All in Portugal

At sea - Week 2

Week 2 was considerably easier than week 1. During the first week we had reduced sail as the winds increased, removing the top sails, taking down the outer jib which was putting an immense strain on the masts and rigging and reefing the main and fore sails. Even so we were sometimes making 8-9 knots and in the first 4 days we covered 650 nautical miles. Had the winds continued and had they been pushing us in the right direction we could have made the crossing in 12 days instead of the 18 days that it eventually took.

After our first week of sailing the winds dropped significantly over the course of one night…

Final, Semi-final? Camino thoughts

Wednesday April 6 - My fellow walkers stayed at a different hotel than I did, my choice, as their hotel is one recommended by the company that organized the lodgings for our walk, while I'm staying at a wonderful little hotel behind the cathedral where I stayed when I came to Santiago a couple of years ago to welcome Diana after her Camino. I walked to their hotel to see them the morning after our arrival, breakfasted with them and then the 5 of us wandered Santiago for a couple of hours before they left to take a taxi to their next hotel. They are walking to Finisterre, about 92K over 5 days. I had been to Finisterre with Diana a couple of years previously and my purpose on this trip was to walk to Santiago, so I had not made arrangements to join them. They too were really feeling weary and in need of a day of rest so we had decided to walk around Santiago, a wonderful city for walking, and then they would take a taxi to their first hotel on their Finisterre walk. Lots of hugs when we separated, a very sad farewell...

Camino - Days 12 & 13

Monday Day 12, and gearing up for the final push tomorrow. Out at 8 this morning, once again in the pouring rain. Only 18K today, but some days are diamonds, some days are stones. Yesterday started cold and wet but after the hailstorm the sun broke through and the pleasure came. Yesterday was diamonds but today was stones. I got ahead of the group and really wanted to get through to the end as quickly as I could. The Camino trails were wet and in many places flowing with water. My feet were quickly soaked and after about 7 or 8K when the path crossed a minor highway, think the country portions of Highway 7 or 2 if you know the Toronto area, and rather than face 12K of more wet, muddy trails I decided to stay with roads and use Google maps as my guide.

Camino - Days 10 & 11

Great dinner on Friday night, Day 9, the best I’ve had since we entered Spain. Since the parador in Tui our hotels seem to be moving downmarket every night. We were in a 3 star after the parador and on Friday we were in a 2 star and on Saturday and Sunday nights we are in 1 stars. Nothing particularly negative about any of them, more about the size of the room and the quality of the food than anything else. However, our Friday hotel did not have a restaurant and had made arrangements with a local restaurant a couple of hundred metres away to feed us, since dinner is included in the room.

Jut to refresh memories, on Friday our hotel was in a small town at the top of a long tidal bay, some 10 or 12K from the sea. Seafood was obviously the order of the day and we indicated to our waiter that we would not take the fixed hotel meal but order what we wanted and pay the difference...


Camino - Day 9

Fabulous day today! 22K and I could have kept walking. Cutting out the front of my left hiking shoe has made all the difference in the world and for the first time since I started walking however many days ago, I could actually just walk with a natural step and simply enjoy the day, the walk, the countryside. Unimaginably good; I had forgotten what a normal gait felt like and I think I hit a walker's high.

We were off at 7:30 in the dark and very cold morning. Sun finally came over the horizon at about 9 but we had already put 7.5K behind us and were glad to feel a little of the chill begin to slide out of the day. Another beautiful, sparkling, sun-filled day, not a great deal of warmth in the sun but a beautiful light over the countryside. For the first couple of hours of the walk I could feel a number of muscles pull and twinge with some aches and pains but I have have been walking for the last week to protect my left foot and my lopsided gait has put pressure on muscles in my back and upper legs that aren't normally called on to be used this way. ..

Camino - Day 8

Thursday morning and a fairly short run today, 16K. Sorry to leave our parador but we were waiting for the restaurant to open at 8 and were on the road by 8:30.

Have been keeping an eye open to see if I notice many significant differences between Portugal and Spain as we walk through both countries especially since one of the most rewarding things about walking is that you do have time to notice. . Have picked up a number of things; I know this may be treading on dangerous ground but I'm not ascribing national characteristics to my observations, simply noting what I see...

Camino Days - 6 & 7

Yesterday, Tuesday, we started a little later than we would have liked but the host at our lodging was persistent in his attentions, barely left us alone and talked continually about himself. He determined that our day’s walk was not very long and so he wanted to sleep and serve breakfast at 9. After some clearly articulated resistance he relented and he, or rather his long-suffering wife, served us breakfast at 8:30 while he continued to regale us as we ate.

We finally started out about 9:15 in the rain, which while not as intense as on the previous day, continued with brief intermittent breaks for most of the day. Our terrain was easier today, not much in the way of climbs, but the trade-off was thatwhile we did not have mountain torrents in our path, we instead had ponds and lakes...