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From Portugal to Spain

Valença is the medieval fortress town in the Portugal side. Tui is the medieval town on the Spanish side. The border between two countries is the Rio Minho. We wanted to explore both of these cities, so we spent last night in Valença, and today we walked 5km to Tui where we are spending our first night of this trip in Spain. It has been raining all day, so we were fortunate to have a short day’s walk today.

Tomorrow, however, we have about 19km to walk, and the forecast calls for more rain, in fact, all day of rain. Well, that is something we will worry about tomorrow.

A serene and tranquil walk

Some days are meant for hiking. Today was such a terrific day. Overcast skies, cool morning air, serene river and beautiful trees all around. I am not sure pictures can capture the feelings but I am always game to try. It was a relaxing 15 km walk along the river mostly.

Camino choices

There are so many ways to travel from Porto to Santiago. We had walked the coastal way so far. We had a choice to make today. We could take the ferry and cross over to Spain’s coastal way or stay inland in Portugal for a few more days and then cross over to Spain.

We chose to stay inland because it had more villages, cafés, and accommodations. We also wanted to keep our walking distance modest (15K vs. 20 K per day). So much for planing! We didn’t realize there was a choice within the choice–the walk along the river or over the hills. Well, guess which one we ended up on? You would be correct, “the hills.”

We started correctly by crossing Rio Coura and then finding Rio Minho, but the yellow arrows took us to the forest and hills. It was a beautiful hike with only a few unplanned kilometers of walking, but we felt like we were back on the real Camino with yellow arrows pointing our way and with a few villages offering coffee and pastries. Tomorrow we intend to stick to the river and be more mindful of our options. Here is today’s journey in pictures.

Coastal walk

Today we walked along the coast in an overcast and cloudy day – perfect for hiking but not great for photography and scenery. The morning was idyllic and beautiful in the morning breeze and I was still able to find beauty all around me.

Off the beaten path

Sunday afternoon in Esposende was thriving with the locals having fun at the craft show and the marina.

We started on the main route for a bit and enjoyed a morning walk through the woods.

It was an overcast morning and we decided to deviate from the main route to take on the coastal route. How could anyone get lost on the coast, you just follow the coastline!

But, we weren’t so lucky as there were no boardwalks, and going from village to village we ended up bushwhacking through the forest, and of course there were no markers! We had to rely on instinct and google world maps, but even the paths that were on the GPS would vanish after a while. We ended up having to turn back few times. Walking on the sand dunes, the main goal was to keep moving north to the confluence of the ocean with the river where we would catch a ferry. What a fun day. To top it all off, we finally had some rain (although not in the days forecast).

It was an exhausting day because we had not planned on those extra km. Overall we had a wonderful day of surprises!

We came across welcoming posts that worked like sand cairns!

We are talking a rest day today in Viana do Castelo and will enjoy this beautiful town.

A little bit of everything

Today we started on the seaside boardwalk route, veered into the forest path for a bit through the eucalyptus trees, and finished by the coastal route.

Yesterday we stayed the night in Vila do Conde:

This morning we started again early just before the sun came out. Full moon was over the ocean. The morning breeze felt sweet caressing our bodies. The Camino walks are so beautiful and endearing, specially early in the morning.

We are now settled in an albergue in Esposende relaxing from a good day’s walk!

You can’t keep a good man down!

We are back for another adventure. The trip to England Coast to Coast felt incomplete as we had to cut it short due to rain and bogs.

We have regrouped and decided to walk the Camino Portuguese from Porto to Santiago. We spent a day in Porto taking in the beautiful city. Sitting at the confluence of River Duoro and the Atlantic Ocean, Porto is definitely worth a visit!

This morning we began our 280km walk along the coast toward Santiago. There are many routes from Porto, so we will be jumping between the coastal route and the more traditional route. Today we took a metro out of town and began our 18km trek to Vila do Conde.

Along the way we came across a couple of fishing villages.

At tonight’s hostel we met up with my sister who has joined us to walk the Camino.

Rain finally wins in England

After spending 13 days in Scotland (3 in Glasgow, 7 in Edinburgh, 3 in Highlands and the Isle of Sky) we returned to the Lake District in England to continue our walk.

Unfortunately the rain here continues, and with wind, cold temperatures and the bogs all around, the prospect of walking looks daunting. We have decided to call it an incomplete adventure as the next sunshine is 6 days away.

We loved the scenery everywhere, but in the end, the continuous rain takes the joy out of the walk as there is no way to stay dry.

As we conclude this adventure, I leave you with pictures from Scotland.

Glasgow

Edinburgh had 5 festivals going on in the month of August. We were fortunate to enjoy the largest festival in the world. Along the way we saw many street performers, stand up comedy, dance shows, mimes etc. Here are few pictures of Edinburgh which is considered a Unisco world heritage city.

The gem of Scotland is the Highlands and the Isle of Sky.

We are heading home in a couple of days. So this is goodbye from this adventure.

Rain Rain Go Away

Our hike from Rosthwaite to Grasmere turned out to be a nightmare.

We woke up to rain and clouds. The day promised to be a long climb and descent, but the forecast had promised a clear afternoon. WRONG!! The rain never let up. The trails were flooded and we were all soaked through and through. We were tired and hungry, but stopping without shelter was not an option, so we plodded through without lunch. Towards the top of the mountain it was steep and slippery and it took every ounce of our energy and every muscle in our bodies to climb. In fact, it was so steep and slippery at the top, we scrambled and crawled on our hands and knees, pulling ourselves upwards, grasping at any sturdy rock and grasses we could find to keep from falling. Of this, of course, we have no photos!

Downhill was no better as the water was gushing over the path and we had to cross many streams that were overflowing. Of course we encountered the English bogs which meant walking in grass and water at the same time!

A wrong day to hike and take pictures for sure. The waterproof cover on the camera resulted in hazy pictures on my camera. The clearer pictures are from Sakkar’s camera without a cover. Not much to show for a hell of hike or the unforgettable memories of how we survived this day!!!

Tomorrow we are all heading out to Glasgow, Scotland for few days of fun in the city and take a leave from our hiking adventure.

Incidentally, tomorrow is Pat’s and my 32nd wedding anniversary!

Tribute to William Wordsworth –Daffodils🌼

When I was in the 7th grade we read “Daffodils” in our English class. The poem’s beauty left a lasting impression on me. At that moment in my life I learned the concept of “minds eye” and how to capture magical moments in life as Wordsworth described.

Today we spent a day in Grasmere where Wordsworth is buried and composed many of his poems. We visited Dove Cottage where he lived for a few years.

Here is one of his memorable poem ” Daffodils ”

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:

A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:

I gazed—and gazed—but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

– William Wordsworth (1815)