Spain is an hour ahead of Portugal so instead of being kicked out just after sunrise, we are on the street in the dark. We make our way along with the help of street lights and watch the full moon set as we climb around the harbor into the mountains. The harbor is very reminiscent of Vancouver, including the bridge which looks much like the Lion’s Gate. A lot of our path today is through beautiful forest settings as we pass over Mount Lombard and Mount Canicouva. These elevations are much less onerous than those previously so we can enjoy the atmosphere much more.
Again we make the mistake of leaving town without having something to eat. It takes us two hours before we find a place open (it’s Sunday). When we do it is delightful with more wonderful pastries we have not run into before. Restored, we continue to the town of Arcade, and over the Ponte Sampaio where the Spanish and Galician forces repelled the Napoleonic forces under Marshall Ney. We tread the stones of history with little time to truly take it all in.
Yesterday, Mark bought cheese, tomatoe, onion and bread buns. He carried them all day till we reached Fonte Figuerrido and then made lunch for us. We also refilled our water bottles from the artesian well which ran very slowly this time of year. Still, the water was cold and sweet. It is interesting to note how much of a preoccupation food has become when we are not sure whether cafes or mercados are open or even available. So we almost always have some bread and cheese with us. Again it is humbling to think of the multitudes of people who do not know where their next meal is coming from and certainly have nothing to carry in a bag.
The Albergue is on the side of town we enter, so we arrive about 15:30. I ask the staff about the location of a doctor or hospital and the confusion is palpable. I’m told that you have to have a card to see a doctor, but eventually am referred to a clinic (I think) but they are not sure of the address or how to access it. At the train station where I have to go for wifi, there is not much more help. People do not seem able to locate where we are on the map much less where the clinic might be. One man speaks a little English and suggests that I go to the principal public hospital and that if they cannot help they can refer us elsewhere. We have heard that the health care system is very inconsistent, so we will have to hope for the best. Keep those prayers coming!!!