Day 2! Vila do Conde to Esposende
We all began Day 2 of our Caminho Português with foot ailments. The blisters had begun! My third Camino and my first blisters. On a route I thought would be a breeze compared to the Camino Frances. The thing is, we were walking too many KMs. 36 on our first day. The terrain might have been easier, but the grueling pace we gave ourselves proved in the end to be too much.
Minutes after leaving our albergue in Vila do Conde, we were back at the ocean’s edge.
One of the things I couldn’t wait to see on this Camino route was the famous old windmills found along the beaches of Portugal. Some are small and abandoned. Others, larger and saved from extinction, have been transformed into summer cottages. Soon after leaving Vila do Conde behind us, we came upon our first windmill.
There was a lot of boardwalk on this second day. And not that many places to stop for food and drink. We past one along the way, thinking we’d come to another soon.
As we walked along the boardwalk hoping for a place to stop, we came upon a parking lot. Beyond it, there was one cafe and a small supermarcado. A few hundred feet from the boardwalk. We decided not to take any chances on coming upon something closer to the path. Good decision.
After a much needed break, and some amazing fuel, we were off to return back to the endless boardwalk of Day 2.
On day 2, we have to go away from the beach for a while to walk around a rather large golf course.
Somewhere during this time, we accidentally left the Senda Litoral for a bit. The Camino Ninja was showing that our route was a couple hundred feet away and we couldn’t figure out where we went wrong. I think I narrowed it down to a house we passed after circumnavigating the golf course. There was a boardwalk going back in the direction of the ocean right before we came upon the house. It wasn’t marked, but the way beside the house was marked with yellow arrows. I think this is a place where two routes converged. We assumed we were following our route, but we accidentally crossed into another. The boardwalk would have been the Senda Litoral, I believe, but it wasn’t marked as such.
Off the route, we were back onto the foot stabbing cobbles. Each step would send sharp pains into our feet. The blisters were growing and multiplying.
It actually didn’t take us long to get back onto the Senda Litoral. The Camino Ninja app, we were discovering, was going to save us time and time again.
We were soon back to the boardwalk and back to the windmills. This time, they were the converted cottages we had seen on YouTube.
After walking a short bridge across, I believe, the Cávado River, we were in Esposende and on our way to the Esposende Guesthouse.
If you end your day at Esposende, it would NOT be a bad thing to end it at the ESPOSENDE GUESTHOUSE (the link is to their website, but we booked through booking dot com). We loved this little place. Soon after check-in, the proprietress left the property and all the pilgrims were left to their own devices. We had restaurants nearby, and a little town complete with the all-important farmacia! We were ready to have all the first aid requirements of the deeply blistered pilgrim!
Now, remember for a moment that I said the proprietress leaves the albergue after the pilgrims have all been checked in. Now, imagine a level of trust you’ve probably never experienced in North America kicking into action.
At the end of a long and tiring day of walking along the coast of Portugal, we settled into our evening, glass of wine in hand, and sat out on the patio of our home for the night. A beautiful evening, even though we knew the rain was coming…
I’m not saying you should work your Camino around to land in Esposende so you can stay at the Guesthouse. But I am saying if Esposende is one of your stops, the Esposende Guesthouse is a great place to stay.
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.