On our second night in Ponte de Lima, we enjoyed a group dinner which we all agreed was a feast. It included a great selection of hot and cold tapas, main courses, homemade desserts and local wines. Those who clambered up Alto da Portela Grande (the highest point on this stretch of the Camino) earlier that day felt especially justified in eating such a hearty meal!
Next day we took a gentler walk out of the Coura valley to the Minho / Mino river where in centuries past fierce battles raged between peoples on either side of the Spanish-Portuguese border. Our Camino path took us first through the medieval streets of the historic walled fortress of Valenca before crossing into the equally charming Tui, Spain. After a well-earned bath and a good night’s sleep we spent the following day travelling by minibus beside the river, briefly crossing back into Portugal to visit a palatial mansion, a local winery and a spa. A group lunch in a family run restaurant was a real highlight. On this trip we were accompanied by two very knowledgeable locals, Guillermo from Spain and Jose Maria from Portugal, both of whom shared their extensive knowledge of this region.
A late start the following day saw us back on the Camino walking from our
overnight resting place in Pontevedra, to the small spa town of Caldas de Reis. We passed through beautiful wooded country lanes, vineyards and river valleys with many photo stops along the way. Some members of the group even had a back and foot massage before a simple but substantial pilgrim meal served at our family run hotel. Today the sun shone as we travelled through equally beautiful and diverse scenery towards the small town of Padron, only 20 km’s from Santiago. Before dinner we took group photos beside the bronze statue of a pilgrim who, like us, was nearing his journey’s end. Dinner tonight comprised a selection of delicious rationes (large serves of tapas), local vino and hot chocolate!
Anticipation of reaching Santiago tomorrow is now mounting. Each day we have collected decorative stamps in our pilgrim passports from wayside cafes and hotels. When we reach our destination we will present these passports at the Cathedral and receive a ‘Compostela’ which will serve as a memento of our journey.