Goodbye & thank you Portugal, hello Galicia…

Day 25 – 4th November 2016, Vila Praia de Âncora to A Guarda

Hello friends!

Applause for Vaude

A rainy start to the day for us this morning but the inclement weather did not dampen our spirits. After another great night’s sleep, we were up and raring to go in our rain ponchos, like two larger-than-life smurfs.

We’d like to give a round of applause to Vaude for their environmentally and practical rain gear for hikers, that packs down into a small pouch, is easy to put on over the head and backpack and does the job keeping everything dry! Plus we love the colour, it matches our eyes, don’t you agree?

(For other pieces of our Camino kit, please read this post Preparing to walk the Camino Portugues and an essential kit list).

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A vision in blue

Following the yellow brick road (well almost…) to the ferry

We followed the yellow brick road (well not quite yellow, more of an ochre) along the shoreline, towards a mountain peak that resembled the cone of a volcano. It was quite an eerie sight, piercing the mist. 

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Leaving Vila Praia de Ancora, heading towards Caminha.

This was an easy walk for us. Soon we came to a coastal map, which was interesting as it showed the existing and planned boardwalks and trails, which would complete the Coastal Route in the next few years.

Brett and I discussed coming back here again when the route is finished, because this section of the Camino Portugues (from Porto to Santiago) is by far our favourite and we would love to be able to walk the whole shoreline, instead of having to turn inland and walk between walls!

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Map showing existing and planned sections of the coastal route

Soon, we reached a beautiful sweeping sandy beach on the way in to Caminha, where the ferry terminal is. Today marked an important ‘milestone’ on our journey, because we would leave Portugal behind and cross over into Spain and the beautiful, region of Galicia.

A bittersweet moment, for sure in many ways. We had enjoyed our time in Portugal, especially the hot sunshine, forests, rivers, the coastline route from Porto and friendly folk we have met en route. So leaving this behind was tinged with sadness.

However, there are plenty of things I wouldn’t miss about the Camino Portugues, (I am mainly referring to the section between Lisbon to Porto), such as having to walk along dangerous and busy main highways, over train tracks and through industrial estates; the incessant barking of domestic dogs in gardens;  the shortage of albergues and other types of budget accommodation to break up the long stages and the pain in my right foot!

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The beautiful, unspoilt sandy beach on the way in to Caminha

We stopped for breakfast at a café at the end of the promenade, before heading further into town to catch the ferry. The schlepp into the centre was a bit of a long and boring one, but never mind. We arrived at the ferry and were completely gobsmacked to discover they were only charging 1 euro per person. What? That’s nuts! A far cry from the walk on cost on BC Ferries from Salt Spring Island and also a river journey on the Thames with an oyster card! On we hopped and Brett immediately started chatting to the Captain, who invited him to take a closer look.

 

Into glorious Galicia

A few minutes later we docked at A Guarda. We were now in Galicia! A tingle of excitement, welled up inside my solar plexus.  For some reason, which I couldn’t put my finger on, I felt an affinity with this region of Spain, as soon as I crossed over the border between Castille y Leon and Galicia during my ascent of O Cebreiro on my first Camino in 2015.  It is almost as if I had lived here in a past life or something…the land, language, food and music seemed so familiar and comforting.  

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Happy to be in Galicia, once again!

At first we thought the Camino trail would snake around the hills, close to the shoreline into the main town, but no, instead the path turned inland over the hills, through forest and then descended into the centre of A Guarda. 

 

A myriad of pastel coloured houses and restaurants decorated the harbourside. Brett and I strolled along the harbour wall and got our bearings, before we climbed up to the albergue for peregrinos, run by the Vincent de Paul society.  Here, a dorm bed costs 5 euros per person per night. The dorms were large, clean, cheerful and airy.  Hospitalero Antonio, welcomed us warmly and told us that he had walked 16 Caminos so far, and was still planning to walk more!

Later on, we ambled back down to the waterfront and found a charming restaurant for a delicious Galician evening meal. All was good in our world.

 

Distance walked today = 17.41km

Cumulative distance walked so far = 558.03km

Peace, love and light,

Sarah xxx

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