“Be resilient. It’s the only way to get through life. And it still leaves room for having fun”.
As I write this we’re sitting down at the O Jagar restaurant’s outdoor dining area, at the side of a river, listening to the water cascading down rocks and into a pool where Carolyn is currently cooling her weary feet. It’s a beautiful spot, 20km into today’s walk, which leaves us 13km from our destination. We’ve re-fuelled with delicious Portuguese beef, rice and salad, drunk a pitcher of lemonade (I know, we’re wild and crazy kids living life on the edge) and are preparing to get our rapidly stiffening joints up out of our chairs and back on the road. With a bit of luck we should be finished by about 6.30 this evening.
4.00pm. Coffee break. 26.84 km completed. Snickers bar for me, pastel de nata ( Portuguese Custard Cake) for Carolyn. Having a bit of trouble with left foot, but it’s all in the mind! Might just sneak into Ponte around six.
And so it was that at 5.30pm we were walking down the magnificent tree lined Avenue Luis Filipe, resplendent with its patterned paving stones, the River Lima on our left, shimmering in the evening sun. It’s as nice an entrance to a town as we’ve come across, with impressive modern statues, despite, according to our Camino guide book “….priding itself on being the oldest town in Portugal “. it almost made the day’s efforts in getting here worthwhile! (Actually it was completely worthwhile; the day passed without any major glitches and the weather was perfect for walking.)
As we walked/marched/strolled along I found myself recalling a film starring Denzel Washington, in which he plays a cop who finds himself facing none other than Satan himself, who keeps jumping from person to person in the course of the movie, turning them into murderous psychopaths for the duration of the possession. Denzel has to figure out how to destroy the evil one before he can jump into another innocent body and create further gratuitous mayhem. I realise this shockingly poor synopsis isn’t going to have you rushing to the Netflix archives, but it’s a really good film. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of it, but Denzel is, as ever, excellent throughout!
Anyway, the thing is, (as Elton John famously sang) this is very similar to my current Blistardo situation. I reckon that while our boots were sitting redundant in the garage following the Camino Frances, the spawn of the evil one were left in my boot, (the evil one having remained in residence in Carolyn’s boot), waiting patiently for my previously uncorrupted feet to enter and be possessed by the foul, rancid, utterly bogging apprentice blisters of the malevolent Master. Explains everything, really.
We’ve just enjoyed a drink with Jill and Robin, a terrific couple from Melbourne who are walking sections of this Camino and following pretty much the same route as us for this week. They are another reminder of why doing this is such a pleasure: charming, interesting, self effacing and completely relaxed, they’re a pleasure to sit and pass the time with, as are so many of those you meet along the way.
No medieval jesters/knights/damsels/ this evening. It’s all very calm and laid back in sunny Ponte de Lima tonight. This suits us just fine, as tomorrow is a grade 5 walk (“for extremely fit people only”- what a load of nonsense) to Pecene. We’ll have a couple more drinks in this wonderful sunshine then hit the sack.
All is well in beautiful, sun kissed Portugal. Hopefully it will stay this way tomorrow. The word is it’ll be 25 degrees. Nice!
A LIST OF 5 THINGS WHICH HAVE AN EXTREMELY HIGH PROFILE IN NORTHERN PORTUGAL :
(1) FIELDS OF CORN (ubiquitous)
(2) COBBLES (absolutely everywhere)
(3) HYDRANGEAS (they’re everywhere too – lovely)
(4) VINES (not actual vineyards, but they invariably border the cornfields)
(5) GOATS (who clearly get on fine with ponies, as we saw them sharing a field)
Today’s album track is “ Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones. For obvious reasons, although in the Denzel film, the guy at the start of proceedings who’s about to go to the electric chair, sings “Time Is On My Side”, also by the Stones. Carolyn chose the former.