Day 49 - Arcade to Caldas de Reis

Date: June 22, 2015

Location: From: Arcade  To: Caldas de Reis

Mileage: 34.4 km

Weather: Started out with blue skies, but then became a little overcast and the temperatures were on the cooler side.

Temperature: 66° F at 5:30 a.m. but rose to upper 70s° F

Lodging and Cost: Hotel Balneario Davila - 35 €

GPS Location: ’42.603702” N and ’ -8.64039” W

Highlights: Walking through the town of Pontevedra and seeing all the buildings and statues and seeing the ole Roman Bridge in the city.

Summary of the Day: 

I got up at 4:50 a.m. this morning and finished packing to go. I finally left at 5:20. The way marks were great leaving town and was making good time in the dark and then it happened... all the blazes just seemed to stop and needless to say so did I. It's like they just disappeared. I finally had to use the book and just try to follow the poor map in the book. I lost about 30 minutes of forward travel time but then out some distance from town I saw a way mark that was just about completely faded out, but I followed it as I figured that the trail hadn't changed any. I got to thinking about this a little later and came to the conclusion that all the other marks are looking brand new and that they are refreshing all the blazes, and that possibly they sanded some down and then just forgot to go back and repaint them. That's no fun to find out at about six o'clock in the morning, but that might be what happened.

I pushed on and the trail was great after that and there were no cobblestones that have bruised my feet so badly in the past up through Portugal and Southern Spain. It seemed like no time that I was heading into the big city of Pontevedra and I was looking for some place to get breakfast of some kind. I was passing the train station and there on the corner was a nice little Café/Bar. It was just what I was looking for. I went in and it was all a hustle with locals getting café and taking off to work. This city has managed to preserve the past in its designs while at the same time building some new design to reflect the modern industrial city that it has become. I really liked going through this city.

After leaving the big city, the trail went back to a number of smaller, slower agricultural towns, grape vineyards, and farms. The views along these paths are really incredible because not only do you see the fields, you can see the far off mountains. That's the way the trail went for the rest of the morning. It did parallel the big main road and every once in a while it would shift up to it but only for a short period and then drop off the main road and go back to the little country road. It stayed that way all the way to the entrance to the city of Caldas de Reis where it turned back into a bigger city, but still a small town culture.

It was easy to find my hotel as it was right on the trail as I came into town. This was a great place and it had everything that I wanted and needed. I like the fact that it is in the central part of the city so I'm close to everything. After I got cleaned up, I went down and asked the owner about a place to eat some lunch and he recommended three places. I went to one and had a large salad and bread with a glass of wine. Just as I was getting my meal the fellow that I met earlier today, Avis, from Australia came up and started talking. I asked if he would like to join me, which he did. We had a good lunch and suggested that we meet for dinner.  After lunch I went out and walked around town and looked it over.

Avis and I met at 8:00 for dinner at the Regino Restaurant. This was a really good place that the owner of the hotel recommended, but they didn't serve until 8:00 at night. It was a little late for me, but it was a good Pilgrim's meal so I decided to go. It turned out that it was really a great meal and a large portion and all for 8.00 €. By the time we finished eating dinner it was 9:30 p.m. So it was pretty much time to go to bed, because tomorrow I have a 26 km day to position myself for Santiago on Wednesday. I want to get there early so the line for Compostelas will be short. It looks like it’s about a 3-hour walk so I'll be able to get there and take care of business and have the balance of the day to rest before I head out to the coast at Finisterre. And with that it pretty much wrapped up my day so I will go to bed and get rest for another fairly long, mileage-wise day tomorrow. Until then I will bid you a…Buen Camino.

Day 48 - Porrino Centro to Arcade

Date: June 21, 2015

Location: From: Porrino Centro  To: Arcade

Mileage: 21.8 Km

Weather: Beautiful blue skies again with a nice breeze from the ocean. 

Temperature: 70° F at 6:00 a.m. and 90° F 12:00 p.m.

Lodging and Cost: Hotel Duarte - 20 €

GPS Location: ’42.336637” N and ’ -8.60611” W

Highlights: Nice trail and first sighting of the Atlantic Ocean again

Summary of the Day: 

I got up at 5:30 this morning, planning on leaving at 6:00 so there would be some light of day starting, but noticed that the sky was already starting to show signs that day was going to break. I'm still glad that I slept until 5:30 because the room had no air conditioning, but that wasn't unusual for here. Also the celebrations picked back up in this town just like back in Tui, but they ended somewhere around 2:00 a.m. So I had to shut my only ventilation, the door to the balcony, so my room was a major sweat box. I wasn't as tired this morning as yesterday and that's a good thing as I had a longer mileage day today. I looked out and saw a number of people (that number was 6) going up the trail and that is just about the largest group that I seen since I have been on the Portuguese Way so I figured that I better get a move on and hit the trail.

