The last five days have been a pleasant mix of walking selected segments of the Camino Portuguese, travelling by car through built up areas and touring further afield to visit places of interest that are some distrance from the pilgrim track. Highlights include exploring the fascinating town of Barcelos and arriving on foot in the picture postcard town of Ponte de Lima. Both are well worth including on an itinerary to Portugal. Our journey to each of these locations provided an wonderful opportunity to walk along tranquil woodland paths, through tiny villages, past freshly ploughed fields and animals grazing in lush grass. We were regularly wished ‘bon Camino’ by locals whom we passed.
Friday saw us tackling a more arduous route from Ponte de Lima to Rubiaes, a distance of some 18 Kms, in the drizzling rain. This included scrambling up a rocky hillside through pine wood forests to Alto da Portela Grande. What a great sense of achievement when we reached our destination! We were acompanied by a small group of German pilgrims who were walking all the way to Santiago. The added bonus of hearing the stories of other travelers is always welcomed. That evening we crossed the border from Portugal into Spain and stayed the night in the historic fortress town of Tui, which was, for many years at the front line in wars withneighboring Portugal, just across the river Minho.