Camino Portuguese 614km

 

 

27th December 2015 to 17th January 2016

On our way to Lisbon from Edinburgh, Camino Portuguese awaits, 614km in 21 days …shhhh..dont tell Col he thinks its 514km …oh dear the fun begins already

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DECEMBER 27th:

Our day in Lisbon heaps of fun and lots of walking to explore. Had a bit of trouble in the Cathedral getting our pilgrim passport but we did our sweet talking and all worked out. Think he felt sorry for us so funny. It means now we can use the pilgrim hostels and mix more in with the locals and culture. Not sure where we will have internet, where we will be staying as its winter not sure what will be open we have what’s on our back in our pack so let the adventures unfold. Buen Camino as they say here to pilgrims

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CAMINO PORTEGESE – DAY ONE:

The day started with a buffet breakfast as we had booked our first night before we started the hike in a motel…live it up for a night we thought…we stuffed in heaps of food like we were not going to be feed for a week…ha ha ha so funny. Then a 10 min walk to get to the Lisbon Cathedral to start the Pilgrimage walk…then it was switch on the brain and using our visual talents to find the Camino yellow arrows .. we got lost at one point and back tracked to pick up the arrows again. A couple of hours in and magically we came across a local cafe… 2 coffees a cake and a quiche 4 euro ..really how awesome.. the rain loomed all day we were hoping not to get wet but alias it got us in the end a huge down pour.. took cover for awhile but then continued in the pouring rain. Didn’t take much convincing to stop when a sign said 50 metres restaurant. It was 3pm we hadn’t had lunch as had been no where so this was great. It was full of locals playing cards but one lady spoke English and made me eggs and salad and Col a sandwich ..2 coffees later we thought we better leave …the rain came down again but we both felt better after food so were not too fused. … 31km day glad to get some accommodation got lost finding it in the town but showered, food in our belly and off to bed…another 30km tomorrow forecast is for a nice day no rain and 12 to 18 deg C.

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DAY TWO:

Thick fog today kept the temperature cooler but no rain and good hiking weather. We started the day with a coffee and a piece of fruit as that was all we could find to eat but that’s the way it goes …you learn to go with the flow….we are struggling with our Portuguese but keep learning new words and pointing a lot ..oh yes and at times think we are playing charades…had some good belly laughs at ourselves for sure.. lots of variation in the walk today and met another guy Ron from NZ at a coffee shop who is doing the pilgrimage hike all the way to Santiago too. Ended up getting accommodation from the local fire brigade who gave us a key to a free Aurbegue for Pilgrims. Such lovely people and so welcoming..well off to bed and tomorrow 33km and been told some lovely scenery…nice

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DAY THREE:

Through rural farms little townships magnificent sunrise and magical beauty and solitude of the country. So enjoyed today the mud trail in one section was slow going but kind of fun too. Col tried to get around it holding on to bushes to stop his feet sliding in the mud….I stood there giggling at him camera at the ready in case he went arse up and in some evil moment I really wished he did….me I just plodded through the thick mud and ended up with shoes totally covered…felt like I had concrete weights on as I walked out of it….by now my pants bottoms covered in mud…well the next shower of rain will wash them was all I could think of at the time. And that it did poured and poured then stopped and out came the sun and some of the layers of clothing had to come off. All in all a great day body very weary by the time we got to Santarem it had started to rain so we were glad to get some nice accommodation in apilgrim hostel. Very quite here just a Spanish couple and NZ guy. Huge place and we have a room to ourselves …nice…Santarem is a big place up on a hill with spectacular views so I am up early and going to do a run to check it out before breakfast…here is hoping I don’t get lost but will take money and address of hostel I am sure all will be good. 31.2km into Golega tomorrow a small township but will be celebrating new years eve with the locals. Can’t believe how quick 2015 has gone but hope 2016 will be as great as this year..

