Waking up at 6am, my typical start time, elicited some playful grumbles from the others. The aim was to hit the trail by 6:30, wisely dodging the sweltering midday sun. Our target today: a solid 13 miles, mirroring yesterday’s journey, sticking to the plan with no unplanned diversions. Yet, our early departure led us astray for a bit due to a missed sign in the pre-dawn darkness. Ironically, this detour led us to a gas station where we joyfully indulged in much-needed cappuccinos — two for each of us, accompanied by a couple of delightful pastries.
It was then that I remembered I had a trusty app displaying the camino route, knowing full well that Google Maps often falters on the camino path. Pulling up the app, we confirmed our slight deviation but were content with the diversion, especially because of the caffeinated boost. The sun was now out, aiding our vision of the camino way markers.
We set a brisk pace, making quick progress, soon surpassing the halfway point. A café provided a welcome respite, offering omelets for breakfast and a chance to hydrate with a couple of bottles of water. We strolled through eucalyptus forests, passing by several fruit trees and some wilting grapevines. Julie, adventurous as ever, sampled some unfamiliar fruit which turned out to be a ‘Tamarillo’. She also plucked a couple of grapes from the vine and snagged a chestnut from the ground. She devoured them all, experiencing no ill effects so far.
We reached Barcelos at 1:11pm, 6 hours and 30 minutes after our departure, having covered 13.3 miles. This pace was noticeably faster than my last camino experience. However, our feet were protesting loudly, and both Michelle and I battled a few calf cramps. To soothe our weary bodies, we savored a refreshing beer, took much-needed showers, and indulged in a rejuvenating nap. Around 3pm, we embarked on a quest for a laundromat. With our clothes clean and no further obligations until dinner, we immersed ourselves in books, attended to emails, sifted through photos, and primarily focused on giving our feet a well-deserved rest.