Monday, May 15, 2017

Day 21: And Into Spain!

Oct 7: Rarely do Camino walkers have to be anywhere at a specific time, but today, Amanda and I had a schedule to keep. We needed to reach the docks in Caminha at 9:00 to catch the ferry across the Minho River. The distance across was a good kilometer or two--far too long to swim or walk! And there were no bridges across the river around these parts. Nope, the only way across was on a ferry which would leave town at 9:00.

While waiting for our boat, I tried to frame this photo so it looked like the crane was holding up the morning sun. =)

Which wasn't particularly early, but to make sure we didn't somehow inadvertently miss the boat, we set an alarm. We arrived with plenty of time and hung around the docks killing time. Several minutes before the boat was scheduled to leave they started selling tickets, and Amanda and I paid 1 euro each for the ride along with 8 other pilgrims and a person with a car. With 10 pilgrims on board, it was the single largest gathering of pilgrims I'd seen so far on the trail!

We boarded the boat headed into international waters. Yes, international waters for across the river was another country: Spain. We took our last steps in Portugal when we boarded the boat and our next steps would be in Spain.

The boat arrived across the river at 10:10, more than an hour later. Which, you might think, seems like a long ride just to cross the river. An hour and ten minutes later?! Well, we also changed time zones. We just lost an hour! The ride itself was a mere 10 minutes.

In Spain, Amanda and I split up. Once again, I wanted to hug the coastline of the Seashore Path while Amanda would take the shorter Coastal Route over a small hill. My route was about three kilometers longer and the two routes would meet in A Guarda. We figured Amanda would likely beat me into town--I had 6.8 kilometers to do compared to Amanda's 3.8 kilometers. We agreed that Amanda should keep on going, though, at whatever pace was comfortable to her and eventually, at some point during the day, I'd eventually catch up with her. Amanda would have to do about 17 kilometers for the day, and we figured she'd be sore but could probably make it. If she had trouble, though, we could always get her a taxi later.

Our boat to Spain!

So we split up. I wasn't walking for more than about 5 minutes when I passed a couple of local people who wished me a "Buenos días" which took me by surprise. They spoke to me in Spanish! I'd already forgotten that I was in a different country! I could talk to people now! I returned the greeting.

The day passed pleasantly and I arrived into A Guarda about an hour and a half later. Amanda was nowhere to be seen, which was no great surprise since I had expected that she had beat me into town and continued onward, but I had my suspicions confirmed from a couple of pilgrims who were on the boat with us and followed the same route that Amanda did. They told me that Amanda was definitely ahead of them--and therefore ahead of me.

The trail eventually left the nice paths I had been following and put us up on a busy highway, the PO-552, which was absolutely miserable to walk along. The views were great, but the traffic sucked. I soon found a little makeshift graffiti with my name spelled out next to a heart with gravel from the side of the road. Amanda didn't bring any chalk to write on the ground like she normally does, but still managed to leave me a mark. I took this as a good sign. I knew she was still ahead of me and I hadn't somehow missed her (not that I had any reason to think I had passed her, but it's always nice for the confirmation!), and she must be feeling well since she took the effort to bend over and pick up dirt and rocks to sprinkle them so carefully on the ground. If she had been hurting badly, I don't think she'd have done that.

I finally caught up with Amanda further down the trail in the small town of Peludo. I hadn't taken any breaks at all hoping to catch up with her and was definitely in need of one when I finally caught up, so I let Amanda go on ahead of me again while I took my first break of the day.

Taking our first steps in Spain.

About a half hour later, I picked up and moved on, catching up with Amanda again just before our arrival into Oia and our destination for the night. We went to a restaurant for a late lunch and early dinner. Amanda ordered a salad and wine. I ordered an empanada and Coke. Amanda commented that it seemed like the town had a lot of hair salons, which I didn't remember seeing any and hadn't really thought much of it until later....

Then we found our hotel, a cute a little place called Casa Puretas. When we walked by it going into town, Amanda thought it was a hair salon because it had "sala de té" written on the front, thinking that "sala" meant "salon"--as in a hair salon.

"That doesn't mean hair salon--it means tea room!" I told Amanda. "Sala is Spanish for room, not salon!"

Our hotel had a tea room! =) We both got a good laugh out of that misunderstanding.

The rooms in this hotel weren't given numbers, but rather assigned names and we wound up in the Pulpo room--or the Octopus room. And that was that for the night.

There's Portugal across the river! Mostly hidden in fog now....


A Guarda

That is a seriously creepy mural!

I pretend to crawl under this fence because I thought it would be funny. =) The trail didn't really go under this fence!

Confirmation that Amanda was still somewhere ahead of me on the trail....

Amanda is looking more and more like a pilgrim with every passing day! =)

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