First to recap the end of the walk to the village of Labruge. I walked with Pilgrims I met in Porto and we decided to stay at the donativo Albergue S.Tiago, about a km from the Coastal Camino. We were the first to register and choose our camas, no literas (bunks).
Then a beach walk with a pilgrim from Holland and a late dinner with five other pilgrims who were also staying at the Albergue. We ate the freshest seafood and shared a lively sociopolitical discussion. I sat with a young journalist from Germany and her partner whose family was from East Germany. Two pilgrims from Holland, one from Australia and I was the lone Californian. We all have so much in common, even though we live with different governments. We are the people.
Next morning, eleven of the twelve pilgrims who slept in our dorm were preparing or had left by 6:45 a.m. to beat the heat. And the day with a perfect beginning continued to amaze.
Spectacular is the adjective for today’s walk from the village of Labruge to Póvoa de Varzim. Walking along the beach on every hard surface we expect to encounter: boardwalk, Cobble, brick, sidewalks, sand, rocks, asphalt- what have I missed? My feet need a little TLC, but my heart and soul are grateful and ready for amanhã. That’s tomorrow in Portuguese.
At least I hope to be ready, as that walk from Póvoa de Varzim will be more than 20 Kms.
I thought I would walk through seaside villages, but much of the Camino by the seaside was wild, remote and natural, exactly how I had imagined; then a little suburban and the city of Vila do Conde. I saw it from a distance and had to talk myself into staying in the moment because I was hoping to avoid the crowds and fast pace of the city. But I met up again with a new Amiga from yesterday’s Albergue and we walked through the park and had cafe com Leite.
When I was ready to walk from Vila do Conde, I decided to return to the seaside Litoral Route. Right away people on the street called to me to stay on the sidewalk or return to city center. But I knew to follow the sea. What is better than the sounds and sight of the sea? And a stop at a cafe for laranja Fresca (freshly squeezed orange juice).
Póvoa de Varzim is another busy and crowded seaside holiday city. There were only three of us in the hostel, Sardines and Friends, and I didn’t meet any other pilgrims. I walked on the beach, window shopped and bravely had a haircut, Corte de cabelo. I will have to learn Portugues haircut jargon for next time, which might be better than my sign language.
That was yesterday. Every day is new and different. This morning out early on the coastal seaside route, skipping the crowd in the coffee shop-bakery that had pull number tickets for customers. The day started misty, cool and very breezy and warmed up. I love the sea breeze and mist.
But I lost the route when I followed the very brief Wild Pilgrim directions, (and pilgrims in front of me), meaning a walk through farm country with the sea about a mile west. I caught up to the ocean in Apúlia and then it was not far from Fao and our hostel in Esposende. Crossing the bridge was another challenge. This Camino is a mix of peaceful and nerve wracking experiences.
But checking into Hostel 11 made the Camino a new day.
I met pilgrims who had the same experience, losing the Camino Litoral, but eventually ending up in beautiful Esposende. A new group of friends, from Ireland and Denmark, shared the best pizza and our pilgrim stories. And plans to walk together the next day and stay in Chafè at the Casa do Camp do Forno.
Bom Camino from the coast of Portugal, where every day is a surprise.
Thank you for walking with me. Irene