Day 24 – 3rd November 2016, Viana do Castelo to Vila Praia de Âncora
The healing power of sleep
Fourteen hours straight of pure, uninterrupted sleep…bliss!. We were talking about life lessons recently weren’t we? The Camino teaches us many lessons. Another important one is to love onesself and to take care of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. For me, this means listening to my body – what is my body telling me?
Aches and pains are all par for the course, in terms of stretching and using muscles that have been more used to a sedentary environment, unless the pain becomes unbearable and then it is time to take remedial action. On this journey so far, Brett has already helped me to sort out my painful right foot – I rectified the falling-apart footwear and Brett’s daily foot massages facilitated the small bones and muscles in my feet to come back into alignment, which was a great relief. I still experienced some degree of pain in my right foot but nowhere near as much. I was on the mend. Hurrah!
When exhaustion sets in, it is also time to take action, or rather I should say ‘inaction’! Sleep is a wonderful healer and the fact that both of us slept the clock round, revealed that our bodies needed the rest at that point. I learned on my first Camino, that sleep deprivation from staying in noisy, shared dorms, with pilgrims coming and going, flashing head lamps, snoring, farting and rustling plastic bags is a big challenge.
Of course, it is good for each pilgrim to experience the pilgrim way of being among such a transient community and learning to share space with others well. However, I don’t subscribe to the school of thought that insists ‘someone is only a true pilgrim if you only stay in albergues all the time’…and I have heard this said on more than one occasion. It’s the judgement thing again.
Instead, in learning to love onesself, I believe there is no shame in pulling back from that now and again to seek peace and quiet by choosing to stay in a private room (some albergues have them) or book a room in a pension, or residencial etc. Just to catch up on sleep and to keep sane!
Feeling refreshed, Brett and I set off from Viano do Castelo and once again, found ourselves walking away from the waterfront (sigh) and into the countryside. Not only that but the Camino trail brought us between high stone walls on several occasions. I had to jump to see over them to spot the ocean and sometimes we lost sight of it all together.
The devil is in the detail
Walking makes us slow right down and become more observant to the details all around us – the sight, sound, smell, texture and sensations from our environment. Our feet stepped on stone paths consisting of uneven cobbles of varying sizes. I was grateful for the support from my sports insoles!
We paused to admire a stream, listen to the sound of rushing water over pebbles and appreciate the cool breeze that accompanied it.
We noticed a scary scooby do that had seen better days guarding the wayside and a tiled picture on the side of a house depicting Saint Michael defeating the devil.
Further on the cobblestoned path wended its way alongside rustic stone buildings and over a stream, a bit like a ford, which was an exquisite spot.
Wide ocean spaces
Brett and I stopped for lunch in the Caminho de Santiago café Por do Sol on the way to Vila Praia de Âncora. We were so happy when the Camino trail brought us right back to the water front and we could see the ocean again. In Vila Praia de Âncora, a somewhat sprawling seaside town, we found acommodation at Apartmentos Turisticos, near the sea front, for 35 euros (a pilgrim rate for a flat). This seemed like a good deal compared to Hotel Meira up the road, which offered a steep pilgrim rate of 50 euros, too expensive for us.
After we settled into our room, we wandered off to the beach to revel in the wide ocean spaces under the setting sun.
Distance walked today = 22.66km
Cumulative distance walked so far = 540.62km
Peace, love and light,
PS If you are looking for alternative accommodation we noticed Hostel Avenida on the sea front.