A different day on the Camino as the path took us away from the coast, and through forests and small towns. Since Porto, Kara and I have walked on the flat – mostly boardwalk to absorb our gait, so road walking and elevation was a new sensation compared to the last few days. It brought back memories of the earlier few weeks of solo Camino and some of those hills!

The churches and cathedrals we pass now all seem to all have a Carimbo station – self serve. We stamp our pilgrim passport then say a short prayer before moving on. I’ve also noticed more frequent yellow arrows or indications of the path. Things seemed to have ramped up wth acknowledgement of pilgrims and The Way.

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I saw the American family again, whose one daughter has an assistance dog, Delilah. I chatted with them, and they have four adult children (late teens – early 20s?), and they haven’t done a Camino before, but are so happy to experience such a special journey as a family before the chicks all fly away. I really admire them. Hope to see them again on the path. I asked if they have seen my Norwegian friend whom I had enjoyed many a cafe with – they think she is a day behind.

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Coming into Viana do Castelo was about a 2km low slope down on a straight road, that brought us to a bridge that passes over the Rio Lima. I’m not great on bridges, but I met a guy from Chicago half way on the bridge and we exchanged holiday stories which made the trek across the bridge bearable. He walked the 800km, main Camino in Spain, and is now cycling down the coast to Lisbon.

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The Albergue tonight has room for about 20 pilgrims in two rooms, and I think there is an overflow room somewhere too. It’s is the back of a convent, so the bells are louder, which I love – we are right underneath them. Tonight we share an eight bed room with two others – two women from Czek. Nobody so far on any of the top bunks. The mattresses looked slightly funky and one of the Czek gals demanded sheets, so we were glad to follow suit. The shower is only semi-private with saloon doors that swing, so not much privacy – you gotta love Europe!