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DAY FOUR:

Today was an early start as I went out for a run in Santarem before breakfast. As it sits on a hill it was lots of great downhill running followed by the lovely burning run to get you back to the top…got some great views and the cobbled narrow streets are a bit of a challenge in themself. This was followed by a yummy omelette for breakfast….communicating what I wanted was the hard bit but must have worked ….As we left Santarem to pick the trail up again we came through a park that this time of year was baron but somehow it had a beauty all of its own. The view from the wall made us stop and just sit there and take it all in. We then continued on following the path through an arch and out to a steep descending woodlands trail which led us down the side of an old fortress wall. The rain held off for us but the air was cool..it was a great day and we both reflected on 2015 at times having a great laugh at our own stupidity…I know comes easy for us both… we visited a magnificent castle on arriving into town were we found some accommodation for the night. We tried to see inside the castle but arrived there at 5pm and was too late they were just closing but we had a great walk around up and down the walls and stairs. Wicked views from every angle…as we sat staring in amazement of this structure we both expected any minute there would be a knight jump out at us from behind the doors. As we listen to fireworks and know that many of you have already seen in the new year we send our best wishes to everyone for a great year ….woot hoo 2016rp1130223

DAY FIVE:

What a day…it all started at midnight when we heard fireworks so I got up to watch out the window wasn’t anything spectacular but was special just knowing we were in an old village dating back to its Templar past. We had been given a gift from a lady in a shop were we had soup for dinner..she said don’t open and eat till after midnight and there is 12 wishes in there for you. One for each month of the year..we thanked her and on opening them after midnight we discovered sultanas in the wrapping…and yes there were exactly 12 in both our packets…its things happening like this that make the trip so unique. We were off early to start the walk today as we knew it would be a bit wet and very hilly. There was only one small village that we thought we had a chance of shelter and a hot drink but as it was new years day we were told nothing is really open. It was dark when we left our hostel doesn’t get light till 8am…and we had trouble following the markers but eventually got it right. It was a great climb out of town and warmed us up quickly.. it was such a gorgeous forest track up and down hills, through olive groves, little hamlets, winter crops growing…and then the rain came in ….it was horrible so we found a shelter up against some shed and ate a late lunch and boiled the water in our jet boiler..it was actually quite warm and comfy all rugged up and under the umbrella.

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Then off we went in hope it would stop… there was a point of oh geez I am over this …when the rain stopped and sun came out just for a brief time..well in to a small village with one hostel we arrived wet cold and by now it was dark…a very long day lots of km and nothing open for any food.. I don’t know that we cared as long as we could get a bed and some warmth..Lost in the town we finally found the pilgrim hostel..it was closed so we rang the bell and an older lady came out and went and got her son who spoke English and opened the hostel for us to use. They were worried we had no food and came back 10 minutes later with farm fresh eggs, bread, cooked chicken, spaghetti and fruit from the trees. The older lady brought us extra blankets and a heater.. I just wanted to cry…..the over whelming hospitality of complete strangers is what we seem to be experiencing over and over again…what memories and on a day of so many challengers it just all got to me.. Another big day tomorrow so off to sleep…Buen Camino

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DAY SIX:

Well we were spoilt today the sun was shining, the wind was calm, the scenery was breathtaking and we both felt really good…we knew we had another long day of 33km of which was through small hamlets, narrow trails, cobblestone paths and hills to climb that would give us magnificent views all a good recipe for feeling great. We met an English couple that live in a tiny village here in Portugal that we walked through …they also were out walking it was late in the day and they invited us to stay at their home and cook us dinner they were concerned we might not get anything to eat…so tempting but we did press on to do the last 2 hrs of the hike…we were told to go to the local bar..cafe the only place in town really..and get a key to the Albugue (pilgrim hostel) so so funny as the guy spoke French and Portuguese but not English so he is drawing on paper to show us were the Albugue was as this time of year so quiet there is no one in them and you need to navigate little windy streets and lane ways to find anything.

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To our delight when we found it ..unlocked the door it was so clean and new looking and comfy. The decking overlooks the most magnificent view just magical. Another tough day but a very rewarding few days it has been and all so vastly different. Some other highlights of the day were trying to get some water from a font that you need to turn a big wheel to get the water to flow…of course in true Col style he turned the wheel the wrong way and no water then realising needed to turn the wheel the other way….I was just cracking up laughing at him…then pay back as I got stuck climbing over rock walls trying to avoid water ankle deep and thick mud on the track…I got stuck in a farmers paddock but Col found a way out so I didn’t need to scale over a somewhat higher fence….

