June 18: Ponte de Lima

Left Tamel (São Pedro Fins) and within 15 minutes we needed to put on all our rain gear. Of course, once we had it all on, it stopped raining. We had to walk 1.5 hours before coffee…you would have laughed to see me almost run down the hill to the cafe. It’s amazing how hungry hikers can get; even with a late supper, we awaken with rumblings for food.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABecause of recommendations we planned to stay at Casa de Fernanda, a private home that provides accommodations for nine pilgrims in a newly build bungalow. We were also looking forward to a short day, wanting our feet to recover from the cobblestones. Best decision–especially because it rained all afternoon.

When we arrived, there were two people there from BrazilOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA, one a priest. After a short while, four South Africans from Capetown arrived, and then a doctor from Germany. Once we got settled in and had lunch in the hosts’ lovely kitchen, we returned to the cabin where we enjoyed an adult “pajama party”. Two of the South Africans went to the market and returned with six bottles of red wine and two of port. We spent the afternoon warm, comfy, and sheltered, sipping vinho tinto and regaling at each others stories. I had tried to write in my journal, but quickly put it away to partake in the camaraderie.

That evening the hosts Fernanda, Jacinto, and their daughter Marianna served us a delicious supa verde, kale soup, and salad from their garden, homemade bread, and baked chicken which they raised. After the meal, they extended their hospitality with stories, and regional songs and dances. What fun! Thank you Ingrid and Tracy for the recommendation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAfter breakfast and goodbyes, we had a leisurely walk to Ponte de Lima. This was one of our best days for walking–easy climbs, mostly asphalt, and ideal weather. In Ponte de Lima, the winds picked up and it got cooler as the clouds went over the mountain. I expect rain again tonight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe had lunch near the bridge. I have been craving a tuna fish sandwich and this cafe offered one. When traveling in a foreign country, one must be open to variations in customs. Dennis and I laughed; this sandwich not only contained lettuce, tomato, and tuna, but also ham, cheese, and a fried egg. Once again, I was ravenous and quickly consumed the sande.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATonight we will try a local, spicy stew (Arroz Sarrabulho) …something different from the ubiquitous fried cod, sardines, or port steak. Tomorrow is supposed to be our hardest day as we climb 18 km (11 mi) over the mountain. The day after that we should be in Spain.

About The Author

Jane V. Blanchard

I am an award-winning author of the "Woman On Her Way" book series, writing about my travel adventures. For more information on the books, please visit janevblanchard.com. I started the "Woman On Her Way" travel blog in 2013 to share my experiences as I explored 13 countries with my husband, traveling by ship, foot, bike, bus, train, and plane. Dennis and I continue to make memories and hope you will enjoy following along.

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