Well yesterday was a tourist day! While we still had the pilgrim shuffle, clothes and packs; we decided to take the day and be tourists.
We didn’t get to see any of Viana de Costa after coming in so late and tired the day prior. Sad thing. We had heard from many pilgrims that it is one of the nicest cities on the Portuguese Coastal Route. So we decided to strap our hiking shoes to our packs and instead venture around the city of Viana in sandals before making our way by bus to Esponsende. Our new home for the night and the start of today’s walk.
Wow are we sure glad we did!
Our day started with breakfast and a reminder of how wonderful the people of Portugal are. We were invited into this tiny cafe by the most sweet little old grandma for breakfast. They really only eat pastries for breakfast here and we were looking for something beyond a sweet. She personally made us coffee and a ham and cheese bun sandwich (so fresh and good) and then also gave us some traditional pastries to try as dessert. Ironically she gave the very pastry we were talking about wanting to try just minutes before. Custard / creek brûlée in a puffy yet chewy pastry shell. Mmm We were the only ones in the cafe and she was so sweet!
Next, we took the cool little elevator trolley car thing up the huge hill in the middle of the city center to see the city from and coast line from a birds eye view and check out this massive church.
Funny as we made our way up in a normal elevator to get to the street that has this trolley elevator an old wee man joined us. He simply rode up with us to ask if we are pilgrims,how far we are walking, where we are from, etc. we assumed he was just in the elevator by chance. Nope when we got off he took it back down and wished is a good journey. He simply wanted to know more about us and say good luck.
The church at the top was a temple and monument to Santa Luzia and it was very impressive! We could see it for a long long time in the distance as we walked into Viana the day prior, so it was neat to check it out!
Before we went into the church, Lana was held up by some wee grandma who was rubbing her arm talking about the Camino and pilgrim and her poor feet. All in Portuguese so only a few words were understood.
Next we ventured though the small, winding, character streets of the city center that have all these little shops and cafes, amazing tiles and iron work, and just feel so different than our streets back home in Canada.
We enjoyed a super yummy lunch sitting at a wee baby table on one of these side streets. We don’t understand all the words on a menu so find something we think we know and get that. Today we got ‘pork meat’ and it came with salad and chips and rice and a bun. I appreciate how seriously these great people take their carbs and starches!
Then made our way to the bus station behind the below gorgeous old train station for a 3pm bus to Esponsende. Prior to boarding the bus, the very nice man who gave us the bus timetable earlier that day came to the platform to confirm for us that we were getting on the right bus!
By 4pm we were in our new city of Esponsende checking into the really great Hostel Eleven.
We dropped our packs, checked in with the family on our arrival then headed out to see what this city has to offer.
Before leaving we asked the hostel guy to help us arrange bag transport for us, from Esponsende to Vila do Conde. It’s been tough every day to get someone to move our extra bag. Yesterday we couldn’t final a single company or person willing which was a big part of our decision not to walk. Well Hostel Elevan was amazing and they worked our a deal with a local transport company to move our pack for us as an exception to the services they provide for just 10 euros. Deal. What was so easy to arrange on the St James Camino is a real struggle here on the Portugal Coastal away, especially walking backwards!
That done and dealt with, we ventured out into the central city of Esponsende.
We wrapped our day up with some red wine and homemade pasta in our hostel kitchen. I hate cooking usually but when you have been eating out all meals on most days it feels so good to prepare what you eat! Also all this for 7 Euros plus an apple and cookies for a trail side snack tomorrow is a price we can’t resist!
By the way – that big plate of cheese and bread and chorizo isn to make sandwiches for it walk today.
Just prior to making this meal, we saw the three pilgrims we crossed the ferry into Caminha with a couple days again show up in a taxi. We weren’t the only ones who suffered the day before and had to skip some or all of yesterday’s walk as a result. Ouch!
We are heading out now to walk 25km to our next home, Vila do Conde.