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We are sitting at present in a Portuguese Pub the only one in this tiny village..there would be 30 Portuguese men here that come from the surrounding farms ..some playing pool some sitting in a huddle watching the soccer. ..it is the only place for us to get a meal and use their internet..such a priceless moment..we have been give a great meal and when we asked to pay for accommodation in the Albugue he said no non-payment..donation only in the box at Albugue. …oh dear …we wanted a culture experience we are getting that 10 fold…big big day tomoz so back to accommodation to sleep…Buen Camino

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DAY SEVEN:

So many photos so many stories such an epic day full of a rollercoaster of emotions, challengers, laughter, breathtaking views and mixing with the local culture. We started the day in the dark with our head light touch as we knew if we could make up some kms we could have an easy day tomorrow and take in some of the sights of Coimbra a big city in Portugal also we wanted to wash our smelly clothes and stock up on some bits of food. Last night we had 2 bike riders that were riding into Santiago stay at the Hostel with us first time we have had company in any of the places. At first it was nice but then as we tried to sleep one of the guys snored all night long….welcome to the Camino and sharing bunk bed dorms…so funny…so getting up early was no problem. We really pushed the first 3 hrs our walking and backpack fitness has picked up ..I can’t quiet understand that I may run for hours but strap on that heavy pack and walk for 8hrs a day and geez I nearly couldn’t move the first day…but a week has gone by and both of us feel stronger. We walked by streams, up steep tracks to top of hills with views of local farms, past goats, geese and old Roman ruins with spectacular preserves mosaics….such an incredible day. We met locals shooting partridges and at first I was a bit concerned but excepted that was there local culture. The rain came in and we both got quiet just walking and taking it all in ..we approached the big city from the hills and I had a strange feeling of being overwhelmed we had spent days and days of solitude, country life barely being able to get meals and here we were a massive place with everything including busyness and noise..but even in the rain there was a unique beauty and intrigue that we were ready to explore. We had made it here pushed hard and now we had decided on a motel room tonight a little comfort and a shorter day tomorrow means some exploring in the city first…oh yes and a run for me …nice

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DAY EIGHT:

Planning 101 all went pair shaped today but as we always say have a plan B as there is a time you might need to change directions as certain things are way out of your control…well the night skies didn’t let up from the rain that had drenched us from 2pm the day before…we woke this morning to massive amounts of water around the town and it was still not letting up. Is was to be our planned first short day on the hiking to give us a chance to stock up food do washing and for me go for a run. Well I rugged up and spent an hour out running following the Camino trail out of the city..the rain and wind pelted at me I almost couldn’t see….. my shoes and socks were soaked as water was in large pools everywhere no chance to avoid it….did i mention the rain …wholly cow …

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on the way back the park I went through was flooded ..well I shared the wonderful news with Col on returning back to our motel for a much needed warm shower. We went off to get breakfast and do our laundry were upon the laundry place had closed down great all my running gear was soaked and our one set of hiking gear stinky as it was now wet. Off to find another laundry place to be told she couldn’t have it back to us till 5pm….oh no..the day was going pair shape even further….oh yes and by now we had walked up and down hundreds of steps as the town is build on and in the hill…we were getting windblown and the rain was pelting on us …so we did what we know best to do go for coffee and reassess. .. Okay coffee filtering through we came to conclusion we were stuck with wet smelly clothes that we would try to see if hostel in next place we were going to stay today could wash and that all the flooding today on the track and roads that we would see if we could get the train to where we wanted to go. Off to the tourist centre and yes there is a train from here to Mealhada takes 23min so we headed there on the train…..got off the train at Mealhada nearly lost our umbrellas in the wind and the rain just kept on pelting at us…we dodged puddles made detours around flooded roads went from one place to the next till finally we found accommodation…we both felt like a ball in a pin ball machine …..nothing was working for us but eventually we got to our destination…not sure it was even plan B but we are here feeling a bit flat but ready to tackle anything tomorrow…. picture drawing from locals seems to be our saviour. ..they so want to help but didn’t speak English ….so funny but works…2 weeks to go anything can happen that’s the fun part… Buen Camino

