Today marked our inaugural authentic day on the Camino. Our objective was to trek from Vilar do Pinheiro to Arcos, a stretch Google Maps estimated at 10 miles. However, due to taking ‘recommended detours’ to dodge the highway, it turned into a 13-mile journey. The last three miles were grueling, aggravated by the mid-80s (28C) temperature and the unforgiving cobblestone roads.
In our quest, we stumbled upon a convenience store for water and snacks, and the attendant kindly gifted us 1.5-liter water bottles each, recognizing us as Pilgrims on the Camino. We crossed paths with a group from the US and Germany, constantly passing each other. We shared a part of the path, eventually parting ways at lunchtime. Our meal consisted of pizza, lasagna, and beer, but it wasn’t without a mishap—Debbie hurt her shin while photographing a church, swiftly tended to by Michelle’s well-equipped first aid kit and our trusty Swiss Army knives.
During a water break, we encountered a gracious local who offered us giant slices of a mysterious melon-like fruit. Language barriers couldn’t impede communication—Julie conversed in Spanish, he in Portuguese, and understanding prevailed.
Our lodging at Villa D’Arcos is a converted home with two guest rooms. Each room incorporates showers and additional sinks, a quirky but functional setup. The property also boasts an unheated pool, a blissful respite for our hot and tired bodies. Presently, Julie is enjoying a massage, soon to be followed by the rest of us. The day will culminate with a delicious and hearty dinner with other Pilgrims from Canada and Israel. We were advised to commence tomorrow’s journey by 6:30 AM to beat the heat, anticipating an even longer day ahead.