Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Camino 2017-09-30 Changing it up

I was planning to have two short days (to Rubiães then to Tui) followed by a long day. The two short days would be a nice rest break. Instead I'm facing a Monday that is projected to be 88F. Given my exhaustion during the high heat and rolling hills, I thought it wise to change it up a little and alter my plans.

And I've got a pulled something in my left lower abdomen when I go up hills. Doesn't hurt any other time than going up hill. It probably needs rest but I've just taken to slowing down even more on those stretches.

I didn't really want to leave Ponte de Lima. The town had a nice laid back vibe, save the endless campaign rally that went on overnight. I think I could enjoy political rallies if they had marching bands going through them like in this town.  I would be less likely to import the absurdly loud cars with giant speakers droning on every tiny street, with campaign speeches repeatedly blaring.

The hill on the way to Rubiães was a gut-kicker (literally as I just mentioned). It's not overly tall at 1400 feet but it's just rather steep and rocky. Thankfully the forest shaded you though it blocked the views promised in the Brierly guide book. Fortunately you eventually get past the forest and you enjoy the agricultural lands down to Valença.

When in the distance I could see Spain, I got a little excited. There's a language I can understand  and a sign that I'm that much closer to Santiago than before.

I decided to stay at an hostal because the day was longer than expected (no need to queue for a bed). The room was fine, but the oddly placed electrical outlets didn't reflect today's phone needs. Thankfully though they had a weird and wonderful shower contraption that felt like heaven to this tired pilgrim.

I explored the fort in Vanelça. I was wondering about its defenses so I asked one of the shopkeepers in the fort who they defended against. Though I don't know Portugués, I asked in Spanish in ways that got me an answer: it's "only" a 500 year old fort so it was defending against the Spanish across the river. (Ask short yes-no questions if you're weak with a language so that you can comprehend the answer more easily).

It still surprises me to see so many churches, bars, shops, and commerce in old castles and forts. I guess the utter lack of anything comparable in the US is bound to do that to you. Nevertheless, the weird entry points (all the customers to those businesses must enter via drawbridges) remind you that even castles need to change it up sometimes.

So hoping the changes work out. Change shouldn't be feared and we can't control the Camino. The Camino guides us and can change us up, if we let it.

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