Saturday, 18 July 2009

Tracy Saunders, Matamoscas...

Monday 6th July: Unfortunately, none of my new friends were walking the Camino but were staying in Porto for courses, etc. Marie Eve had to wait for her luggage (I left her a muestra of perfume to cheer her up). Montserrat from Tarragona had gone on ahead. She walks far and fast and is an early riser. Me, I prefer to take my time.

I have read several times on the Pilgrimage-to-Santiago Forum that it is advisable to take the Metro from Porto out to Viklar do Pineires. I was determined not to do that, but once I had walked the three kilometres from the Pousada to the Cathedral and then another two or so finding out that any transactions from a bank machine was "no authorised" I was beginning to despair. So in the end I did take the Metro and I was glad that I did.

Walking through the outskirts of any city is depressing to say the least, but from what I have since learned about the Camino Portuguese, getting out of Porto is potentially life-threatening. Even as it was, the first few kms were on asphalt with nothing between you and the trucks but God.

I learned after a while to hold my bordo out at arm’s length and it was either move out or risk a broken windshield. Not a very Pilgrim-like thought, but having begun, I hoped to finish! And by the way, they may swerve to miss you, but don't expect them to slow down! The sooner the Portuguese get their Grand Prix back the better. They need a Portuguese driver to divert their driving urges into a solely vicarious thrill, for the sake of pilgrims if not European statistics (the most accidents in Europe).

Nobody told me that Abrigo Peregrino meant "Pilgrim Shelter" (abrigo is an overcoat - um....?) so I walked right past it. Four kms right past it! The road home is the longest. Montserrat was looking out for me and introduced me to the little pilgrim refuge in Vilarinho: only 4 beds, but clean. The people of the little village had obviously decided that something should be done to help pilgrims and it was clearly appreciated.

The only problem was the flies. I spent all of the evening and most of the night swatting the "maldito" things. Where was Barrack Obama when I needed him?

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