Camino Portuguese – Vila do Conde to Esposende

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Wow does the Camino Portuguese have a lot of cobbled paths? And boardwalks! Despite the high mileage yesterday and very hard terrain so far,  I’ve avoided any blisters but have managed to pick up a thigh strain this afternoon. Lucky me!

It was fun mocking Mrs Bethell and her obsessional stretching routine before P.E when I was 12 but today I could have done with some serious stretching! This afternoon I’m trying to bring to mind all those funny little poses she would strike in her skimpy leotard in an effort to shake this strain off before tomorrow. Will I ever complete a camino injury free?

 

Today’s walk started well and I managed to go around a kilometre without having to fire up Google maps. The coastal Camino is new and not well waymarked so GPS apps are invaluable! As is the sea. Which is a pretty large waymarker that you need to follow North to the Minho. If you lose the sea though, or the sea loses you, then you’re done for!

 

By the time I arrived at the first stop of the day, the glitzy seaside resort of Povoa de Varzim (complete with Casino and looking a lot like Brighton) it was time for a croissant and OJ. This turned out to be my only food of the day before Esposende. I had not consulted the guidebook and forgotten it was Sunday. The second part of the day was in forest and all the shops were shut – had their been any! Reaching into my pocket for a five euro note to pay for my pastry, I pulled out the key to the Albergue from the night before in Vila do Conde. Oh dear.

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Even though John (Mr Brierley) had told me there would be no need to call ahead for a bed at Esposende, he hadn’t seen the stream of pilgrims who were passing me during my morning croissant. I decided to book ahead the Albergue Eleven and luckily (for me) got the last bed in the place. This was at 11am – with only 10kms to go I told them i’d be with them around 1-2pm. This was before the thigh strain.

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At 2.30, I limped into the Hostal Eleven. The hostel is super nice and one of the best albergues I’ve stayed in on all caminos with young friendly, multilingual staff who were very kind helping me with my bag and showing me around the hostel. The town though looks a bit rough so I’ll hang around the hostel tonight and hope my washing dries.

 

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Plenty of Voltarol and Mrs Bethnal stretching and hopefully I’ll be ok for tomorrow.

Some gross loved up teenagers are kissing  very sloppily in the bunk underneath mine. I feel like I’m part of their sex life. It’s time to explore after all.

Ok, turns out I am very wrong about this town. Just a short distance from the Albergue is a beautiful church, town square and clean streets! During my walk today I was thinking how funny it is that us humans make judgements so quickly with only partial vision and I’ve done the self same thing about this super place!

 

P.S – Yes I sent the keys back to the Albergue via this Albergue.

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