Camino Portugués 2023 – Day 5 – Caminha to Oia

The days are going by so fast.

Today was a slow day and I was probably the last one out of the albergue this morning. It was great to meet pilgrims from all over the world, each taking their own paths. A few now are walking to Valença, some were walking to Porto, while the rest of us move in unison to Santiago along the coast. A few wanted to walk the Camino Espiritual and this has become popular recently. I enjoyed my stay in albergue Bom Caminho. The hospitalera was very kind and Caminha was a great place to stop. But it was time to move on.

If you walk the Coastal Route, you need to cross the River Mino to Spain to continue your Camino. Xacobeo Transfer provide a ferry service and bring pilgrims to the Spanish coast for a few euro. The port is just outside the main plaza and we were greeted by a small boat. We were 6 pilgrims and within 10 minutes, we arrived in Spain. The weather took a turn for the worst while we were crossing but we were dry when we were in Spain. I was happy to say “gracias” when I started walking again. Once you get off the boat, you have two options to walk – walk up and over the hill to A Guarda or around the coast which is longer. No prizes for guessing who was walking on his own. The walk A Pasaxe is through forests and is mainly flat and there are boardwalks. Within a few hours, I was in the marine town of A Guarda.

I stopped here for a while for a menu del deia and a browse. A Guarda is a village built on fishing and was the starting point of my 2018 Portugués Camino. Cafes and restaurants line up along the coast. After some food, I wander through the port with artwork. Drawings of boats, castles, sea creatures and spaceships make up “A Guarda Escrita nas Estrelas”. I am getting cold so I push on but take another photos beside the Museo del Mar sign before leaving – showing that I have been here three times.

The Camino skirts the coastline for the next few hours. It is easy walking generally and it is nice to be by the coast like I have been for the previous week. I drift between dirt trail and the main road (PO-552) for the duration of the morning and I know I am coming close to Oia when I see the yellow brick road. Walking up the main road tires me out as there is a brief climb up from the lower coast, and I am tempted to stay up above on the main road until I arrive in Oia. I meet some German pilgrims during the day but I am pretty much walking solo until I arrive at Oia.

Before I arrive in Oia, I wanted to have a snack in Portocelo. The family there were doing renovations or putting up an extention and saw me walking away. One of the owners came out and said not to go away, so that put my mind at ease. I was full when I left. I met an Irish couple there who were staying the night in Viladesueso. It was strange we didn’t meet again, but it is what it is.

I arrived in Oia close to 3pm and stop at LaCala-A Pilgrims Inn. It isn’t my first stay there and I am sure it won’t be my last. I find great solitude in this little village, with its monastery standing tall over the Atlantic Ocean. There is great peace here. You might like it too? I was treated to dinner by a German family – the kindness of strangers.

What would be my shortest day turned out to be an enjoyable day – the boat trip, and my stay in La Cala.

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