Camino Portugues Portugal

Day 20: Seixas to Valenca

After a good nights sleep and good breakfast overlooking the River Minho, I was walking again. The river is the border between Portugal and Spain, which I will be following, going east to the border town of Valenca, 24 kms.

I left equally concerned about my foot and the heat. My foot felt better but was still swollen, although less than yesterday. There were a couple of train stations enroute, so they would be my lifeline. Then there was the heat! When I left at 9.15 it was already 29 degrees, it reached 38 degrees whilst I was walking. I wonder if I have ever experienced 38 degrees before, let alone walked in it with a full pack.

I started off with pains in my ankle, and almost immediately considered stopping. But for every step I took, I felt that the ancle loosened, and the pain pretty much went away after 5 or 6 kms. I arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon, more impacted by the heat than my foot.

It was a pleasant, but boring and not challenging stage (which was probably good given my ancle) on wide, level paths, mostly by the side of the river. The paths were mostly used by cyclists, not many walkers.  I didn’t meet many walkers today, a few just as I started out, and then a couple when I stopped for a break after 8km at Vila Nova de Cerveira. I made the mistake of not buying water when I stopped, and in the increasing heat, my supply so ran out. As the path was lined with trees, I could often find some shade.

Whilst most pilgrims continue north, crossing the river by boat from Caminha, all pilgrims that have followed in the inland central route, pass through Valenca. Added to that Tui, just across the border from Valenca, is 100km from Santiago de Compostela, and to get a certificate for walking, you must walk 100kms, so many start in Tui. So all in all, I expect there to be quite a few walkers tomorrow.

Views of the river were often blocked by many different types of trees and bushes, whilst on the inland side of the path, there was a mixture of agriculture, mainly corn, and houses.

Being so close to Spain my watch kept flipping back and forth between Portuguese and Spanish time (1 hour difference) so at times I was confused what the time actually was. On a curious not at Vila Idalina, where I stayed last night, my telephone showed Portuguese time in the garden, but Spanish time in the house.

After ca. 17km I came across a small cafe, and bought a sandwich and a large bottle of water, which I’d downed half of before the sandwich arrived.

I was dripping wet when I arrived at the hotel, and took a cooling shower before visiting the walled town. Most of the center of Valenca is situated within a fort, built in the 17th century, that protected Portugal from Spanish, and later French, invasion. Most of the shops sold towels and dishcloths, by the kilo! Valenca was a fitting end to my time in Portugal. I have loved walking in Portugal and not least the hospitality of the Portuguese. Now I get to see what Spain brings.

I ended the day with a chicken masala – eating Indian on my last day in Portugal. It wasn’t the plan, but I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t too touristic!

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