The Alberge we stayed in last night was a lovely place. It was an old farmstead which had been reworked as a Peregrino hostel and a museum next to it. Apparently the Camino association in Portugal has been working at developing adequate habitation instead of people being left to the vagaries of private operators. The one we are in tonight is brand new, sponsored I think by the local parish, which is on the same property. The only difference from a regular mid range hotel is that we sleep in dorms.
Last night we had two other room mates, the first German couple we met on the road. They had their alarm set for 6:30 and within five minutes they were up and out the door. Their routine is to pack The night before, sleep in the clothes they will wear, and poof…..who was that organized couple. So we hope to learn from the best, but as you will see, complications may arise.
We rummaged around and finally got our stuff put together, went to the kitchen to scramble eggs, make instant coffee, bread buns from yesterday, washed up and got on the road at 8:30. There had been a thunder storm so we hoped the clouds were going to be the same treat as when we left Oporto. HAH! Half an hour out the rain came. Stop. Open the packs. Dig out the rain wear. Pack up again and trundle on. Another 15 minutes and the sun came out. Stop. Remove the cloying rain wear. Pack up and off we go again. Another 15 minutes and….you guessed it. So we finally left the gear on and tried to adapt as we vacillated between rain bursts. After a couple of hours we decided to stop for coffee and bun at a little neighborhood cafe. Men in the back were having their Sunday card tourney while we sat on the patio under the canopy. As we sat there, all these hardy European types were striding by in one of the heaviest parts of the deluge.
We got to Barcelos where we thought we would stop. We sighted around at some of the historic sights and then sat on a bench in the square to have some lunch cut short by rain. Bah humbug! After checking a hotel, and feeling a little energized, we decided to push on to the Alberge we had heard about. On the way we ran into a bicycle race which crisscrossed and ran on the paths we were taking. They were absolutely muddy, winded and soaked, but several of them called out Bom Camino!!
At one point on the route we came to a railway track. Tannis said “over the track, and through the woods, to grandmothers house we go….oh wait! I’m the grandma now! Finally out in the country, we began to find signs indicating the distance to the Alberge. Then a confusing sign. A major wrong turn, and then we were eight, trying to find our way. When we and others all arrived about the same time, the boys at the desk had to use all their patience to deal with exhausted, dripping wet Peregrinos. Hot showers (yea) and hanging wet everything on every protruding surface including a drying room, and an incredible Peregrino meal at the restaurant across the road brings us to a 17:00 bedtime since tomorrow is one of the most arduous segments of the Camino. The only question is how to pack the night before when everything is still sopping wet. Advice welcome. We also enjoy the comments you enter on the blog. Thank you all for the encouragement, thoughts, and prayers. Bless you all.