Agueda to Albergaria-a-Velha

9/19 – only 10 miles to walk today, so we slept in and partook of the hearty breakfast offered by the Residencial Celeste. The walk was easy today, and the sun came out in between the rain clouds, so here are some pictures, lots of flowers of course, and fall harvest:

The day was mostly on asphalt, with an hour walking through a eucalyptus forest. You can see how hard it is to keep the trail marking on trees when the outer bark peels off!

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Dogs here are chained outside, and they wear themselves out barking at every passerby. Here are some watch dogs and a watch cat, with a pig and some sheep thrown in for good measure:

We got in to Albergaria around noon, and spied a large, modern supermarket, so we stopped in for provisions. Once again, as soon as we were safely inside, the skies opened and the rain poured down. We sat in the cafe inside the market, and watched the other pilgrims come in, drenched and dripping. An old woman came up to me and asked if I was a pilgrim, then hugged me and cried and patted my face, asking me in Portuguese to take her prayers with me. I’ve been collecting a lot of prayers to deliver to St. James. If you would like to add a prayer, I’ll be happy to take yours too…

There is no tourist info in this town, so I used the opportunity of being seated and dry to get out my phone to see where we could stay for the night. Once again, the alburgue was out of business, and so was the residencial and the pension. What now? We asked three young Canadians where they were going to stay, and they told us they were fed up with rain, and were taking a bus to Porto. The French don’t speak any English and we don’t speak any French, so we don’t know what they were doing. The Austrians, ever efficient, had pre-booked a room two miles northwest of town via Bookings.com. That looked like the only game in town, so we headed there too.

The Hotel Ribeirotel, painted pink, is in the middle of the industrial zone, on a busy highway. When we asked the price of a room, we were shown the rate sheet: single, double, or “couples by the hour”! Oh dear, another place of ill repute, but there was nothing for it, so here we are in Room 29. It’s clean, there are no mirrors on the ceiling, and the shower is good. And yes, we did watch a lady of the evening plying her trade on the highway across from the entrance.

There was no restaurant, so we crossed the busy highway to get to a mini mercado to buy the makings of sandwiches and beer for an elegant supper in bed, while watching an old Robert Redford movie on TV with Portuguese subtitles. Now, this is living!

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