It did seem cool this morning even though the temperature still showed that it was high. It was mostly all road walking but at least they were small roads and very little traffic to deal with. I was making really good time; I guess it was the café con leche calling me. I couldn't find anything open until I got to Redondela. I guess being a Sunday nobody was opening up early. When I got to to the large city of Redondela, population 29,000, there were several places open, and I could get café con leche, but none of them were cooking. I was walking up to the little bar and I looked inside and there sat none other than the three Ladies from Sweden drinking hot chocolate and hot tea. I just stood in the front window and stared until they saw me, then I went in and took the fourth seat at their table. We spent about 30 minutes there and then they packed up and left. I wasn't too far behind them.

It was around 9:00 a.m. and I realized that I had been hiking for four hours and had already walked 15 miles and only had about 6 miles to go. I was going to miss the major heat of the day. That made me very happy. I hurried and got my pack on to finish up for the day. It wasn’t long until I was making a good climb up to the top of a hill and I looked over to my left and I could see the Atlantic Ocean. It was so pretty. I love looking out at the sea. I knew then that I was finishing up for the day, and then I missed a turn in the trail and was walking down the major highway to the town which was longer. I had to turn around and go back up. These things happen to everybody because you lose concentration and miss a turn. It took me about 30 minutes longer to get to the hotel.

Today my room was ready and I got right in. I find a private room is the way to go, because you can spread out and not lose your gear. You also get to leave as early as you want in the morning and not disturb anyone. After I got  cleaned up I went down to the bar/café and got something cold to drink and just relaxed. About an hour later I saw Vicky, the woman from California come walking in. She is the woman that I had dinner with the night before and she told me that she wasn't coming this far today. Well I guess that changed because here she is. She told me that she was feeling good and it was just too early to stop and she wanted to get a few extra km in today. We agreed that we’d meet at seven and have dinner again.

For me the rest of the day was just laying around resting and talking to some people that I had met on the trail earlier. It was a lazy day because this is another one of those trails that just doesn't have anything to do. There are no shops for shopping or anything. It is perfect for just doing nothing but resting. Tomorrow is going to be a big day for getting back on some sort of a schedule for getting to Santiago by Wednesday. The heat just keeps getting hotter today. It's now 10:00 p.m. And it's still 80° F, but tomorrow is going to start going down again.

I went to dinner and met Vickie at the restaurant. I found out that they only have a Pilgrim’s Menu Monday thru Friday, but on the weekend they have a single plate meal for 6.50 €, but I wanted two plates: plate number # 1 salad, and plate # 2 a main dish. Well I had two plates and paid 12€ for it, but I didn't care I was hungry. I got my salad and I ordered the grilled chicken and of course French fries. I couldn't believe the size of both dishes. It was a very large salad and the grilled chicken had a gigantic amount of food. I ate everything except all the fries, and when I finished the waitress asked if I wanted desert, which was included so I ordered it as well. You can never eat too much when you're hiking. The desert was like a pineapple flan and it was really good. I ate all of it as well.

After dinner I sat and talked to the Portuguese couple for a little while before going up and going to bed as I was tired and and had a big day tomorrow and I needed to sleep, but the room is still hot and the Western setting sun is still shinning right in so it may be a little while before I can actually go to sleep, but tonight is actually going to be better sleep.

Today was a great hiking day and I made really good time, and I beat the heat. The trail was really laid out well and no cobble stones that bruise the feet. I just hope that this heat wave does break soon. I want to have a nice walk into Santiago again. That's about all from here so for now I will say… Buen Camino.

Day 47 - Tui, Spain to Porrino Centro

Date: June 20, 2015

Location: From: Tui, Spain  To: Porrino Centro

Mileage: 16.6 Km

Weather: Again beautiful blue skies without a cloud, but still under an extreme heat warning. It was already hot at 5:30 a.m.

Temperature: 75° F at 5:30 a.m. and over 90° F at 2:00 p.m.

