Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 4

Day 4! Viana do Castelo to Caminha!

Our last day in Portugal. After this day’s walk, we were going to be just a short boat ride away from Spain.

As soon as we began our walk in Viana do Castelo the next morning, I was struck by the beauty of the architecture.

There seemed to be churches around every corner. We even met a Facebook Camino group friend inside one of them. It’s quite a shock when someone comes up to you in a foreign country and calls you by your name. Believe it or not, it happened twice on this Camino. It happened inside the church pictured above, and once again in Santiago de Compostela while we were walking down the street and a Twitter mutual called out a hello. It’s a small world now that social media connects us all.

It was gonna be one of those days. Building after building, it was all so gorgeous.

Soon, we made our way out of the town and back to the solitude of the Camino. In an interesting turn of events, things were beginning to look a little familiar. Even though we had never been in this part of Portugal before.

What we began to notice was that, though we were still in Portugal, the Camino was taking on the look we remembered of the Camino Frances. Small towns, abandoned buildings, narrow alleyways. It felt like Spain…

We even saw our first hórreo (a Galician granary), something we didn’t think we would see until we crossed the border into Spain.
Oddly, artwork like this even reminded me of something I would see not on the Portuguese Way, but on the Frances.

This was so typically the Camino Frances, that we appeared to be in Spain before crossing into Spain. Portugal light, perhaps.

I knew if we looked hard enough, we would find cobble like surfaces! UGH.

Decorated yards like this one were very typical of the Camino Frances. Instagram stops.

So close to Galicia. It was in the air, that mossy always almost wet feeling. The bright greenness of it all. The closer we got to Caminha, Portugal, the nearer we were to leaving the country and slipping seamlessly into Spain.

Every footstep brought us closer. It didn’t matter that we were still a day away from crossing the river into a new country…the vibes were already bringing us there.

We found an absolutely gorgeous place to stop for a cupcake and a break.

Forest walks were not something we did a lot of in the days leading up to this one. We were now away from the beach and into the woods…

The trick about the Senda Litoral route, though, is that even when you think you’re far away from the shore, you eventually come back to it with a few simple turns.

And just like that, back to the ocean…

We were close to the end of our day. Caminha was just around the corner. And so was an amazing apartment we booked through Booking dot com. We had no idea just how nice the place was.

Once we hit Caminha, it was clear we were still firmly inside Portugal. The tell-tale signs that we were close to Spain melted away inside this town, that looked fully and completely like Portugal.
After an amazing feast at a local restaurant, we were ready for a good night’s sleep.

It was time for bed. In the morning, we would make the two minute walk to the boat launch and set out on our first day in SPAIN!

I’m also an author. One of my novels, a young adult story, is set on the Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago. THE CAMINO CLUB. It follows six teens on their journey from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. The teens walk with court appointed counselors in a juvenile delinquent program that will see them free of their records once they make the journey to Santiago…a clean slate. Think of a more diverse The Breakfast Club, but on the Camino de Santiago over two weeks instead of in a school library on a Saturday. Give it a look! It’s available wherever books are sold. Here’s the Amazon USA link.

 

Senda Litoral Route – Caminho Português – September 2022 – Day 3

Day 3! Esposende to Viana do Castelo!

Did you catch the hint near the end of the last post?

RAIN DAY!

Two days of glorious sunshine was a great start.

Took a few photos while my phone was zipped safely inside a Ziplock sandwich bag, yes I did!

It was bound to happen. 10 consecutive days in September? They’re not all going to be perfect. A little rain must fall.

Gives it a kinda fun ghostly look, don’t it? Beats a vaseline lens…
It wasn’t all rain, but the ponchos were on more than they were off. Makes for some uncomfortable walking when you need the rain gear to keep you dry, but it’s also too warm to wear it.

This was a really tough day. In fact, let’s say EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. The terrain was ever-changing and even the Camino Ninja app had a couple of places where it faltered. We went through a farmer’s field, we were walking directly on the beach, over dunes, on rocks, on sand. It was trying, to say the least. Especially since we all woke up with blisters and toenail issues. The rain did not help matters. It was the last thing our already damaged toes, heels, ankles and pads needed.

The Camino Ninja did not know what to do with the farmer’s field we found ourselves navigating in the morning, shortly after the rain ceased for a while.

After finding our way through the fields, we landed once again on the beach. Not a boardwalk in sight.

rocks, rocks, rocks…
NOTHING BUT ROCKS.
The little creatures you meet along the way. Little pilgrims! Be careful where you step.
I’m not sure which was more challenging, the rocks or the shifting sands…

Eventually, we found ourselves back on a more friendly terrain.

We decided we would smile through the photos while pretending our throbbing feet weren’t making us miserable. One, two, three…smile!

The variety of this day would probably be exciting, if not for our ailments and the on again off again rain. All along our journey, I contemplated perspective. Our moods, our pains…everything we were experiencing internally altered the way we took in the landscape around us. This was absolutely a beautiful day filled with glorious vistas. I sometimes lost sight of how gorgeous everything was. It was hard not to wallow in the pain coming from my toes and heels. It took an act of will to see beauty at times. But it was definitely a vibrant landscape day. The photos tell me this now. The trudging, at the time, made sour the walk. Perspective, perspective, perspective.

With a little shift in attitude, beauty was definitely all around us.

Not sure if this was a smile or a condemnation of the cobbles under my feet. Looks like I may have been seething, just under the surface…
There was much of this day where we struggled through dunes and dead-ends and bad directions. The Senda Litoral is definitely tricky through this stretch.

At the end of the day, it was another walk across another bridge to get us into the city at the end of our walk. Just like the day before, the bridge signified the ending.

After a super long day, we had made it to Viana do Castelo.

This would be our least favourite accommodation to date. We were lucky with our first two places. HI Viana do Castelo – Pousada de Juventude would suffice. But I wouldn’t write home about it. At the end of the day, it was a dry shelter and we were grateful. We ordered pizza through Uber-Eats, ate, and crashed.

We were three very sore and tired pilgrims, with feet in need of some TLC.

Just shy of 30km. Too many!

I’m also an author. One of my novels, a young adult story, is set on the Camino Frances route of the Camino de Santiago. THE CAMINO CLUB. It follows six teens on their journey from Ponferrada to Santiago de Compostela. The teens walk with court appointed counselors in a juvenile delinquent program that will see them free of their records once they make the journey to Santiago…a clean slate. Think of a more diverse The Breakfast Club, but on the Camino de Santiago over two weeks instead of in a school library on a Saturday. Give it a look! It’s available wherever books are sold. Here’s the Amazon USA link.