness except the beach. We hardly saw any pilgrims till about 1.00 then a group stopped at the same cafe but we left them and didn’t see them again. It is different staying in hotels. Very comfy with your own bath and room but we aren’t meeting many people. In all honesty we are a bit tired. We don’t need to go hunting for wifi in a bar either. I do miss the communal washing line outside. It is harder to dry stuff in our rooms because there is no heating. Once we start seeing the same people and are fitter I am sure it will be more communal.
A lady at one of the vegetable gardens stopped Bill to ask him his age and a conversation ensued in Portuguese and Spanish. She was so delighted we were going to Santiago and clasped our hands and kissed Irene and wished us well. It was so touching. We notice lots of old people wishing you Bon Camino or bon Voyage.
At one point Bill had said turn left at the polycovered tunnels and Irene misheard and called them holy tunnels. We were getting tired and really hot by now and all of us are footsore so we had a slightly hysterical laugh about that. Another 20 km day.