From Tui, we detoured along the Spanish side of the River Minho to medieval Ribadavia, once an important Jewish settlement until the end of the 15th century when Catholic monarchs Isabel and Fernando expelled the Moors and Jews from Spain. First stop was the patisserie where we sampled cakes that looked too good to be eaten, washed down with cafe con leche and te. After a visit to the local tourist information we traveled on the Portuguese side of the river to the quaint village of Melcaso resplendent with stone houses, colourful window boxes, cobbled streets and charming squares. By this stage, one member of our group was heard to mutter (tongue in cheek) ‘not another medieval castle!’
The next day saw three members of our group back on the Camino path walking via forest tracks and tranquil pathways. Not to be outdone in terms of FUN, the other two, changed with the responsibility of transferring the luggage to our next stop had some amazing encounters of their own! Firstly being led up a very narrow village lane by our GPS named Prudence and being told by ‘her’ to ‘turn around when possible’ while one very anxious home owner waved his arms in horror. Secondly, being unable to reach the correct minor road to collect the three walkers, due to major roadworks… and being chaperoned there by an amused young Spanish couple who went right out of their way to assist.
The challenge of walking a whole stretch of the Camino was achieved the following day when some members of our little band walked 19 kms from Caldas de Reis to Padron. An especially wonderful accomplishment for some who had never imagined this possible. The necessary endurance coming from inner thoughts and being part of a group. That night the non walkers kindly volunteered to cook up a feast in the delightful rural stone farmhouse that we had rented in a tiny hamlet six Kms from town. We enjoyed a delightful evening together and dined like royalty, a fitting way to end our final day on the Camino Portuguese before covering the remaining 20 kms to Santiago.