Day 18, Ponte de Lima to Valenca, 37.2km

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  • June 28th, 2014
  • Valenca: Albergue de Sao Teotonio Municipal, €5
  • Weather: Downpour in the morning, then lovely and sunny in the afternoon, 21 degrees

Up at 5:30am for a long day ahead and whilst I was quietly packing my bag outside the dorm room I could hear rain pounding on the roof! I looked out the window and sure enough the rain was coming down hard and the ground was full of puddles. I opened my pack, pulled out my rain jacket, covered my bag with its rain cover and set off in the cool wet morning.

The path very quickly turned into a dirt trail which had practically become a river with the amount of rain running down it. After about 10 minutes the heavy rain got even heavier and this continued for at least half an hour with nowhere to take cover. My shoes were squelching and I was completely soaked and I had 8km before the first cafe… It seemed to take forever!

A very rainy and muddy morning

A very rainy and muddy morning

 

When I finally arrived at the cafe desperate for a coffee and somewhere to take shelter, the cafe wasn’t open but luckily they had seats outside under cover. It was hard not to laugh at how wet I was (it was either laugh or cry) and I decided I would try to wait and see if the rain would pass anytime soon. Whilst waiting I ate a couple of cheese rolls that I’d been carrying and after about 10 minutes 2 people arrived and opened the cafe… Happy days! I had a coffee and warmed up a little inside, conscious of the fact I was creating a giant puddle wherever I sat.

Gigi arrived soon after the cafe opened and we laughed about how wet we both were. When we left, the rain had calmed down to a light sprinkling but by that time I wasn’t so fussed as it wasn’t possible to get any more wet than I already was!

It was a stunning walk mostly along country trails, up a hill with a view back down over the Lima valley and I bumped into Joanna so we walked the rest of the day together. I had always planned to walk to Valenca, 37km away but Joanna had planned to walk the 20km stage… Except that when we passed her albergue it was only 10am so she decided to continue on with me.

We walked slow but steady and it was a terrific day topped off by arriving in the beautiful fort city of Valenca – separated from Spain by the river Minho. After arriving and washing etc we set off to explore the beautiful old town within the fortress. It really is stunning with beautiful views across to Spain and surrounded by hills on all sides. We had a delicious roast lamb dinner with our first taste of Portuguese Alvarinho white wine and then of course we had to have a glass of Beirao (Portuguese liquor) as it could possibly be the last one we have before walking across to Spain tomorrow.

I’m feeling hesitant about arriving in Spain tomorrow… No more Beirao, no more Portuguese custard tarts… And the end of the walk looming…

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