Week one of our coastal Camino provided varied and colourful vistas of both the hinterland and the sea. We set off in Povoa de Varzim, once an important ship building town during the Age of Discovery. Our path, a boardwalk above sand dunes, was enhanced by wildflowers and the sight of an occasional atmospheric windmill from a bygone era. These sights gradually morphed into more rural landscapes and well cropped market gardens, until we finally reached our destination, the attractive seaside town of Esposende.
The weather was perfect as we hugged the coast and sometimes climbed upwards through tiny hamlets and peaceful woodlands. Magnificent Atlantic Ocean views were never far away. Moving ever onward, each day we navigated many different surfaces through ever changing terrain. Some paths were kinder than others on our feet – each one with its own beauty. A lunch stop at a stone bridge over a river gorge was a welcome treat for tired feet!
Our Way through northern Portugal took us over Eifel’s iron bridge into Viana do Castelo, well known for its medieval boulevards and ornate palaces. Seeking even more spectacular views, some took the funicular to the highly sited monumental Church of Monte de Santa Luzia that dominates the skyline. Further on in the fishing town of Ancora we came to one of the most magnificent beaches on the Costa Verde. Yet another highlight was the chance to stay in the tiny seaside village of Oia with its stone houses and narrow winding streets. Few people apart from local residents witness the 12th C. Cistercian Monastary lit up at night.
In this part of the Iberian Peninsula early Summer is a popular time for festivals and village celebrations. To our delight we chanced upon a few! The first an annual religious ceremony where the residents had created colourful flower petal trails through the streets leading to the village Church. Another day the pulsating sound of beating drums and twirling street theatre figures on stilts greeted us as we reached the Portuguese border town of Caminha. Next day, having taken a ferry crossing into Spain, we were entertained in the historic city of Baiona by a lively Celtic band and a troupe of men dancing in front of the 13th C. Church of Santa Maria.
But like all good things our luck with the weather finally turned! We’d been warned that it can rain at any time in Galicia! And it did! Grey skies brought showers that in turn led to muddy tracks, wet coats and damp feet! Undeterred we pressed on and were rewarded with a rainbow!