10/5 – this morning we crossed the bridge over the Rio Minho in Portugal, or the Rio Miño, as the Spanish spell it, into España. (I just figured out how to make little squiggles over my ‘n’s, and am very proud of myself!)
I adjusted my greeting from Bom Dia to Buenos Dias, and on we went, 12 miles. On this side of the border, the Camino signs also count down the number of kilometers left to Santiago:
We read in the blogs about this Camino that the route in this area was recently moved away from a busy road to a wooded walk, much to the chagrin of the cafe owners on the old route who now get less traffic. Every night, the yellow waymarks are painted over with black paint by the bad guys, and every day they are repainted by the good guys. We laughed at a new arrow that was placed high on a pole – presumably the vandals are short people!
On our lovely nature walk we saw some geese, and a very friendly horse that took a liking to Jim:
Once we got to O Porriño, we could see that it was not just any Sunday. There was a town festival, and everybody was out; kids playing games, and everyone else drinking beer and eating…chickpeas! A chickpea festival?? There was music, lights and much cavorting in the streets until the wee hours. O Porriño!
10/3 – another 11 mile day to Valença, the last city before we cross the border into Spain. Our days in Portugal are coming to an end, and I find myself wanting to stay longer. We’ve found our comfort level with the little we know of the language, and can communicate enough to meet our needs. We negotiate the cafes, markets, post office and residencials. We’re starting to understand commercials and the news on TV. Starting over with a new set of challenges in a new country will be both exciting and exhausting. It also means there is only one week left in our Caminho…
Lots more flowers to enjoy on another warm and sunny day:
Valenca is a fortress town, responsible for keeping the ancient Spaniards out, I guess. The high walls of the Fortazela still surround the city, with cannon on the bulwarks:
There is an ancient marker here, from the time of Claudius Tiberius Caesar, 47A.D.:
…and several old churches including an Iglesia Santa Maria from the 12th century that had some interesting wooden artwork and the blue tiles (azules) that we so identify with Portugal:
The town also had bus loads of tourists shopping for linens and souvenirs:
At the end of town is the view over the Rio Minho, with the bridge that we will walk over tomorrow to Spain.
Farewell Portugal! We love you!