Today was almost identical in miles walked (17) and time walking (6 hours including lunch break) to yesterday, but that’s where the similarity ended. Whereas yesterday was exclusively along the water, the sun was shining and the locals and tourists were out in force, today/Monday was mostly overcast with very few people and a mix of shoreline and inland walking. Today’s blessing was time to myself…time to think about many things, time to slooow dooown, give my feet a break and smell some roses. I really enjoyed today. Today I felt like a pilgrim on a journey, not just some odd American with his straw fedora and a backpack. Still very few other pilgrims (that I’ve seen), but I’m sure that will increase greatly as I eventually pass from Portugal to Spain and join the main trail into Santiago de Compostela.
Catherine and I toured an extensive part of Portugal with friends back in 2012, so I knew both the country and it’s people were just lovely. Coming back, and seeing new areas, has not disappointed. Every single time I’ve hailed someone down for help with directions, whether they spoke no English, some or a lot, they have been willing and eager to help…and always with a smile and a Bom Caminho! What a treat that is.
Today I dedicated to my partner, my best friend, my bride of 38 years…Catherine Joyce Tanner. I knew I would miss her when I decided to go solo this time, but I’m always amazed at how I physically and emotionally ache for her when away. I traveled for 25 years in my coal career and thought time away was the balance we both needed. But that was largely with our 3 adult children still at home. Now that they’ve all been gone for 10 years or so, Catherine and I have become closer and more dependent on each other. Do we fuss & fight and cause each other grief? Certainly, but what marriage doesn’t have volatility? Our love is so strong though that all the beautiful things about our relationship come rushing back once apart. I miss and love you honey…more than you’ll ever know. So today I stopped into a small church about 2/3 the way into my journey and said a rosary for us, for our marriage, for our children that we love so dearly…for you honey.
I’m tired and badly needing a shower, so I’ll end here and send along some photos from my walk today. I must tell you that I looked at my Camino Ways suggested walking route today, which took me immediately away from the ocean into the city, and I made an executive decision to scrap that route and walk along the coast. I got caught in one section where my only play was to go on to the beach sans sandals and socks…an impetuous diversion that came with faith that I would somehow find my way back to dry land and ultimately my hotel. Faith is the cornerstone of anything of value…salvation, marriage, relationships. Without it, where would we be?
Bom Caminho family & friends.
Starting out Day 2…along the waters edge again.
Oh, so this is the Way!
Got an ankle rash from new sock liners yesterday, so decided the best cure was feet in the salt water sans saddles & socks. If the salt doesn’t cure it, maybe the COLD water will.
You want me to go where? In THAT water? Mercy…
I learned this great idea from the master…Catherine…on our French Way Camino in 2014. At the hotels that served a decent buffet breakfast, eat light early (fruit & yogurt) and pack a couple of ham & cheese croissant sandwiches and a pastry for lunch. Honey, they were just as good at the lunch break as you remember.
The tabernacle of the church I stopped in to had a distinct ‘seafaring’ theme to it. Notice the fish on the doors and what looks to be octopus tentacles behind it…adorned in jewels no less!
Our Lord & Saviour
The Virgin Mary
This statue must be of a famous fisherman as it look like he’s dragging a gigantic stingray.
Notice the small table and chairs to stop for a view or have a bite.
Several of these along one stretch of the beach. They look to be storage silos, but for what I’m unsure.
Sounds of the sea. Peaceful and beautiful area.
This stretch of Portuguese coastline reminds me a lot of Carmel and Big Sur near Pebble Beach. Rocky coast and scrub pines (versus the palms we see in FL) just inland…this one in spring bloom with new cones shaping nicely.
One of the most unusual…and clever…children’s public jungle gyms I’ve seen in a park. Just as you enter city center in Esponsende, it stays with the seafaring theme as it’s constructed to look like an old galleon vessel.
Both Portugal & Spain have many large statues in their public squares. This one shows some very strong men hoisting a large pole to a standing position…I think. Whatever, I’d like to recruit them for U of Miami’s offensive line!
These Easter banners lined the street of Esposende as you enter…quite beautiful.
King Sebastian and what he did for the locals.
One of the waymarkers to keep pilgrims on track.
After leaving the Atlantic you crossed the Rio Cavado by bridge. They have a large government cut connecting the river to the ocean, similar to our Sebastian Inlet back home.