Thursday, May 22, 2014

Day 1 of Camino: The Coastal Route

The day does not have an auspicious beginning.  My sore throat has become a horrid upper respiratory infection (think green slime) and Michelle is limping along and imagining that she is going to do the walk.  We get a late start (have to get antibiotics for me who never gets sick-only on vacation -and have to take the tram to the outskirts of the city), so I make an executive decision that Michelle cannot walk with us as it is going to be a very long day and she will slow all of us down.  Kim, who is an ex-ER physician, is concerned that it might be more than a bone bruise, so she encourages Michelle to take the train to the hotel where she will meet up with our bags.  The rest of us (down to 4 from the original 6: Syd, Kim, Margie & me) get a very late start ("crack of noon") and begin the Portuguese Camino on the poorly way-marked coastal route.  Most of the day is spent walking right along the sea.  However, at times the wooden path would abruptly end with a big drop-off, so we would have to venture into the nearby villages until we could find another path by the ocean.  It was during one of these searches that we "lost" Margie and could not reconnect for a couple of hours.  It was not always possible to get a signal to send a text and none of us knew exactly where we were located: all that was sure was that we had to walk north for about 25 kms.  Eventually we all found each other & emphasized the importance of having all the relevant info in one's backpack:  name & address of hotel as well as Brierley's Guide to the Camino.  Many frustrations occurred: my endless cough; Michelle having to spend a day alone with a painful foot; the inability to locate Margie; and the lack of clear directions.  In spite of it all, it was a magnificent walk: sunny; beautiful vistas of the ocean, and colorful small villages.

Kids playing on the beach

View of the sea

Some sort of beautiful flower

Fishing village

Cat who was trying to catch a seagull

The flowers in Portugal are truly amazing.  I never expected that it would look so tropical.

Portuguese woman who engaged me in extensive conversation in French (which I understand, but have forgotten how to speak) about her 40 years living in France & then her return to Portugal--all while leaning out her window.

Night descends on the Camino

A bit of the paved walking path

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