Huzzah! I’ve arrived in Spain and I could barely contain my joy at doing so after five days in Portugal, attempting to hold any need to go to the toilet for five days, it’s clear to see that Spain treats its pilgrims far better than Portugal so I can relax. The pilgrim menus are back, the trendy albergues are back and the cafes that open when they say they do are most happily back!
I’m currently in Tui on the Portugal/Spain border and its a fabulous town with old cathedral, typically Galician architecture and top notch pilgrim facilities. I’m staying this evening at Ideas Peregrinas – recommended to me personally by John Brierley in Porto and he was right on the money (see photos below). All laundry facilities are here and you just leave the cash in a bowl – no suspicion – no tokens – and dry, fragrant smelling clothes once more.
This morning I woke up at 6am, got dressed and booted up and felt a sharp pain in my left little toe. I knew I had a blister but something was off. Removing my socks I could see the tip of my toe beneath its plaster and it was jet black. Ut-ho! Taking off the plaster my entire toe was a huge blister all around from top to bottom. After some betadine and needle surgery and some serious seepage (yuk!) I was ready to go but this toe gave me trouble every kilometre of the next twenty with many stops needed to drain the massive blister. My good leg, the one with the thigh sprain, had to take the burden and started to play up about 1km from Tui so I couldn’t get into the last Albergue fast enough.
The first 15kms of this stretch are along the Minho and mostly on red asphalt. The views of the Minho were amazing and the peace of the morning inspiring. Be warned though, there is nothing to break this path, no cafes, no facilities and the first cafe comes on the entrance to Valenca. I have no photos of Valenca as I managed to miss the arrows into the city and take the motorway instead around the city directly to Tui! That’s a regret, as from the outside of the city walls looking in, I felt sure this was a highlight in Portugal but like anyone who has done a camino the urge never to turn back for any reason is great!
So this evening i’ll amuse myself in Tui. All laundry is done. Blog post done. Looks like an early morning start to Mos tomorrow. I was advised to walk long tomorrow by the cafe owner on the entrance to Valenca, to avoid a mid-day climb the next day over the highest part of this camino. Looking at the Brierley guide there’s not too many stops again tomorrow as we’re routed away from industry and into the countryside once more, so I’ll need to find a shop here in Tui tonight for the usual biscuits, crisps and orange I carry with me 🙂
Today I have eaten a 12 packet of shortbread biscuits! And you know what? I’d do it again! And probably will!