Having a day of rest, I was concerned I would not be in the mood to get up and start walking today. Frankly, it was one of the reasons I was happy to walk on with Andre when I had planned a couple of rest days. But, before the sun rose, I was dressed and walking out the front door of the pension. As much as I complained about the hotel when I arrived, I now came to appreciate that it lay directly across the road from the route of the Camino out of Porto. No wasted steps finding the route. The route ran alongside the two churches with the narrowest building between them I included yesterday. Pilgrims often speak of the Camino as if it is a person, or something greater. We say the Camino called to me, I learnt from the Camino, or the Camino provided. When I booked my room in Lisbon I ended up being on the Camino route and not wasting steps, again here in Porto the same thing happened, and unknown to me when I stayed in Santiago de Compostella I ended up in an AirBnB right on the route out towards Finisterra. As they say, the Camino was looking after me.
Walking out of Porto was mixed, initially it was easy to find the route, then it took some turns and I had to pay attention, all tnhis in the dark before anyone else was really up, then there was a long section just walking straight on a road out of town. I stopped here, now the sun was up for my usual breakfast in a cafeteria.
It may not be obvious to you initiallybut this is a confusing point in the route. This was actually the second one today and would not be my last. I came to this junction and saw the arrow on the curb pointing to the right, this is a typical Camino directional, the yellow arrow, but then I saw on a post straight ahead between the first and second street lamps a more official looking sign pointing straight ahead. Now heading out of Porto there are two routes, one goes up the coast, the other goes up the centre of the country. But my guidebook did not specify this was a splitting point. So, I was confused. It was about 9.30 am by now, I had already been walking for three hours. I sensed the Camino telling me to be patient, to wait, it would provide. I seemed to stand there looking at my guidebook for a long time, but probably no more than two or three minutes. Suddenly, a woman comes around a corner on the other side of the road, sees me, smiles broadly and shouts at me in Portuguese pointing to my right "Camino, Camino!" I bow graciously, shout an "Obrigado" Which is thank you and she follows up with Bom Camino! as I walk off. The Camino taught me a lesson I pondered on for the rest of the morning, not to rush a decision, not to fret, but to wait and let things develop and see what happens. All will become clear.
After another hour I walk into this small village and walk through the market. I purchase some apples and bananas and as I pay, the vendor hands me an extra banana with a "Bom Camino!" The generosity astounds me and I am very grateful. Please note my beloved cobblestones in both prior photos.
I reach Villarinho the first place I could find an albergue by 12.30, it is too early to stop for the day. I have been walking for 6 hours. So, I decide to walk onto Arcos where there are some pensiones. Having done this I find there is no room at the inn and have to carry on to Rates.
Crossing a road and following the trail down I go through this gate on my wat along a Roman Road to a Roman bridge.
Walking over these structures makes you realize how small we are in the big sphere of life. I do not know what the Romans who built this road and bridge were thinking, but overall we are just specks of dust.
There are a few hills to traverse, but nothing overwhleming, but it is a long tiring day.
I end up walking about 9 hours today, once again as I walk into Rates I am greeted by a colorful tiled church. It has been a 25 mile day on my own. Nothing I have not already covered. The albergue is large and there are lots of people, many only at the beginning of their caminos starting out from Porto, several are on their second day covering what I did in one day, in two, or starting up the coast then cutting across to join the Central route.
I ate very lightly today, something I realize I prefer, walking on an empty stomch and snacking rather than eating large meals. The albergue is a donation only, suggested rate five euros, which is about $6.50. Dinner is next door in a cafe. I take time to wash my clothes, hang them on the line to dry, eat dinner, then retire to bed. I am gladtonight for my ear plugs as there is a large snoring man in our room.
The doors you pass along the route are beautiful. My lesson today was not to rush decisions, trust your gut and allow guidance to come. I did not know it now, but in the year ahead this was something that was going to be very important as I have many very big and difficult decisions to make ahead of me. If only I had known I had doors to go through which have been hard, but worthwhile, and as I write this I realize I honored the lesson I learnt this day, waiting for guidance, not rushing, and trusting my gut and my heart. I am humbled as I sit and write this, thankful for the lesson the Camino taught me this day one year ago.
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