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Published: October 10th 2016
Vila Praia de Ancora
18 September 2016, Sunday, Vila Praia de Ancora to A Guarda , Spain. Day 20. 12 miles
TCHAU or DESPEDIDA to PORTUGAL -- goodbye Portugal
We will miss Portugal! And what will we miss? How to fix cod in, at least, 100 different, delicious ways: saying the greeting, "Bom Dia" which has such a cheerful, jaunty tone: beautiful, beautiful beaches well maintained: the fact that the crazy drivers actually stop for pedestrians in crosswalks: lovely, helpful people. We have had such a variety of experiences. Jo and Harlan have 'soldiered' along the entire Portugeuse Camino. In addition to doing portions of the Camino I have also done the 'meet the locals' route and both have been enlightening as well as entertaining.
What will I NOT miss: The streets papered with cigarette buts and carpeted with dog feces. But the land is beautiful and there is hope that people can learn to pickup after themselves and pets. One of the practices we all did was to clear our dishes from the tables and take them to the bar instead of just letting everything pile up on the tables. We always received a "Obrigado," from the owner or barista.
How the Camino is marked in Portugal
Blue arrows to Fatima, Yellow arrows to Santiago de Compostela, Spain
We leave the hotel Meira, with its lovely linens, and walk to the fire station where we turn left and go to the beach for our trail along the beach. There is a boardwalk and path along the beach but the arrows have us continuing along the parallel road. We are reluctant to go along the beach not knowing how far the boardwalk will go. Finally, after more than four kilometers and seeing the bicycles continue along the beach path, we go down to it and walk for the next kilometer. The path and the arrows then show that we go under the railroad tracks through a tunnel and onto the road into the town of Moledo.
Through this town, on the street, we come to a roundabout where the arrows go right but the town of Caminha is left. Our goal is to make the 11 o'clock ferry from Caminha across the Minho River. This river is the border between Spain and Portugal. So we walk along the busy N 13 National Highway into the town of Caminha which is about four kilometres away. It is now about 10:30 as we are walking along the riverbank and we
see the ferry crossing the river from the Spanish side. We still have about two kilometers to go. We managed to arrive with 8 minutes to spare.
The ferry is full of cars and many pilgrims in different groups. I paid our fare of one euro each. This ferry saves more than 25 kilometers to get to the closest international bridge so we are very thankful it is running.
Once across to the Spanish side of the Minho, a lady at the ferry terminal stamps our pilgrim passport and gives us a map showing the details of the Portuguese Coastal Camino in Spain. The terrain profile, ups and downs, is what we are most interested in knowing.
As we are having coffee we learned that the time is an hour ahead in Spain so it is 12:30 not 11:30 as it had been in Portugal. For those who may not know, Franco wanted Spain to be more closely aligned with Germany after he came to power, so he put Spain on the time zone with Germany which it actually two time zones farther east. It has remained this way since restoration of the democracy in Spain. The
arrows have us climb steeply after leaving the ferry. This takes us over the mountain to A Guarda. After a while we have a nice walk on a path through a eucalyptus forest. We have beautiful views across the Minho into Portugal and it is with some nostalgia we turn our backs on this lovely country and face north to Santiago in Galicia, Spain.
We come out on a paved road only 800 meters to our Hotel Celta. We have completed this 8.8 mile stage in less than 5 hours including the ferry crossing. And by only walking 12 miles!?* So much for the details from Follow the Camino!.
Julian and Moira have taken the ferry behind us. A nurse has looked at Moira's blister, 'doctored it up' and they are on their way. They can really move fast. We are happy to see them and it is good to be all together again.
Tot: 2.487s; Tpl: 0.069s; cc: 17; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0416s; 2; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb