The weather cleared from pouring rain to beautiful sunny skies the next morning. We were very glad of it! The hotel we stayed at was along the river and they had a delicious buffet on offer. So we made sure we filled right up, while also taking a few bits to go (for those hunger pains that were bound to come.) We ran into some women we had seen previously along our journey and spoke to them for a bit before we headed off to our next stop. It was going to be a long day, over 24km, so we didn't want to leave too late.
Since we weren't able to see much of the town the day before because of the rain we were glad to see it before we left. It was a beautiful town, the oldest in Portugal they say. We had a good start to the day, we walked for about 8-9kms before we made our first stop. We stopped at a cafe to refill on water and eat some snacks before the uphill battle began. This part of our journey was the steepest with an uphill climb of 405 meters. The climb was through some beautiful forested areas, however, it was a grueling climb. We did our best and stopped as often as we needed to. Finally when we made it to the top there was a sort of rest area where we saw lots of fellow pilgrims taking a break before starting again. The sun really began to beat down on us and we didn't want to risk getting a sunburn or worse sunstroke (again for my mum,) so we quickly moved on.
We stopped for a quick lunch before we kept going. Most people stopped in the town Rubiaes today, however, we kept going a bit further to a very small town outside of Rubiaes. We weren't exactly sure where our hotel we were staying at was. The afternoon became very hot and we actually ran out of water. Luckily as we just began panicking the villa was right around the corner and we were so glad to see it. There was nothing around, other than country, farms, and some homes and churches. When we arrived we were greeted by one of the owners, a lovely woman. She told us that we could have dinner at the villa and we decided very quickly that we would be happy to have our food made for us that evening. After relaxing in our beautiful room, we headed to dinner where we saw one of our fellow pilgrims that we kept running into. She was a really nice woman from South Africa and we talked all through our meal into the evening before we turned in from being exhausted from our long day of walking.
It was wonderful talking to our new friend and hearing her story as to why she was doing the Camino. One of the most amazing parts of our trip was getting to know people from all over the world and finding out what brought them to Portugal to embark on this journey. Some reasons were personal, some were spiritual and some were religious. Everyone had a different reason for doing it, including my mum and I. After a wonderfully long sleep we woke up early to have a delicious breakfast at the hotel. It was our last day in Portugal and I am so glad we got to spend it at Casa da Capela. It was my favourite place we stayed and the food was the best too!
Portugal was a completely different experience than Spain. I loved both countries for different reasons but Portugal was definitely my favourite of the two. The people were so accommodating and nice to us everywhere we went, whether it was at a hostel, hotel or villa, or a cafe or restaurant, they welcomed us in as if we were family. Whenever we got lost or looked lost, which did happen a couple times along the way, the Portuguese people would point us in the right direction, even walking us to the right road at one point. People would cheer us on or honk at us to exclaim their excitement for us, which made us feel so happy and welcome in their country. I would highly recommend anyone who wanted to do the Camino and wanted to start small by starting with the Portuguese Camino. It was extraordinarily beautiful and I will never forget how wonderful Portugal was.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of our trip, when we cross into Spain from Portugal and arrive in a picturesque town called Tui.