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DAY NINE:

The song that came to mind today was itsy bitsy spider…but instead of climbing up water spouts like itsy bitsy spider we were walking and climbing hills of the Camino. ..but the sun came out, the rain poured down the hail stones hit us and the sun was out again…I was so busy laughing when it was hailing nearly fell on my arse it was so slippery..was only wishing we had a big garbage bag so we could sit on it and slide down the hills….must admit was a good day we laughed at our own silliness, I sang songs made them up most times…..Col helped me with some of the verses but really was more fun not knowing….Col checked the local farmers paddock for Brussel sprouts…we powering along today ….we were super rugged up well me in particular…one thick thermal 2 lighter thermals my goose down jacket and gortex coat…then ski pants on…seal skin gloves and a buff over my head and ears. Someone told me once there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing..well today proved that one. We stopped at a little village cafe the people were so nice and wanted us to sign there book and they gave us a stamp in our pilgrim passport. It was a day of meeting people ….complete strangers…. but they were all intent on helping us, giving us things or telling us a story… was really special.

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A Portuguese guy hiking to Fatima from Barcelona had a t-shirt with pilgrim stamps all over it from his journey…the t-shirt told a story so fascinating …then we came past a warehouse coming into a township and a local man calls out to us runs inside and comes out with 2 apples and a bottle of water each for us so sweet he was…

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26km today we passed through smaller villages, past rivers, down wet muddy trails, dormant grape vine fields….crops of cabbages and lots of lemon and orange trees…just before we came to the township for our accommodation had to detour past some flood waters under a bridge… Col had me climbing up an embankment over a barrier on to a road and then slipping in the mud down the other side he caught me at the bottom and helped me back down….I brushed all the mud off looked around and was pleased no one had seen my somewhat un lady like clumsiness. …We had a great walk around town, once we had dropped off the backpacks and booked into our accommodation at the Albugue. Really unique gorgeous place so different again from other places we have seen. We are here at the Alburgue with two Korean guys hiking to Santiago too…they were a day ahead of us but decided to have a rest day here…well off to sleep as I am sure there is plenty of surprises for us tomorrow Buen Camino

DAY TEN:

Wow what a day very challenging with parts of the track flooded although the first part of the day started out fine…..but we have come to appreciate how quick the weather can change and in the mud and flooded areas we find ourselves doing a bit of bush bashing in the forests or sometimes having to find a path that will lead us around the water. We approached a beautiful picnic ground that we followed on an old part of an existing Roman path and over a famous Roman bridge to find it completed flooded but made for some very unique photos that I am sure we will always look back on and remember this day. It had a beauty all of its own and I think a place you could visit every season and it would be different and unique to that season…it was so tranquil you could only feel at peace with yourself no matter what was going on in your life… We not only had a wonderful host last night in the Albugue who kindly dried all our wet cloths…I just wanted to hug her for doing that but we also have a wonderful host tonight…….Funny now how the little things mean so much…we appreciate now dry clothes, food in our belly and a bed to sleep at night ….so far we have had some form of that each day and night. We can have a rough plan of where we might get food or were we might sleep but many places are closed due to winter … not sure quite how but it all works itself out and the local fire brigade called Bombeiros will always take us in and give us a bed. Tonight we knew the town we were going to stay in the accommodation was closed so we walked on another 2hrs to the next village and a wonderful young man looking after his parents Albugue saw us out the front came out in the rain asked us if we needed accommodation and we could stay at his place. He lit the fire to dry our clothes and get us warm. Then he drove us to a supermarcado so we could buy food … must admit was strange being in a car and driving somewhere…how funny is that. The 2 Koreans who we had stayed with last night turned up very wet and like us happy to find accommodation…. so we all cooked, chatted and had a great night together…what is so interested is listening to others very special stories of their travels and life…how lucky we are to experience such wonderful and diverse cultures and to be taken into the homes of so many willing to look after us. Until tomorrow Buen Camino and goodnight.

