5 May 2018

A Bridge almost too far!


Our BBF did not sleep so well last night. The first four hours he was like dead, but then he awoke to the realisation that a mossy had tried to eat him whole! Thereafter he only dozed. 



It was another beautiful day with no cloud in the sky, and temperatures which reached 24 Celsius according to one Farmacia sign.



At first we followed the coast road. It was cobbled which Alan’s feet did not like. 



They were making a new footpath which we didn’t like either for the knees had to work harder on the gravel. Consequently Alan balanced on the new kerb stones when he could. 



Near this church we stopped for breakfast at this end of the bridge over a the Rio Cavada.










It was a steel girder bridge, but many of the girders were badly rusted and we thought the Germans would have closed the bridge to traffic! 



After the bridge we turned left and followed the Rio through Esposende. The red line here.



There were a number of signs which showed us the way to go and today we chose a more inland route than just following the coast.



In Esposende they had laid out the red carpet for us!



We wanted to stop and play pirates here, but our BBF said we were too old for such foolishness, and so we walked on! 





The Atlantic Ocean can just be seen and it was after this that we went more inland.





We have no idea what this bush is called, but we called it the bottle brush tree!


There were more pilgrims on the route now and some missed the opportunity of going in this church!



Our BBF found a side door open and in we went. There were two people kneeling and praying in the side chapel! An old lady left before Alan sang. When he had finished we were prevented from leaving by the priest who was the second person kneeling in the chapel. He thanked Alan for his singing and gave us to understand it was beautiful! He offered Alan a stamp in his passport.





In the vestry he now blessed this little card which he gave us. We think it is a prayer for Joseph.

He also gave us a special Mother’s Day card.



He then stamped and embossed Alan’s passport!



Our BBF walked on feeling happy and pleased that he had found the courage to sing aloud in the churches.



The route left the coast and went uphill more than we really liked.



Most of it too was along cobbled roads which make Alan’s feet hurt! 



At one road junction we found this which Alan said was a Roman roundabout, but we think he was having us on!



We came to the next church we found open and in we went to sing.



There was soft Gregorian chant being played here and we thought singing was not on. As Alan sat in the first pew by this Altar the priest came out. Bold as brass Alan asked him to turn the music off so he could sing! 
Nothing doing, but we were offered a stamp in our pilgrims passport so we accepted! A number of German women seeing this also queued for a stamp and Alan used this distraction to return to the altar and sing. The priest thanked him for his singing too.

Outside again Alan thought it time to drink and eat his banana. He stopped in the shade of some trees by the German women and kept up on the walk to sit. In doing so he now broke the screen of his iPhone!! It is cracked right across and up and down! He seemed to take it all philosophically and we think he will use it as the excuse for buying a new phone when we are home again.



We walked on past old houses and high stone walls. Where we could we sought the shade.



Occasionally we emerged to sight the sea.





The path went uphill and into the woods!



You can’t quite see it in this photograph but the left edge of the stone seems to represent the coast of Portugal.



It got steeper and on the right was a ravine with rushing water. 





Coming down out of the forest we found this ancient bridge. A perfect Pooh Sticks bridge we thought and so we played Pooh Sticks and would you believe it, we lost! Our BBF did a little dance of joy at winning on the bridge.



The signs were in abundance now.



We finally emerged from the woods into another village and then found this Chica or whatever they call women in Portugues! 



She was outside an Albergue which opened at 16:00 hrs and as it was just 12:00 hrs we walked on. 



There was more uphill work and when we saw this wanted our photo taken. Alan is pointing to Lisbon where we started from. Someone should tell him to pull his stomach in for the photos, but he says he’s now over 70 and if you don’t like it you can lump it!





At the top of the hill was this church and quite a few pilgrims. The church was open and one could go in and stamp your own passport.



He sang again but as his throat was dry from the hill climb, not all the notes were as sweet as they have been! 



At the back of the church was the stamp and anodd inscription in the wall!




This we felt was a picture of Fatima!



Then it was onward and upward. He passed one German or Austrian pilgrim who was with the chap who had taken the photo of us with Alan pointing to Lisbon. She now asked was it true we had started in Istanbul!!! Crazy we thought! 



Here one can see that we have climbed a couple of hundred meters up from sea level today.



We went on through the woods again.





We were passed by quite a few pilgrims today.



We emerged from the woods by this church, but it was closed. 



After another climb uphill we found this church open! 





But there was a class of school children singing the catechism so it was not appropriate for us to sing too!




We passed yet another washing area, but without a roof this time! 



This one with a roof was at the foot of a hill so we had a drink stop in its shade before continuing up the hill. 



If you go uphill eventually you have to go down again. Here you can see our final destination!



The tide was out and we almost felt that this was a bridge too far today! 



It was an interesting road and rail bridge which was almost a kilometre long! 



After some 27 kilometres we were treated to another hotel room as Alan had had enough for the day! 



This is his bed! 



And this is ours which may explain why it’s not cheap!



After showering Alan did the washing and hung it on the balcony above the swimming pool!  



We went for a meal and an isotonic drink then and now it’s time for bed said Zebedee! Buen Camino! 🐻❤️