Lodging and Cost: Hotel Azulejo - 26 €

GPS Location: ’42.164795” N and ’ -8.620796” W

Highlights: Finding my way out of town this morning when all the way marks disappeared and streets went in all different directions.

Summary of the Day: 

Well I got up at 5:00 this morning after hardly sleeping at all last night. It seems that in Spain they celebrate “Mid-Summer's Night,”  a celebration of the Summer equinox and when they celebrate, they celebrate. It started with dinner in the restaurant below my Pension room and it continued until 5:00 this morning and not just in the restaurant, but throughout the city. There was music of every type playing loudly and fireworks going off. I could hear people down below dancing and singing. I remember two years ago when they celebrated the Saints, all the Saints, they did the same thing, but to celebrate the Summer, come on! I got no sleep so I just started walking at 5:20 a.m. It was fine in Portugal to start at that time because the clocks were set back one hour and it would be light enough to see in about 30 minutes, but I forgot about the time change here in Spain and that I had to move the clock ahead an hour. This makes it and hour and a half until it gets light enough to see without a headlamp. Well today gave new meaning to getting lost. I wandered down I think just about every street on the way out of Tui. The problem is that these towns will mark it real well coming into their town, because they want you to get in (It's an economic thing) and then they don't worry about you getting out. I can't say for sure that's the reason for not marking it well out of town or not, but I do know that they just seem to run short of yellow paint for the “Arrows” showing the way. If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times I'd buy them a few gallons of paint if they would just paint the arrows. At any rate I finally found my way and headed on to Porrino Centro.

I was really happy that I decided to make today a short one. I knew that I'd finish up about 10:00 and could rest all day. I did accidentally take the alternate route and ended up going through the industrial park on the road which was no fun and as the guide book called it a “Soulless Slog.” They were right.  It was also about 1.5 km more. The other route wasn't marked very well and it was hard to see. The only up side to this route was that it passed a number of bar/cafes so I could stop and get something to eat and drink. I didn't see the first hiker this morning and not very many all day as my room balcony looks right down on the path as it passes by. I did get here around 10:00 and was happy about that because I wanted to take the day off and also take a nap, but that wasn't going to happen, because I was informed that my room wasn't ready and it would be just a little while, which I expected, but not over two hours. Well they told me that I could sit in a nice little sitting room or I could leave my gear and go walk a round town if I wanted, but I didn't. I sat in the sitting room and after a couple of hours they woke me up to tell me that my room was ready. I guess it all worked out okay.

After I got in my room and cleaned up I decided to go and get breakfast, so I went to this little restaurant. Now something else that I had forgotten was that I am in Spain, but in the Providence of Galicia, which is a whole new type of Spanish. I told the man that I wanted breakfast (quisiera desayuno, por favor, dos huevos y bacon e café con leche), well the man looked at me like I had two heads. I explained it to him and finally he got it. It turns out that in Galicia eggs are "ovo" and coffee with cream is "café con leite." I never did find out what they call bacon. I find it hard to believe they don't understand just plain ole Spanish or if he just being difficult with me. Who knows? I got my bacon and eggs and a really good cup of coffee though. 

After that little fiasco I came back to my room to rest a while before going out for a late lunch or an early dinner. Who knows how that will go. Well I just got back from my dinner and it went pretty well. I found a place to eat dinner, which by the way there aren't too many in this town, and it was a menu of the day for 7€. I got a large pork chop with a nice mixed salad and the obligortory French fries, but they were good and a big bottle of water and ice cream for desert. I ran into another lone Peregrino in town so we went to eat together and then we sat and talked for a while. She is staying at the Albergue here in town. She is thinking about doing a 21 Km tomorrow and ending up at the same town that I'm going. After dinner we headed back to our own places to get ready for tomorrow.

This wasn't a bad day except for the heat. It's now 10:00 p.m. and it's still 86° F and there is no air conditioning in the room and no breeze coming in the balcony door, so I'll just have to see how the night fairs. I hope to get a good sleep and plenty of rest. With that I will bid you a… Buen Camino.

Day 46 - Rubiaes to Tui, Spain

Date: June 19, 2015

Location: From: Rubiaes  To: Tui, Spain

Mileage: 20.6 km 

Weather: Beautiful blue skies without a cloud in the sky but extremely hot. There is an extreme weather alert out and calling for the possibility of a disruption in power. I have been told not to turn the lights on in my room until later tonight.