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DAY ELEVEN:

Oh dear my smartness has been costly…woke this morning to holes and burnt shoes…had put my shoes up against the heater last night and went to bed hoping for dry shoes this morning well I did….at a price. Nowhere to buy any so see how the day goes….mmmmm…

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Today the rain gods decided they were busy elsewhere and the only rain we got was just before we got to our accommodation later in the afternoon. Was a good day although I was a little flat. We saw goats, cows, some lovely chirpy birds and don’t forget the turkey. …yes turkey …and Col seem to be having some conversation with them of course I could not understand but did get it on video…a priceless moment that both him and the turkey enjoyed….I could only laugh….then we walked on train tracks today for a short time, and past little villages were we saw the lady selling fruit, vegies and some type of dried treated fish, we walked on cobble stone paths up and down little roads leading in and out towns….every village was on a hill so there was some big climbs up and then steep descends….we saw a snow man and xmas tree in a square then I looked at the photo later and said to Col hope that doesn’t mean we are heading to snow, which is a possibility when we head over the border into Spain. My foot and shoes were killing me today and I felt a bit off colour… and not that hungry… Col was good powering on so I just plodded along and every climb seem to test me today….We had a fair bit of asphalt coming into town as a big town …we found accommodation and bonus being a bigger country town was got a gas bottle for jet boiler as had run out. And there was a sports store so yes I got a pair of shoes not Hokas they are new balance didn’t care…OMG they felt so good on my feet I was off for a run…..yeap a burial ceremony for my hokas…a few words of thanks you got me this far and in the bin….We are up early tomorrow as heading into Porto which is exciting …34km and the last part will be crazy busy city stuff and asphalt which can be tedious but there will be heaps of things to look at for shore. Well need a good night’s sleep so Buen Caminoxx

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DAY TWELEVE:

We started the day with a big breakfast as we knew it would be a long day ….weather not in our favour today but we have learnt to appreciate whatever it brings our way as we need to be adaptable. After walking for an hour in gale force winds and rain belting at us I knew we were in trouble when Col found a little shelter to put on his ski wet weather trousers…..mmmmm…Col never feels the cold and first time he has put them on…….we proceeded on and it became apparent it was becoming unsafe…my umbrella broke in many places I couldn’t even hang on to it….and a few to many close calls with morning traffic..it was so hard to see anything as we climbed our way up and out of town. Team meeting was held and we decided if we continued we would not have a chance of arriving safely today in Porto so we turned around and fort our way back to town not an easy task in the weather. Found a country train that took us to a coastal main station some 40 min away it was covered in graffiti and looked like it was going on an unused track ….to board the train we crossed other tracks and climbed up on the train classic an experience all of its own. After that we walked still fighting gale force winds and rain…to some other place to get a suburban train into Porto. When we arrived we found accommodation then journeyed out into the conditions again for some sightseeing. Porto is a large city but due to weather didn’t see heaps but enough to get a feel for the place and I brought a new umbrella. Broken 2 umbrellas so far and ruined my shoes…….but feeling good otherwise….Col now has 2 black toe nails but lost nothing yet…..still time though .I went for a great run around Porto was nice running and no backpack….yeahhhh….so enjoyed every minute of the run….. Pilgrim passports stamped at Cathedral to start our next section of the journey to Santiago . Buen Camino…

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DAY THIRTEEN:

Bedded down in a small little village… found a hostel no one else here so very quiet. Left early this morning from Porto and I got to try out my new trusty umbrella…wondering if it would make it through the day as not a proper hiking umbrella…but the bets are on to see how many I can break…well it’s not me it’s the wind…anyway the rain only lasted for the first 30mins and pretty much stayed away for most of the day just a few brief showers scattered throughout the day. Read and listen to bday messages which were so wonderful…. and chatted to family and listened to priceless singing ….Had the lovely lady of the hostel just bring over cakes and wine…so nice. Col not well and we were going to try and go further on today to gain a bit of free time further down in a few days but better he rested and we can reassess tomorrow….He was feeling like vomiting and so tied and when we got in he lied down and had a sleep….feeling better now after a nice bowl of soup the local corner store lady made for us. I explored the little village not much here so a very quiet birthday for me. Often in our busy lives we crave for quiet time and then when you have it all at once you feel like you should be doing something…….funny that…. Internet not good here so not sure when this will post but will keep trying. See what tomorrow brings but for now I will have my cup cake and enjoy all the lovely birthday messages thank you Buen Camino

