May 10th 2022 – Day 4
- Anha to Vila Praia de Ancora
- Distance: 23.6km on Gronze.com / 30.59km according to Fitbit
- Albergue: Albergue D’Avenida
Another morning on the Camino Portugués. The sun is breaking through as we woke up. There is another pilgrim in the kitchen availing of some of the buffet breakfast left by our kind hosts. I leave a message in their visitor message book and have some fruit before leaving. I will be back to that albergue, I enjoyed my stay there. I suppose the only bad thing about the albergue is the walk to get there but that is a minor inconvenience. We walk for about 500 metres to find the Camino and there it was – the first arrow of the day. We were in no rush, so we took our time. I was excited to be returning to the coast again. Our maps warned us of the gradual ascent starting right away but it wouldn’t be for too long. Most of the pilgrims we met the day previous had stayed in Viana do Castelo. You never know we might bump into them further on. That said, my mind seemed to be fixed on the bridge crossing at Viana do Castelo which was another 5 kilometres away.
The Camino brought us off road for a while and it did get challenging – one foot in front of the other. In all honesty, the downhill was more precarious that the uphill. One wrong footing and it could be the end of your Camino. So it’s all about taking it slowly, use poles if you need them and if you have friends, let them go ahead. That’s what I did. So we eventually got to the bottom of that hill and we were at the entrance of Viana do Castelo and I was looking for a café! But before that, we had a long high bridge to cross. For someone who is uncomfortable with heights, I didn’t do too badly – but I need to thank Wallace as my feet were jelly on that bridge. Traffic was coming at me and there is little room for pedestrians to walk. After about 10 minutes we were at a café, with a cafe com leite in hand. After 6km or so, I was quite happy to relax even though we had a good bit of walking ahead. We bought extra snacks as we knew there would be less facilities ahead. It was slightly awkward at the café as the owner was French and had no Spanish, and very little English. We got by in the end and he wished us all a Bom Caminho!
From here, we stuck to the Senda Litoral, an alternative route. In some cases, the Coastal route does not entirely follow the coast but goes through a few towns inland. On the Senda Litoral, there are less arrows (which would backfire on us later on in the day – but more on that later) and it is slightly longer. That said, the views are by far better. There is always the option to switch between the two routes if you want to find a café or accommodation. I loved the Senda Litoral – we had the company of the sea right up to Ancora and the boardwalks were delightful. I did struggle closer to Ancora but more on that later on.
Further back – the walk after Viana do Castelo was peaceful and we didn’t spot any other pilgrims. The boardwalk brings us to the Fort de Areosa – a piece of history, which was built in the 18th century. There is an information board to read. This was one of four forts built between Caminha and Viana do Castelo to suppress pirate raids. Now they sit and watch the incoming seas. We spot a number of windmills that line the coast that were used to mill grain. The wind blowing in from the sea was refreshing and this is something you wouldn’t get if I had walked the inner path.
We decided to take a short break at a bar beside Carreco and took in stunning views of the ocean. Another 2km of walking, it became apparant that Ray’s feet were causing him problems again so we had a break at Afife. I had been walking solo since the last stop but maybe it was time to walk with the guys. We had our snacks from Viana do Castelo and decided to stroll into our end point – Vila Praia de Ancora. This meant walking on boardwalk for about 5 km – no big deal.
The walk in to Ancora was long and the sun was punishing. The boardwalk was better than cobblestone though, so I very much enjoyed the day. But something happened that you don’t often see…the boardwalk just ended. I should have looked into this more… Nothing more to do but double back and use another boardwalk so we were walking along the main road soon. Quite a few pilgrims were confused by this I noticed but all it did was add another 5 km to our day, possibly more. Ray was really struggling and decided to have rest day the following day – a good choice!
The evening was spent enjoying the sun, and having some good food in Cafe Oceano. I was out cold soon after.
Next day – First day in Spain
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