Oh what a great day!
Slept well and was out and on my way in the early cool quiet of the morning. I’d figured out a shortcut so avoided going through Tui and was in Valenca by 7:30 just on the other side of the river, my first Portuguese town. Though the time jumped forward an hour everything was closed. I went through the old medieval part of town built in the fortress of Valenca. I could easily imagine it operating as a fort and town in its day.
The rest of the morning was quiet with only one loss of the blue arrow when it led me through a market. I met a few pilgrims going north and enjoyed chatting with them. One couple from New South Wales Australia had been on the road for 27 days. They’d started in Lisbon which means they’ve been taking it slowly. She had a bad limp and I was inspired to offer a healing for her bad knee. She immediately said yes and I did my first healing on the Way (other than for Lil). She sat on a wall and I worked on her and even used my rattle. Several pilgrims went by as I did my work and I told her husband I was glad we were no longer in the middle ages for they’d have had me burned at the stake for witchcraft. I was happy to have had a chance to be of service.
Once I left Valenca behind and the ensuing towns it became more and more peaceful. I always felt that Portugal had a quieter softer energy than Spain (and I love Spain) and I began to sense it again. In fact several of the pilgrims I met said the same thing about Portugal being different. As I moved onto the more ancient paths it all began to feel very familiar. I was experiencing a parallel life where I was a medieval pilgrim joyfully returning home from a pilgrimage to Santiago. The feeling of being on those paths and seeing the old stone walls was profoundly happy for me.
I stopped several times to enjoy the deep quite, and once to refresh my feet in a cool stream. My body felt its best today and I was in the Zone for most of the walk. I’m delighted to be back in this lovely country and even after 40 years I can still remember some of my Portuguese!
One of the neatest experiences happened to me in the morning. I was about to leave the villages for the country when I saw ahead of me what I first thought to be a white cat. As I got closer it moved and it was a little white dog. When I neared it bounced over to me and barked, sniffed first my poles, then my shoes and then seemed to accept me. There was a stone bench nearby and I needed to sit down to remove a pebble. As I sat he jumped up and started “hugging and kissing” me. It was so sweet! I managed somehow to get my camera and took some selfie pics that show him loving on me. He then hopped down and walked with me for awhile before going back with pilgrims heading the other direction. After a week of dogs barking when I walk by this was such an unexpected and dear event that I felt St. James was giving me a warm welcome to Portugal.
By 2:00 I reached my destination. There were three choices and I took the one with the most privacy. A lovely double bed with a bathroom and a great view of the countryside. It’s peaceful and restful I’m liking these shorter days with a long afternoon to rest and relax.
I had dinner at a restaurant nearby with two other pilgrims, one from Sweden and one from Germany. The Swede, a woman, was walking from Porto. The German was riding his bike. He didn’t speak much English but could understand it. She could do both so it was mostly she and I talking at dinner. I convinced her of the merits of taking over the counter drugs to help with the aches and pains of the walk, especially when first starting out as she was. I gave her some ibuprofen I’d bought here and some Alleve I’d brought with me. That Alleve was a very last minute purchase on the way to the airport and it’s turned out to be one of the best items I brought. Though I don’t like taking medications one thing I’ve learned on the Way is that it’s OK to avoid suffering whenever possible.
One of the pilgrims I met today asked when I’d told her of my Camino adventures if this was my life’s dream come true? On thinking back on today I would say it certainly is!
Boa Noite Amigus
Most ancient wonderful Way!
Goodbye Spain. Hello Portugal. Portuguese cows say hi to Lil.
St. J. comes to welcome Will to Portugal
First signs and bridge to the old country. Will’s best friend.
Portals to Valenca. Road and fount.
Welcome to Portugal. Welcome to the Way in Portugal.
Roman road. Seated S.J. This wall seats a family of 4. Very strange chapel-who is trapped inside.
Will takes a refreshing afternoon foot bath. Travel and hospitality. Yellow and Blue – North and South. Wonderful Wall.
Lunch spot. Looking out my bedroom in Sao Roque. Clean, happy and rested.