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DAY FOURTEEN:

Flood waters made a challenging day and at times we found ourselves trying to find another path around the water, after awhile our feet were so wet we just went through the water until at one time it was knee deep and swirling around …I laughed hysterically and said to Col oh shit…then realised there was a concrete barrier we could climb up onto so we didn’t need to go through it. The one thing consistent for the day was the rain it didn’t let up and neither did we ……Col was feeling better and we just kept powering on…. the scenery was lovely and going in and out of tiny little places through cobblestone streets and over old bridges watching farmers working on their land was peaceful. After an early start at 7.30am in the dark and 4 hrs of walking we found a nice local bar/cafe we went in an asked for sopa, ovo or omelette and salada…being soup which is always vegetable, lucky me…an omelette and salad…in the cold weather we sure were hungry. It warmed us up and prepared us for the next 4 to 5 hrs of walking. The flood waters intensified for awhile then we started climbing up before we dropped down again into Barcelos. What a gorgeous place it is here full of so much history and right on the river but high enough up so no flooding. We were blessed to find a nice little local restaurant were we sat and talked to the owners and we ate a yummy dinner. Being Sunday night it is very quiet and we have another big day tomorrow 33.6km and we have been told some of the most beautiful scenery. We will be going up and through the mountains and then heading into the Lima valley…well its goodnight from me ….we are trying to dry off clothes and get ourselves ready for the morning another early start……..and my song for tomorrow rain rain go away come back and play another day…or two …or three……Buen Camino…x

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DAY FIFTEEN:

Very late so just posting some photos of the day but the best news was the sun was out the sky was blue….it was chilly but we were well rugged up so who cares awesome day beautiful places. When we got to Ponte de Lima on the river…. old medieval township lots of history…I headed off for an hours run all around the town came back in the dark with all the beautiful lights of the town and bridge.

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Col not so well so left him to sleep….his much better now thank goodness or I might be hiking on my own tomorrow….so here is hoping for more sunshine tomorrow….yippy…..Tomorrow some stunning walking through forest and lots of nice big climbs in the mountains…till then goodnight.

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DAY SIXTEEN:

There is always defining moments in adventures of both physical and mental challengers today was one such day for both Col and I but at different times of the day. This morning at 7am Col is looking out the window and the heavens had opened the rain was pelting on the window. He was quiet,very quiet… then sitting eating breakfast before we left he says I am not enjoying this I am over the rain….I could tell mentally he was not ready for the day….did I suggest to pull the pin and just forget completing the journey or sit and spend some more time over breakfast in the hope the rain would stop….mmmmm… quietly we sat there ..the rain did stop some 30mins later and Col was up let’s do this he says ..There was blue sky I was excited… let’s go then…it was freaky because other than the flooded paths and wet ground you would not have thought it had rained…

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We got on the forest tracks very quickly and it was calming and we dodged water and mud until we came across trails completed impassable… we were about an hour into the hike ..it was swirling flowing water so in the end we had no choice we checked the map and had to detour some 6 km around it ….there was Sandy’s defining moment…yes my mental anguish of ….this is crap I am frustrated I just want to be on the trails in the peace of the bush not trying to find a road lost somewhere to get to a point of ..oh shit we still can’t get through then return to a town to get a bus…. I stopped stood got my thoughts together .. Col took a picture…said I looked like I was deep in thought didn’t tell him what I was thinking till later….

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Funny part about all that it turned out to be one of the best days we have had… if either one of us had weakened to our mental anguish we would not have experience the beauty of the day in so many ways. Guess we never know what is just around the corner we just have to trust that life…our life will provide what is needed at that time for us. I have so many pictures from today posted heaps have heaps more…. that tells me something… We had an experience of a lady excitedly waving madly out a window to us as we walked by, we had a tiny little bar/cafe place were the owner made us a coffee and picked mandarins of the tree for us to eat and take with us,

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we met a local farmer on a forest track with a wheel barrow that walked with us for awhile and offered for me to be pushed in the wheel barrow…

