Yesterday when we left Ponte de Lima, it was only 14 C (57 F), cloudy, and with a 50% chance of rain. For this reason, I put on all my rain gear and covered the backpack. After three hours, all my clothes were wet from perspiration; the plastic rain coat and pants preventing evaporation; but at least I was warm. Yesterday was the most difficult stage of the Camino Portuguese with a steep climb to Portela Grande at 405 m (1329 ft). At one point, I was holding onto roots, branches, and rocks to keep from falling backwards. Halfway up was a monument to Michelle Kleist , pilgrim, who was killed in a plane crash in Moree, Australia, on 30 March 2011. This reminded me of the Iron Cross on the Camino Frances. The descent is usually harder for me, but this was not too steep and I did just fine. It was a glorious day.
That night we stayed in a pension in São Rogue where the bath and electronics had Dennis laughing. He had to fix the shower doors before we could shower, then the water drained too slowly and I had to shut the water to prevent the basin from spilling out onto the floor. Additionally two of the three bulbs in the bathroom were missing.
When we checked into the pension we were told there was WIFI but that the son would have to type in the password. (You are probably wondering why there was such secrecy—we did). Unfortunately, after all that commotion, the WIFI did not work.
Today started off cold but warmed up. We had a short uphill walk and before we knew it we were on a 16-km downhill walk to Spain. This afternoon, we stopped on a hillside for a picnic lunch and for Dennis to set up his amateur radio station. He wanted to make radio contact with people while still in Portugal and this was his last opportunity. We were there for about 2.5 hrs, long enough for the sun to disappear behind clouds. I read the book The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho while he “conversed” via Morse code.
We visited the fortressed city of Valença, Portugal It was very commercial with lots of shops selling linen and clothes. It is a maze of streets which made it difficult to leave. From there, we crossed the Minho (Portuguese name) or Miño (Spanish name) River into Tui, Spain. We are staying in a pension not far from the cathedral. It was such a relief to not have to eat a Portuguese meal. It seems most restaurants for the past 20 days have cod, trout, or pork or veal cutlets with salad and French fries. Tonight, I had a lentil soup and Dennis had a pasta salad for first; we both had meatballs (pork) for second.