May 11th 2022 – Day 5
Today, we would be leaving Portugal and walking to a little piece of heaven in Oia.
Let me digress for a moment before I talk about the day…
Oia is in Spain – another country. It’s not often that I country-hop, I usually walk within Spain or Portugal, but this is what you do on the Camino Portugués. That said, I wasn’t quite sure how to feel leaving Portugal as I did enjoy my time there. The language and the lack of signage aside – the Coastal Camino in Portugal sure has some great views. Was this the Camino winding down for us? I wouldn’t say that – maybe turning to a new chapter – one that I more familiar with. In 2018, Ray and myself walked from A Guarda to Santiago along the coast so I would be revisiting some of these parts. Parts like Oia, but when I stayed there in 2018, La Cala wasn’t on my radar.
La Cala means “The Cove” in Gallego and hospitalera Tanya Valdez is ready to welcome pilgrims with comfortable beds in the backdrop of the Altantic Ocean and the monestery. You will be tempted to come back again if you do stay. I am already looking forward to return.
Now, back to the start of the day….
Leaving Ancora, I was joined by Wallace. Ray decided to take a rest and he would meet us in Oia when we both arrived. I was glad he made that decision and hoped he would heal up. We left Ancora along the coast and had a couple of hours walk before arriving at Caminha. It was uneventful but I did enjoy the conversation with Wallace. When I am speaking with other pilgrims, places and times fail to register and I just concentrate on the now. Caminha was asleep when we arrived. An albergue had a car outside it and it was bringing pilgrims to the port – “it isn’t that far?” I thought to myself.
And there it was! “Taximar” written on a small building by the port with the ferry floating beside it. We heard rumours that the ferry was not running and the alternative would be a taxi boat. I was eager to get in and try either! We paid our €5, we were told to board the ferry and then asked to disembark the ferry and get on a taxi boat. It was the funniest thing! But we were moving and we were on the way to Spain. These things are pretty fast and we were at A Pasaxe in less than 10 minutes. I look forward to do it again!
Next stop was A Guarda but we had quite a bit of walking yet to go before getting there – much to my amazement. On arriving in Spain, you are left with two options – either take the up and over or take the long way around. We took the long option to get the A Guarda – a 7 km that I hadn’t counted for. The upside of this was having the sea by our side the full duration of our walk. We had the company of boardwalk again which was a plus.
A Guarda has a number of cafes and restaurants along the seafront but there isn’t much activity in any that we see open. It is pretty sleepy sea-seaside town, not like the sea itself which is restless. We are both looking for something to eat and we see a cafe with a huddle of pilgrims in the far corner of the town. We are in luck but the poor owner is in the deep end with no help. I had no problem waiting though. I found that I was drinking a lot more Coca Cola on this Camino – which initially tastes good, but I was trying to get off the stuff. I would stop drinking it once I returned to Dublin. When we had finished in the cafe “Porto Guardes” – I asked Wallace to take a photo by the A Guarda sign. I had the same one taken 4 years ago – notice the difference.
Leaving A Guarda, we stick to the coast for the first few kilometres. There was a rough trail but it was well signposted. Once or twice, we were forced to walk uphill to the main road (PO 552) – the pedestrian side is covered in yellow. It got to the stage that we ignored the arrows and stayed on the main road as the uphill climb was too much. We arrived at Portecelo and we were greeted by a large outdoor restaurant. We were asked to go indoors to this portocabin and order what we wanted and it would be brought out to us. I was in the mood for something substantial and something to quench my thirst. The sun was starting grow higher in the sky.
Next stop – Oia and we were there within an hour and a half. Ray had arrived first, naturally. I arrived and was unsure where to find the albergue but after some detective work on Tanya’s behalf I made it. We spent the day resting and preparing for the next day ahead. It was good to finally meet Tanya after years of conversing with her behind a laptop. She is the kindest soul and I can’t wait for my return. Props to Ray for making dinner for myself and Wallace. It was fantastic. I definitely owe you one when I get my chef’s confidence together on the Camino.
Everyone was so tired after the heat that an early evening was had. Wallace decided to take a rest day along with Ray from Oia so I would walk to Baiona by myself the next day.
Follow me as I write about that day in my next post.