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just so funny….all the while neither of us understanding the others language… We tackled flooded paths, tracks that were more like water falls, saw rainbows twice in the day, went bush bashing to get around mud and fast flowing waters….and most importantly had as our granddaughter would say …the best day ever. The peace and quietness and challengers of the bush and tiny country hamlets, Roman cobblestone roads made for some fun day…. The little hiccups we had mentally were long forgotten. We came into a tiny place looking for accommodation in Alburgue and when we knocked and called out at the one we found which was locked the gorgeous lady said closed for winter but we were welcome to stay. She made us a spicy hot cup of tea and sat and chatted to us….yes spoke English..was so nice. Well goodnight to all and see what the magic of tomorrow brings Buen Camino

DAY SEVENTEEN:

Bear Grylls eat your heart out…..floods, massive water falls to navigate over, wild animals, landslides, blizzard winds, navigating by the stars, making shelters by night, digging up food to eat, mud slides…….oh yes that is how I entertained Col all morning pretending to be Bear Grylls on a wild adventure surviving off the land…..did have him laughing at his ridiculous wife…. of course our day was nothing like that.. we had a light bit of rain this morning..then no rain for the rest of the day….yippy…..did come across flooded areas and had to navigate through and over waterfall like tracks…but another quiet beautiful day in the Portuguese trails…we came in and out of a couple of small hamlets and farmers working there land, no wild animals but plenty of farm animals…we walked over old Roman roads and came into Valenca to check out the old city and fortress. But not before Col had a fall….yes he had navigated slippery mud, water running over stony trails, slippery ascends and descends all opportunities to fall but no Col picks a path with a few loose rocks on it no mud no water and twist his ankle and he was down for no count. Of course I had to take a mandatory photo but not before I undid his backpack and made sure he wasn’t badly injured….so happy he wasn’t he was only just bruised and a bit sore but onward we went….and selfishly I didn’t want to carry his backpack…pathetic I know…..

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We then crossed over the boarder via a bridge into Spain to a place called Tui and went to the Cathedral to get a pilgrim stamp and check out the old and new city.

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We are now tucked in bed at an Augergue after buying some food at supermarcado…trying now to switch my brain to speak Spanish will probably end up being as bad as my Portuguese. Till tomorrow Buen Camino…x

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DAY EIGHTEEN & NINETEEN:

Got in late last night so didn’t have time to post found some accommodation in a basic hostel which was really a large residents of a family and we had one of the rooms. We had found a local market yesterday so stopped to check it out sample the goods and buy some fruit and bread …so so fresh ..

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Col had fun conversing with the locals as usually..does give me a giggle. We are now on Spanish time so clocks went forward an hour so now not light in morning till 9am…so weird that and oh yes don’t forget the siestas ….basically if you are in a town around 2pm it all closes up and reopens around 4 or 5pm. The last two days the weather has been sunny…cold in the mornings at about 4deg but the sun was so wonderful today and I even wore my sunnies for awhile and took a picture of our shadows as I thought that was exciting..

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Gorgeous track through woodlands today still lots of water around but we have got use to that now. Met a girl, Laura today that is from Belgium but here working for 1 year teaching French.

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Laura is walking the last three days so only started today. Waved to lots of farmers today and chatted to a few of the locals one lady had a batten with some painted words on it I had no idea what it said or what it was for really… but she laughed when she tried to hit Col on the head with it…of cause Col took it all well laughing the whole time. As it was pants of Friday I didn’t let the team down and abided by the rules set out in the last Camino….boy was it cold..and not showing the bear bum pic…. Carolyn and Rohan its all your fault… I just asked Col what he thought about today..he said beautiful bush walk, rivers, rural tranquil scenery and so relaxing…great day in the sun….bloody awesome as us Aussies say…Found accommodation but was difficult at first as three places we checked were closed for winter. We did find a hostel type residence the lady showed us a room upstairs in her house and we are there… kind of nice really. Two days to go 43km and we are in Santiago de Compostela ..here is hoping all goes well…as they say it’s never over till it’s over. Buen Camino

DAY TWENTY:

Today was another glorious day oh how lucky we were the sun was shining we felt great and the scenery was spectacular. We chatted to Ron who we caught up with this morning just outside the Albergue He is a priest from New Zealand and we met him about a week or so ago and had dinner with him one night after seeing him in different places for a few days.

