Across The Rio Minho
08 Sept 2016
29, 322 steps / 24.89 km
We left Portugal today and entered Spain.
Our stay in Casa da Capela started with breakfast, and what was for me the unseemly behaviour of some older Spanish pilgrims. They are a group of three, probably in their 60’s who have never been friendly to other pilgrims. In shops and bars one of them will always interrupt – always in Spanish. This morning our breakfast had been left out for us. A large bowl of fruit and another of pastries was there when I came down earlier to collect our washing from the drying area.When I came down to eat a little later, each bowl was disappearing into their bags. They had also found an ‘honesty’ box of chocolate bars. That too they ransacked. They were not carrying their bags as two friends were following them with a car and that is where their now full bags went.
They were quickly away, leaving ourselves and a couple from Northern Ireland to what remained.
One should not judge, should one….?
Today was a nice stroll downhill towards Valença. The route wove it’s straight way through the suburbs along the same Roman Road route – Via Romana XIX.
In one village, Shelley had picked up a canine admirer, who would not leave her. It was getting dangerous following us along the roads going out of the village, so I had to be the ‘bad guy’ and scare it away and back to its home.
Valença has a huge ‘Fortaleza’ on its summit hill which contains a small but charming village full of linen shops, tourist shops, bars and restaurants. The fort overlooks the Rio Minho and the sheer vastness of its walls and the area it contains is incredible.
Down to the double-decker bridge (train on top, road and pedestrians below), and we walked out of Valença and into Tui. We stepped forward in time one hour, and into – siesta. Everything was closed at 2pm.
Whereas Valença is a bright and vibrant tourist-oriented town, Tui is simply a town which had no real attraction. Nice church on the hill in the centre, but that is all.
We found a lot of the familiar arrows. Their route along a new road created in the building of the motorway however took us away from our route towards where we are staying. We tried to navigate through forest paths, but a broken bridge over a deep, muddy stream stopped us. There was nothing for it but to retrace our steps, with motorists stopping to tell us we were on the wrong path.
Eventually we reached the Alfonso I hotel. Nice place, but no longer on the direct Camino path. The village of Guillarei proudly displays its Camino symbols, but it now requires a diversion.
I shall have to navigate my route carefully tomorrow.