Last night at dinner, I said I would order up a warm day with overcast sky. Sure enough, we woke to a morning fresh day, promising warmth to come, with an overcast sky. After a quick stop for coffee and a bun at a pastiserie, we made our way through the Metro to the location where we would begin. Riding on the metro, we noticed that it had begun to rain. What? Wait! We just wanted the clouds. So off the metro and repacking bags so we could drag out our rain gear. Ready once more, we crossed the river on the foot bridge, set off toward the alternate route along the ocean shore, passed the medieval fort which long protected the city, and climbed up to the ‘board walk’.
Amazing day. Crashing surf, boarders waiting for the perfect wave, joggers, modern villages, old fisher cottages with vegetable gardens and elderly residents sitting quietly or chatting with neighbors. It was a short time before the light rain turned to sea mist and we began peeling off layers of unnecessary clothes. In one little village, we found fresh baked buns, tomatoes, and fruit on the street and cheese Ina shop. Perfect lunch on one of the well maintained benches along the way.
It was profoundly moving to have people honk and wave from their cars, wish us a buoa camino, or in a couple of cases bon courage, as they passed by. We met a German couple while we were finishing lunch who offered some insights from their previous caminos. As we wound our way through the outskirts of Vila do Conde where we were stopping for the night, a young man and his family greeted us at their front door. They had walked the Portuguese route twice and mounted a scallop shell tile on their wall as a sign of encouragement to other perregrinas. Conde has no Refugio’s so they directed us to a very nice pension. We have been deeply blessed by many people as we journeyed through the day.
By the time we got to the pension, we were truly drained. A hot shower, washed clothes, and a delicious meal restored us. We may be using more of these places since Mark may not be able to deal with cold showers and unhelpful sleeping arrangements. We’ll try a few to see how it works, but we are open to whatever alternatives we will need to use. Mark says to send greetings to everyone from a determined, weary ELF.
So now to bed to rest weary muscles and bones, truly thankful for the gifts that have come to us today.