Temperature: 76° F at 5:30 a.m. and in the upper 80s° to mid 90s° F by 1:00 p.m.

Lodging and Cost: Pension Cabalo Furado - 30 €

GPS Location: ’42.046468” N and ’ -8.644549” W

Highlights: Walking while it was cooler this morning! Going through the Castle in Valenca, Portugal, which is the last city in Portugal. Getting back to Spain where I can use and practice my Spanish.

Summary of the Day: 

I got up at 4:45 a.m and was packed and gone by 5:15. It was still pretty cool outside but by 6:00 a.m. I was completely wet from head to toe and I was going downhill and walking in the shade. The humidity was way up there so I knew that I made the right decision to leave early even though I wasn't doing a big mileage day, but just under 21 km. I would rather get to Tui early and sit in a cool place and wait to get into my room than to walk in that heat and full sun. I was moving really well this morning and my feet didn't hurt a bit and the pack was siting perfectly. It seemed like the km just rolled along.

I was the only person on the trail for a long time. As a matter of fact the first people that I saw were the Germans that I met about three days ago near Estabulo de Valinhas just after I left the Pension at the wine vineyard. They were sitting on the terrace at an albergue having a cup of café con leche and something to eat.

I had already passed three different Bar/café’s but they were all closed because it was too early, but when I saw this one and they waved and said come on in I knew I was going to sit down for a while. It was a nice place and the woman fixed everything and brought it to the table. When I asked how much it was, all she said was that it was for donation only. By now I know the prices of things and that is the value that I attach to donation sales. A little while later the fellow from Hungary came out of the Albergue and said that he had stayed there over night and that it was a really nice place. It was clean and neat. After about thirty minutes everyone was packed and gone.

The walk from there all the way to Valenca was pretty much down hill with no real views. I went through little suburbs of Valenca but nothing really to speak of except for churches and chapels. When I got to the central part of the city it went into the business district and from there the Way marks started to become a little scarce and I had to continuously look for them. The trail took us up to what they called the "park," but it was actually a castle. It was the castle that used to guard their border from Spain, but now it is open and a major tourist and shopping district. The trail led right down what I thought was a regular retail textile district. They sold sheets, towels, and blankets, and anything else that was sewn. There were all kinds of tourist type items. I love going through those areas and I like looking in the stores. The trail zig zagged around inside the castle for a good thirty minutes or more before going through a Tunnel and out to the street and down to the river. There was a big steel bridge with a cat walk that you had to walk across to get to Spain. The catwalk really scared me but the fellow from Hungary came along and offered to help me. He walked in front of me so I ccould concentrate on his feet and finally I made it across and then he and I walked all the way to the Cathedral and then we had to part company as he was going on and I was going to try to get a room in the Pension as I wasn't able to make a reservation last night.

I went to the Tourist office and asked for directions to the pension and it turns out that it was around the corner but in the same building. I walked into the pension at 10:15 and asked if he had a single room and he told me that he had only one left and that he had just filled his las double about 5 minutes earlier. I was really lucky. I was in the central city and directly next to the cathedral. After I got cleaned up and settled in I went and took the tour. I had a great afternoon relaxing. A little later the three ladies from Sweden came into to town and I saw them so we had a drink and talked about their hike today. Their feet and legs were burned up. Mostly a really bad rash. It really looked like bed bug bites but I didn’t tell them though. After their drink I told them how to get to the grocery store and I went looking for a place to eat dinner. It turned out that we were eating at the same restaurant. After dinner I came back to my room to get things packed to leave in the morning so I can be gone by 5:20 again. 

Even though I have a short day I want to finish as early as possible. I have a room reserved so I'm set. My room tonight is over the restaurant and they are still going full blast with dishes and talking. The owner of the Pension said that the restaurant closes at 10 so hopefully it will and I can be asleep by 10:30. Time will tell.

Another good day in Portugal/Spain and I can't complain. Will see what tomorrow holds so as always…Buen Camino.

Day 45 - Estabulo de Valinhas to Rubiaes

Date: June 18, 2015

Location: From: Estabulo de Valinhas  To: Rubiaes

Mileage: 31.4 Km

Weather: Beautiful Blue skies and not a cloud to be seen and hot by 9:00 a.m. and very hot by 11:00 a.m.

Temperature: 75° F at 6:00 a.m. and in the upper 80s° F  by 11:00 a.m.

