At about 4.30 am the large Portuguese group who were in the same room as us, decided to get up, alarms were going off, people were talking and one person turned the lights on in the room. Everyone else in the room was upset. And once you are awake, it is hard to go back to sleep with so much noise going on. So my group and several others who I had not met yey, decided to just get up and get going, so we were on the road by 5.00 am, walking in the dark.
The photo above is of a Roman bridge, it became a joke as all our guidebooks mention it, but we only saw it in the pitch black because of the Portuguese group.
After walking for two hours we came into this small village, where this church was and found a cafe open to have breakfast. That first coffee of the day is always glorious, especially when you have already walked several miles. Kirsten, Ulrika and myself are walking together.
It was dry, but obviously at times when it rains this system allows you to keep your feet dry, we see this several times as we walk for the remainder of the journey, a path, next to a creek bed.
After breakfast Ulrika takes off, she is in pain and rather than go slowly, she walks very fast and leaves us behind.
We walk along lovely lanes today, up and down hills, mainly going down during the day.
This was a Camino marker placed right in the cobblestones. We were heading towards Valenca and Tui, the border between Portugal and Spain. Portugal and Spain have different time zones, so we would lose an hour going into Spain as we cross the river. We all decided to stay in Tui, in the hope that the Portuguese group would stay in Valenca.
This is a view from the castle atop the hill at Valenca. Across the river is Tui where we will stay tonight. This was an easy 15 miles of lovely walking along country lanes.
I left Kirsten behind at some stage as she was admiring the flowers and listening to the birds and I sensed she wanted to be alone.
I meet up with the young Hungarian man who was in the photo with the Koreans in Valenca, he is walking on beyond Tui.
There is a beautiful church in the castle, plus a hotel, and several shops and restaurants plus homes as well.
As I walk down from the castle this shows a view below the walls.
It is very impressive and I literally walk down inside the walls to a small gate.
I walk down to the bridge, the border is in the middle of the river and I will walk along the side of the bridge.
There is a marker, and I stand with a foot in each country. I have reached Spain, another milestone in my journey.
This being Europe there is no actual, physical border crossing. The E stands for Espana, Spain and the P is Portugal.
I walk down to the base of the bridge as my guidebook recommends and catch this gentleman fishing. It is only 10.45, or 11.45 as I lose an hour, and realize that the sun will now come up an hour later, so we will be starting even more mornings in the dark.
I have walked 361 miles from Lisbon so far to Tui. The Albergue sits behind a Cathedral and across from the cathedral is a cafe. We sit in the square outside the cafe most of the afternoon talking among different pilgrims.
I meet a Danish couple, who I have seen before, he is a chef, now retired, but still young, and they now own a boat in Southern Portugal and rent it out to tourists. There is another German woman, Kristina who worked for the UN in refugee situations around the world, she has some amazing stories, very interesting woman, who ends up getting a call offering her a job and she needs to break off her Camino to go for the interview.
Tui is another medieval city, I feel at times with the walking that we have time traveled and dropped down in another age.
As I approach Santiago, the end is in sight I realize I need to walk to Muxi and Finisterra, I left my self time to do this but was not sure if I would. That has now been decided. I spend some of the afternoon finding a bank ATM, and a pharmacy to replenish my pain killing supplies, I get some arnica spray for my shin which spent the day taped up again. Still swollen and it worries me as it is also painful, may be just shin splints, or a strained muscle,but the going down and up hills hurts. But, another short day so that helps and the Albergue is very clean and pleasant.
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