Today was a good day. The walk was very pleasant and to my surprise a whole new section of the Camino had been added offering a substitute to the current long trek though an industrial suburb. The blue arrows, my new good friends, directed me to this route for it wasn’t in the guide book.
There were plenty of forested walks and less pavement today. Pavement walking is hard on feet and legs over many hours so when dirt paths are available I’m happy.
As usual a number of pilgrims were coming North and a few stopped to talk and question me about where I was going. Some would start by saying “wrong direction” to which I started saying “no, different direction.” I think it bothers people to see someone going “backwards.” The first reaction is concern that I’m going the wrong way, then it’s wrapping their heads around why I’m going south when they’re so focused on going north. Usually I just say I’m going to Fatima which makes sense as a pilgrim. The blue arrows will in fact eventually lead to Fatima as they’re the Way markers to that destination. At some point, way south of here, we will part ways as I go to Lisbon. Not only pilgrims stopped to help me today. Several Spaniards also tried to make sure I knew where I was heading. All very sweet and kind.
Though I haven’t had a lot of contact with people since leaving Lil, the interactions with the pilgrims going to Santiago has satisfied some of my contact needs. I enjoy smiling and wishing “Buen Camino” to all I pass. Sometimes I’m glad to see them too because they affirm I’m on the right track.
Tonight after walking around Tui I went to the restaurant recommended by the place I’m staying. Sitting at one of the tables was someone who I recognized as probably being a pilgrim and asked if I could join him. He didn’t speak much English, being from Bavaria, but he welcomed me and we shared a meal together. He’d walked the Camino Francaise last year in August! Yikes! He loved the Mesata and said there were few others who walked that part though. I like that about the Way: you can make a friend at a meal and enjoy one another for that time and then say goodbye to never meet again.
I found a very nice Albergue coming into town. They had single rooms for 25 Euros and it’s beautiful. A huge king sized bed with handsome accommodations. They also had pay washing machines so I washed all my clothes and hung them to dry in the sun. I was here about 1:30 so I had a lot of time to rest. I took a long bath and then a nap.
I’m liking the rhythm of this Way. It’s taken me a few days to adjust to walking alone and being my own company but I’m getting more settled. I’ve thought about my last pilgrimage alone in France and this walk is quite a contrast. That Camino taught me a lot and I’m really benefiting from its lessons in this one. Realizing there’s no need to hurry and talking time to savor the beauty around me and the joy of being present is one of them. The Way is teaching me its rhythm. Sometimes I’ve been a slow and stubborn student yet it is nothing if not patient.
Tomorrow I cross the Mino River into Portugal to begin that portion of my journey. With that crossing I will have completed walking the length of two countries: France and now Spain. Walking the earth is a great gift for me. I can think of no way I more appreciate being a man (human) than when I connect intimately with the elements from whence I sprang.
Hasta Pronto Amigos!
Cinco crusty crosses. Cool creek crossing. Does the sign look familiar? Roman Way Bridge.
The Roman Road from Braga to Astorga. The former Roman Way VIA XIX. St. James.
Santo Domingo an empty church. 4th Century BC Celtic Helmet. Medieval Tui town tunne.
Hello Portugal in distance. Tui on boarder with Portugal.
My Albergue. Garden of my Albergue! How I kept the window shut.