Oh what a day!
We left our apartment at about 7:45. We were very torn about what to do and where to try to get to. Our first option was to stay in Neiva which was only 9km away. We knew that we would arrive at the albergue early and be guaranteed a room, but we were there before 11 and they didn’t open until 3. It was already getting so hot and with nowhere really to wait, it seemed silly to waste the day.
We continued through little villages and winding forest trails (that were BEAUTIFUL!!) and encountered our first significant elevation changes. At a church on the very top of one of the big hills we met a Portuguese couple who live in Toronto. She (along with many others today) warned us of trying to stay (or even walk through) Viana do Costelo. This weekend is Portugal’s biggest religious celebration. Millions of people were to be visiting Viana and we were told that the parade alone was made up of one million people. She told us that she was in Viana the previous day and that they couldn’t wait to get out. Shoulder to shoulder people on the streets. Wearing packs, that didn’t sound like a fun option.
We made it over a mountain about 10km further and talked with some locals who were outside in their yards. They had no information on any rooms available. Feeling hot, overwhelmed and uneasy about not having a room for the night we rested in the shade on a lawn across from a church. Two men arrived in a truck carrying wood and we played charades with them in an attempt to communicate. We didn’t find out much, but we did manage to learn that a cafe was close. We summoned up enough energy in the scalding heat and continued on to the cafe.
A young man served us and I was excited to learn that he spoke English. He was defiantly uncomfortable with us and was a little unsure with his responses but he was very helpful.
After spending lunch looking and searching all over the internet for a place to stay, we sadly realized that there was nothing we could do but jump a day ahead to be past all of the festivities.
After calling a cab, he drove us ahead to Caminha and took us to the orbitur campground. We were hoping to rent a cabin (shack) again. He dropped us off and we learned that there was no openings. Another long walk into the city centre and to the albergue. No openings there either and to top it all off, the volunteer working there had zero interest in trying to help us locate any type of accommodation. Soon after this we realized that Caminha was also full.
With the possibility looming of having to sleep on the beach, we went to the ferry hoping that we could find something if we crossed early into Spain. we were so concerned about traveling over and finding everything full again and shared this fear with the server at the cafe. A drunk, stinky man decided that he wanted to solve our problem and slurred ideas that we had already attempted. He was right in my face and the smell of his disgusting breath made me want to vomit. While this was happening, The server told Mom to wait and within 20 minutes the cafe owner was on her way to pick us up to stay in her house! We were SO thankful! I told the server that if I didn’t stink so bad I would hug her! She gave me a hug anyway 😊
They say the Camino always provides…❤️
We are so happy to be settled into her place (we have 2 bedrooms) and we just returned from buying fruit for tomorrow and having dinner. Unfortunately, we saw many other pilgrims wandering the streets unable to find accommodation. Not good!
It really is a shame that so much of our trip is spent being concerned about finding a bed for the night. We didn’t have this issue last time at all.
Tomorrow we will take the ferry over to Spain and walk to Viladesuso. we have already reserved a room so no worries there, but are now committed to walking that distance no matter how we feel.