Lodging and Cost: Pension Repouso do Peregrino - 20 €

GPS Location: ’41.888708” N and ’ -8.626432” W

Highlights: Grand view from the summit of Alto Portela Grande @ 435 Meters and seeing the Pension after a 31 Km day.

Summary of the Day:

I got up this morning at 4:50 a.m. and was packed and ready to go and out the door by 5:20. I knew it was going to get hot early and I wanted to have as much of this day behind me before it happened. I got rolling fast this morning but the sun was already starting to rise and the heat was beginning to build. I wanted to make Ponte de Lima for breakfast by 8:30 even though it was 13.3 km away. I didn't see anybody on the trail until after breakfast. I came a cross a fellow leaving town after I had eaten and he was from Hungary and he spoke perfect English. He had not only just started in town for the day but had only been on the trail for four days so he didn't keep my pace. Soon I moved on.

I like hiking with people and talking to them and listening to their stories, but I can't go that slow, as it really makes me as tired to go that slow as it would someone trying to walk my pace. I had a great breakfast back in town.  A good hot cup of café con leche along with a chocolate eclair and the first time I've ordered fresh squeezed orange juice (zumo de naranja natural), and gotten it in a large glass like a brandy glass with ice. It was great. The one thing that I will miss the most when I leave Spain and Portugal are the oranges and the orange juice. The oranges are the size of our grapefruit.

It wasn't too long before I started to come across other pilgrims that I hadn't seen before. I found out that they all had stayed back in Ponte de Lima and we're just leaving town. I just don't understand why people will wait until 8:00 a.m. to get up and leave town knowing that it is going to be in the upper 80’s in just a few hours. I crossed over a number of old Roman bridges today. I think it is the most that I've seen in one day. There was a lot of walking cobblestone streets and paths just like the past several day and believe me they will make your feet so sore that you just about can't touch them. Because of the extreme heat this entire trip I've had something that I've not had to deal with in over 10 years and that is blisters. My feet aren’t blistering because of friction on the feet due to boot fit, but due to the heat coming off the pavement. Today is no exception I can feel my feet slowly cooking, so I've had to be careful that they don't do like the did back on the Camino de France's around Burgos.

Anyway it wasn't too long before I came to a turnoff that took me up to the summit of Alto Portela Grande. That was one extremely long continual climb.  This section was a lot like the Appalachian Trail: dirt, rock and nothing but up. It took some time to get up there, but WOW!  What a view and mountains in the distance. After that I started down and going into little villages with the narrow streets. It was fun to see those things again. I haven't seen that since Spain. Once I got over the top it was literally all down hill to the Pension, still a long way, but all down hill.

I came across a little bar on the trail so knowing that I was pretty close to finishing for the day I decided to stop and get something cold to drink.  Back in Spain I was introduced to a beer called cerveza verde, it is a beer with lemon in it. The alcohol content is only 2%,  where the real beer here is 5.2%, but the lemon in it makes it like a refreshing lemonade. When I get really hot and feel like I'm losing fluids I will try to get one of those. It is refreshing and cooling not to mention you are so hot that your body just pushes it right out, usually right down your back as that is where the pack is resting with no air to cool you off. I took a break for about fifteen minutes and then I asked the man that ran the bar if he knew where the Pension was and he replied, “Oh, only a 100 meters down that way.”  Well hikers have a saying when you ask someone how far something is, they will ALWAYS say “Oh, it’s only a couple of miles down that way” and they are ALWAYS WRONG. I thought about what the man said to myself, it's his neighborhood and it's close and everybody in business knows everybody else here so he's probably right, so I started walking down the hill and the first thing I see is a barn with cows, so I keep walking and the next structure is a large corn crib and then nothing. I must have walked down the trail for thirty minutes and for someone that walks 4 Km/hr. That comes to 2 Km which is more than 100 meters. Well I finally found it, but it just goes to show you that whether you’re on the Appalachian Trail, in a foreign country, or walking down the street in you own neighborhood don't expect the right answer to “how far is it to…where ever you're trying to get to" because it just isn't going to be right.

When I finally found the Pension and checked in the little lady asked me what language I spoke. "Portuguese? German? Spanish? or English?" I told her, "Poco de Espanol y ingles." She responded in Spanish that she spoke only a little English and some Spanish but mostly Portuguese, so we worked it out in a combination of both Spanish and English, but she always said thank you in Portuguese. She was a nice lady. Right after I checked in she asked me if I needed to wash anything and I said yes and how much to wash my clothes (most places will charge between 5 and 6 Euros), but she said no charge. She also said that she would arrange a shuttle to take me to dinner at seven  tonight. It was going to be a great day of relaxing and I was really looking forward to it.

