September 16: 15k Coastal Route
The morning began with the discovery that we had both lost our hats. C found his in the car of last night's host. I figured mine was accidentally dropped on the trail.
After yesterday's day of stressful pilgrimage we gave ourselves a break, choosing a shorter day. This was a Camino experience like the one we remember.
Really though, they are supposed to be unique experiences, not comparable to each other. We were reminded of this when talking to two German women, who did the Central Portugues route last year and the coastal this year. We asked which they preferred. The thought of a preference had never occurred to them. Each day on the Camino is its own experience, not to be compared with another. A lesson in staying in the present.
Today's path was a nice balance of eucalyptus forest, rocks, cobblestones and city walking.
There was a balance of incline and down hill. Coming up one hill we were being watched by a local:
We descended into the town of Viana do Costelo, with it's Sanctuary high above town near the ruins of a Mesolithic era community. The city has lots of character and we were in time for outdoor concerts on two stages. If you're visiting Portugal this one merits a stop.
Notice the bridge we had to cross? Most of you know my fondness for bridges, or lack thereof. This one, built by Eiffel of the famous tower, is 600 meters long. Our trip across was uneventful, but another set of pilgrims described their trek across as earthquake-like when a train passed through the bottom level.
Our accommodation was an older well preserved hotel with original tile and stainless steel pipes in the bathroom. I imagine that it preceded the highway and train under our balcony, but they have done an excellent job of soundproofing. C wanted some port from the hotel's tiny bar prior to bedtime. The owner presented two bottles from which to choose. He poured two generous glasses and now C has learned to ask the price in advance.
It was the best we've had, but far too much for me. C assured me that not wanting to leave any behind, he'd have mine at breakfast. And he did.