Moonset on the Meseta

Moonset on the Meseta

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ponte de Lima

We are slowly making our way north toward Santiago after two nights in Barcelos where I took it easy to try to shake my cold.

I felt much better on Monday morning (yesterday) as we set out about 7:30 in a fine drizzle that became a steady rain.  In a small bar I unzipped my wet pant legs and put rain pants over the rest of the pants. Over rain jacket and pack covers we put our ponchos.  Kent tied the poncho hood over my hat with my bandana so I could see when I turned my head.  We walked on some muddy trails where mud went up over my shoelaces, but rain soon washed the mud away. 

We stopped at a little crossroads cafe Olveira with the usual contingent of men smoking and playing cards, and had most delicious warm ham and cheese sandwiches and cafe con leche. As we ate, the rain stopped, and we even had some wonderful sunshine in the afternoon as we walked among green flower-filled fields, and over a medieval stone bridge.

We met Frederick from Ottawa, at the cafe where I added rain pants, but he and his friends were much faster walkers than we.

Later we were enjoying a break on a stone wall on a hillside when we met a group of 4 friendly Croatian pilgrims.

All of these people were heading to Ponte de Lima last night, but by the time Kent and I got to Casa Fernanda, about 2:30 or 3 pm, and about 19 plus km from Barcelos, we were both thinking we did not want to walk 14 more km that day.  It was still sunny off and on, but a cold wind gusted, and I was slowing down.  Fernanda said we could stay, invited us to a room in the house with a double bed and a bath, and then she disappeared for 3-4 hours.  I sat outside for awhile, and we read (I am rereading Finn Family Moomintroll and finding it oddly comforting),  then we huddled under layers of blankets and sleeping bags in our room, but it was very cold, so cold my hands got too cold to hold the book.  About 5:30 pm we walked outside, following the country lanes in 4 directions. Finally, at perhaps 6:30 or 7, we heard Fernanda in the kitchen, where she built a fire in a wood stove, and began cooking on her modern range. She gave us a jug of wine and some pistachios as we warmed up at the kitchen table while she cooked.

We ended up enjoying her conversation and cooking (fish, potatoes, greens) and homemade wine, and we were later also joined by her husband Jacinto and her daughter.  We saw the news of the discovery of the wreckage of the Malaysian airlines flight.  The stove heated the pipes in the radiator in our bedroom, so we had a little heat at bedtime.

We arrived here in Ponte de Lima about noon today after walking through lovely country and pretty small villages, and found a hotel in the old town center.  We have heat and internet and hot showers.  We are not sorry that we are not in the albergue in a dormitory with bunk beds and no heat.  As the picture from our window shows, the weather is miserable, cold, and rainy.  It is good to breathe warmer air here in our room.

We had an excellent lunch this noon at Restaurant Alameda overlooking the swollen river and the ancient bridge.

Weather is predicted to remain miserable at least through tomorrow when we have another 20 km to go.

We would love news from home.

Kent and Linnea

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