Later in the day the three ladies from Sweden came in and after they got cleaned up we walked up to the little Bar and they had a beer and I had another beer with lemon (basically no alcohol) and we all talked for about an hour until it was getting close to time to go to dinner. It is a funny thing about being in Northern Portugal, the prices are coming down to meet the Spanish pricing and the quantity of food is getting larger. I had grilled chicken breast and French fried potatoes and a salad... and you would not believe the amount of food they brought. I didn't think I could eat it it all, but then I did. I never let good food go to waste, but I was stuffed.

When I got back the lady met me at the door and said that because I was leaving so early in the morning that I wouldn't have time for breakfast so she fixed me a picnic to take. It was two cheese sandwiches and a big orange. She said no charge. I couldn’t believe this woman or the place and why it wasn't completely filled up everyday. The price, the service, and the smile never dimmed on her face. I would recommend it to everyone.

Well that was pretty much my day and as you can see it went very well even though it was a lot of km. With that I believe I will go to bed and rest for another early day tomorrow and the continuing adventure on the Camino de Santiago. With that I will say … Buen Camino.

Day 44 - Barcelos to Estabulo de Vainhas

Date: June 17, 2015

Location: From: Barcelos  To: Estabulo de Vainhas

Mileage: 21.0 Km

Weather: Beautiful blue skies and very hot

Temperature: 89° F

Lodging and Cost: Casa de Valinhas - 20 €

GPS Location: ’41.673750” N and ’ -8.618173” W

Highlights: There were no outstanding highlights except where I stayed tonight. The walk itself was a highlight because of the path and the views from it.

Summary of the Day: 

I woke up at 4:45 this morning and was out the door by 5:20. It was an easy walk out of town and the trail was very well marked. It was kind of a first for leaving town, usually it will be well marked about half way out and then they stop, leaving you wondering which way to go and wasting about 30 minutes to an hour. I saw a man way ahead of me and finally I caught up to him and we started talking. He was from South Africa. He didn't carry a guide book or maps or anything that helped him find his way. He told me that he just followed the Way marks and went where they took him. I walked with him for about two hours and we talked a little, but I never saw him look at the views or take the first picture or anything that showed that he was enjoying the walk. All he did was walk!

I saw a sign that said café 50 meters off the trail, so I ask him if he would like to go get a cup of coffee and all he told me was that I should go get coffee, but that he was going to carry on. That's when we parted ways and I went to get coffee and something to eat. I now have found something to take the place of the chocolate-filled pastry, and that's a chocolate éclair, but it's different than the ones we get at home, these are filled with an apple sauce like filling. They are great and unlike the other one, it doesn't give me massive heartburn.

I was just about finished eating when Geoffery, the Brit that lives in the U.S. came into eat. I stayed and we talked and then we packed out together. We walked all the way to where I was ending for the day and he was going to push on. I couldn't find the place where I was going to stay, but I had the number and he had an international phone so he called for me to find out where the place was. It turned out that we both had walked right past it. I was only 50 meters away from it. The woman, Susanna who owned it wasn't there but had one of her farm workers come down out of the vineyard and open up my room and told me that she would be there in one hour.

This place is something else. I would never have know that it was a Pension. It was in the middle of nowhere and didn't look like a place where people stayed. The farm worker got a key and opened my room. The door was a solid metal door and had a key like they use to open jail cell doors. The thing that happened next was when she opened the door there was a very nice double bed, but the place looked like a jail cell and the bathroom was an open area just behind a wall. The shower compartment looked like a decontamination station with the big, 12” diameter shower head coming straight down from the ceiling. It was truthfully the best shower I’ve had in years. I would love to have something like this when I get back home. 

After showing me the room she took me up to the community room to show it to me. First she said that there was plenty of coffee and tea and to make all I wanted and also there was a lot of fruit and to eat all I want of that also. It had the best wifi and a big screen television and to make myself at home. About that time Susanna came up. She speaks English really well and repeated everything that the other woman said, only in English. She further explained that I was the only person staying there. I can't understand why she isn't booked and filled everyday, but I didn't care because I could relax.

