Portuguese Camino now in Portugal

We are officially, for real, finally, super excited to now be in Portugal! We walked from Villadesuso to A Guarda and then we hopped a ferry to Caminha, the port city of Portugal.

We arrived yesterday after a 20km walk on mostly amazing trails or forest tracks along the coast line. Only a few kms on the highway path overall, an awesome change from the day prior. Here are some highlights:

We powered through the day in hours – likely because of our lazy, more than one coffee, amazing breakfast that was included in our hotel room cost the night prior.

We have been at this ‘walking / pilgrimage’ thing now for a while and 20km is peanuts to these legs and feet! So much so our pilgrimage spirt animal the snail may now just be an ironic mascot. Nonetheless, he was out cheering us on big time yesterday!

We hit A Guarda in about 3hours. Once there, we decided to head straight for the ferry port to meet our water taxi when he arrived in a couple hours. We were sure there was a pub or cafe at the port and we had pre-made some yummy cheese sandwiches (mine where cheese and jam) for our lunch. While walking though town we snapped a few pics of the good stuff. The first pic below is their public library – wow!

Our plan to go to Caminha, Portugal on a Monday was rather not well timed. Turns out the only day the ferry between A Guarda in Spain and Caminha in Portugal does NOT run is Mondays. Come on! What are the chances!

So the night prior I had posted a plea on a Camino de Santiago form I belong to on Facebook called Camigas. Basically women helping other women plan, pack, walk, and reminisce about their pilgrimages. Within minutes of posting ‘help’, I had a host of replies from these awesome ladies. One even had a picture of a poster from an Albergue that advertised who you could call if the ferry was not running to get a water taxi of sorts.

So I called some guy named Mario in Caminha who had a boat and arranged for a 4pm pick up by his brother, in a red boat, from the dock A Guarda where the ferry usually is. I think I did anyway. He spoke Portuguese. I have learned only the most basic Portuguese which does not include arranging nautical transport to another country. We both spoke only some Spanish. Disaster! Well turns out the plan with Mario was doomed from the get go – Portugal is an hour earlier than we were in Spain. Oops, who knew! So did we arrange for his 4pm or my 4pm?

Down at the dock hoping for the best and that Mario would show up – especially after we came across three other pilgrims who also didn’t know the ferry does not run on Monday’s and needed to cross and invited them with us and Mario’s brother. A troop of cyclists (pedal bike) from a tourist group showed up. A whole host of them, like 25-30 bikes. Turns out they rented the ferry to cross and we could join them if the ferry people agreed. What!? Yahoo!

So we boarded the ferry with the tour group and paid just 1 Euro to cross each. Mario’s brother was charging us 5 Euros each. We were not the only ones to hitch a ride either – the other three pilgrim’s did and a few cars drove on as well. Hilarious! How do you even go about renting a ferry in the first place!? One of the phrases you hear a lot on the Camino is ‘the Camino provides’ … it sure does!

I called Mario once onboard and let him know (I think) that we don’t need him, don’t need boat, have boat, but thank you. Hopefully he got the message and didn’t come across for us. I had talked to the women who works at the bar by the ferry station and she knew Mario. She would have seen us board and maybe called him too. What a place!

Good bye Spain, we had fun:

Hello Portugal, so excited to meet you:

Once docked and we had walked the few short blocks into the old city center we were in love with Portugal! The houses were that classic European style all close together with amazing doors and instead of paint, most homes were tiled on the outside. Amazing. We went crazy photographing the houses, the tile, the doors!

We settled into our new home for the night Arca Nova, did some laundry (you do this a lot when you only have a few items each) and then ventured the town for the evening! We enjoyed those sandwiches we had made for lunch for dinner instead.

We now say goodbye to Arca Nova and Caminha and make our way the 28km to Viana de Costelo.

Buen Camino!
Brande

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