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We hadn’t seen him for a week and we weren’t sure what happened to him but did know he had problems with his feet last time we saw him. Well Col did comment perhaps I had upset him as I had said oh my god a few times while chatting with him at dinner…. I did say I am sure he has heard worse..but was thinking I didn’t even know I said OMG.. anyway while standing chatting this morning I say OMG again and Col kicks me…seriously I have a problem but then father Ron says it was like hell out there…referring to all the floods and trying to get through them…..oh dear he just made me feel better about myself… Later this morning we saw Laura again and was so nice to catch up with her too. We are all going to meet in Santiago tomorrow to say our goodbyes as each of us then goes our separate ways…On the way….mmmmm. It was such a special day, quiet again, so peaceful along forest trails, past rivers, farmlets, some frost on the ground and the feeling of walking on a carpet made of winter leaves under our feet. Of course this was broken up by Col finding a little kids pink bike and wanted me to push him all the way to Santiago…seriously has he grown up or what…..hope not…..but I laughed so much at his attempt to ride it on the rocky track….

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OMG just such a priceless moment. When we came into Padron this afternoon the sun was still shining on this medieval village…which is steeped with history. Such a quaint little treasure of a place. We found a hostel to stay in and then went in search of a nice coffee shop before we explored the place a bit more. We got our final pilgrim stamp from the church before we conclude our journey tomorrow into Santiago de Composta. Our plan is to get up early and start our journey in the dark with headlight touches. We don’t want to feel rushed but wish to arrive early enough at the Cathedral to enjoy the end of an epic adventure. Till tomorrow Buen Camino..oh yes by the way to date .. Col lost one and half toe nails, one travel adapter, one umbrella cover and damaged the camera. Sandy broken 2 umbrellas and burnt shoes. Still one day to go…..mmmmmm

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DAY TWENTEE ONE:

In the dark and cold we left this morning with the final 25km to go.

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I was well rugged up and we spent the first one and half hours using our headlight touches as it doesn’t get light till 9am. It was kind of fun and had some uniqueness to the whole finishing of the journey. I was hoping we didn’t come across too much civilisation before we got to the Cathedral in Santiago de Composta and we didn’t…we spent most of the day hiking in on gorgeous forest trails a few quite and very narrow roads and cobblestone paths that weaved through tiny villages. It was so quiet and peaceful we powered along for the first 4hrs until we came across a cafe, a slight detour of the track. …We stopped and had something to eat and we were off again…It was very fitting that the rain started only lightly but kind of summed up the journey.

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When we came across the first real signs of busyness on a road and shops…Col looked at me and said…don’t know that we are really ready for civilisation yet…I nodded as I felt that too….but soon we were back on the trails and paths in the quietness climbing and  climbing, lots of hills but the most magnificent view of Santiago de Compostela. …not sure quiet what I felt……if I really think about it I guess I didn’t think this was the end…….so on we headed and followed the arrows in to Santiago…at times they had us confused but soon we could see through the narrow streets of Santiago the Cathedral…it is amazing really…and although I had seen it before I was still in ore of all it stood for and its beauty all of its own.

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The Portuguese Way finishes at the southern door of the Cathedral so we went up the stairs and touched the door together…We had made it 21 days of many challengers, wonderful people to help us, beautiful scenery and so much more……some days I wasn’t sure how we were going to make it but 614km later, rain, floods, cold and lots of very special moments…memories to last us a life time.

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With a big kiss at the front of the Cathedral Col and I celebrated our achievement. ….what an epic journey…….I felt teary and a bit lost in it all…. time to reflect, reset and take a moment or two..even take a step back …then catapult in to 2016…. And for the last time this journey Buen Camino xx

IT’S OVER OR IS IT! – FINAL DIARY NOTE.

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From receiving our compostela at the pilgrim office in Santiago to saying goodbye to Mary Poppins my Umbrella at the airport bus terminal …

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left her behind for another adventure with someone else…then on a plane and back to Scotland to play in the snow and see family… 3 more days and we fly home this adventure may have concluded but ……Another adventure awaits. Buen Camino