Susanna told me that they were going to cater my dinner that night. It was pasta with a meat sauce, also a salad and fruit for desert. The specialty for drink is there very own wine from their vineyard. This was great and I was in hog heaven. I sat around all afternoon and just enjoyed myself. Around 5:00 a German girl came in and wanted to stay the night. I went and got the farm worker and she got checked in. She ask me the same question about the place being empty. She couldn't understand it either. She and I had a great meal together and sat and talked trail for a while then headed off to our respective cell blocks.

I had the best today just relaxing for a big mileage day tomorrow. Not much happened but that’s part of doing the Camino so you can just turn things off and relax once in a while so with that I will say good night and …Buen Camino.

Day 43 -Vila Do Conde to Barcelos

Date: June 16, 2015

Location: From: Vila de Conde To: Barcelos

Mileage: 27.6 km

Weather: Beautiful clear blue skies, but very hot even early

Temperature: Upper 70s° F

Lodging and Cost: Hotel Bagoeira – 45 €

GPS Location: ’41.531862” N and ’ -8.616658” W

Highlights: Not good ones and I will never forget doing a road walk for about 5 km and having a wall right next to the road on both sides and no place to run when cars come.

Summary of the Day:  

I got up at 5:00 a.m. when the alarm went off. I was supposed to meet Kathleen, the woman from Sweden at 6:30. What I found out was that my phone didn't change time zones from Spain to Portugal like it was suppose to so the alarm went off an hour early. Well there is no way to go back to sleep after you wake up, so I just laid there until 6:00. We met up and started walking and at first it was great, but then the way markers were gone, I mean just plain gone. We hunted for what seemed like forever and then we just picked what looked like the logical way to go. That seemed to work because after about 2 kms we saw a marker, but then the nightmare really started. We went around a curve and the road narrowed, and there were 7-foot stone walls on both sides of the road and if a car came there was no place to run. Even if there is only one car coming they will not slow down or even pull over a little to give you any room. There were a few times I had to wave my hands to get them to move over a little. It was about the scariest thing that I've been in while hiking.

Anyway we finally got off of that road, but more just like it came later. The drivers here just don't give you any room and they never slow down and watch out for you. There have been several hikers hit and killed in the last few months and I'm sure that more will be hit in the future. They need to do something about this.  It seems like Portugal isn’t the place to hike if you aren't alert to traffic. Anyway we pushed on and the heat started to rise and Kathleen told me that she was hurting, both body and feet and that she wasn't sure if she was going to be able to make Barcelos or not. By the time we made Sao Pedro de Rates, she was hurting pretty badly and decided to stay at the Albergue and try to catch up in a couple of days, so I pushed on.

I didn't know where I was going to stay when I got to Barcelos, but I figured if I got there early I could find something before they booked up. As the morning went on it got hotter and hotter and I had more of the nightmare roads to traverse while dodging cars. About an hour out of town I met  a man from England who lives in the states and we walked together and talked a bit. He told me that he was staying at the Bagoeira Hotel. I asked how much it was and he told me that he was paying 45€ a night, so when I saw it I knew that was where I was going to try to stay. Sure enough they had a room for me and I was in. It was a nice, fairly high end hotel with all the extras.

Later in the day I went and asked if they could recommend a nice restaurant for dinner. I have noticed that in Spain they have a pilgrim’s Menu for about 10€ to 12€ with the three courses, but Portugal doesn't have that. Meals are usually pretty expensive. The man at the front desk recommended their own restaurant, which didn't look too bad price wise. They had a full serving and a half serving. I got a roasted chicken with a French fries and salad. I also ordered a good glass of white wine. The waiter asked me if I wanted a full serving or a half. When I asked how much food was in a full serving, he said a normal serving. I was pretty hungry so I said a full serving and boy was I surprised when he brought everything. The salad was enough for two and it turned out that a full serving was a whole chicken. It was a good thing that I was early getting in the restaurant and that no one was there because if there were people there it would have looked as though I was either starving to death or just a glutton. At any rate I ate all the salad and all the chicken except for one leg and a split thigh. I can tell you when I finished I was plenty full, but the waiter brought me the desert menu and asked if I wanted anything for desert. I said no and settled the bill, then I drug myself up to my room. This was one of the best meals that I have had this entire trip. Everything was cooked perfectly and the price including the white wine was just 13.75 €.

This day turned out to be a great day in spite of the traffic situation. I was looking forward to a great night's sleep and a nice short walk tomorrow so until then…Buen Camino.

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