Portuguese Coastal Route.

Day 5 of our Portuguese Coastal Route took us from Carreço to Caminha, the final town in Portugal before crossing into Spain.

A Rainy Day of Walking

It had rained throughout the night. The day’s forecast called for still more rain throughout the early afternoon. After triple-verifying that our valuables were safely protected, we set off for what we expected would be a 14 mile walk to Spain.

We haven’t been using a Camino de Santiago App to navigate the Portuguese Coastal Route. In talking with other pilgrims, we haven’t found the Apps to be that useful. Instead, we’ve been doing a hybrid version of following the yellow arrows (for culture) and using Google Maps (for expediency).

Since visibility was so poor, when the painted yellow arrows tried to direct us up the hills, we ignored them. Instead, we got on a main road near the coast, hopeful that the low elevation – combined with the fact that I was wearing a neon green poncho – would give us the best results.

Goats by the Sea

Whenever possible, to give our legs a break, we tried to parallel the main road. One such deviation took us through farmland and to a pristine, utterly deserted beach.

Passing near a quiet coastal town, we got a delightful surprise in the form of about 20 goats, casually munching on vegetation near the ocean. The goat herder greeted us as we walked past and wished us a Buen Camino.

In addition to goats, it was a treat to see so many fine-looking horses, each grazing in areas separated by ancient stone fences.

Stopping Just Short of the Spanish Border

In truth, my aunt and I had hoped to finish the day in A Guarda, Spain. It was not to be. The Minho River provides a natural geographic border between the two countries. If we wished to cross into Spain, we had two practical options after arriving in Caminha: pay for a water taxi to cover the roughly half-mile distance to A Pasaxe, or walk 29 kilometers (close to 19 miles) to Valença…the first available bridge.

We discovered later that afternoon that in the winter months, the water taxis operate ONE crossing per day, with reservations made online. We booked our passage for the following morning at 8:00 a.m., and located an albergue less than 200 yards from the pier. To our surprise and delight, we had the dorm-styled space to ourselves.

That night, we feasted at a fabulous restaurant that offered regional-style food. In a span of 90 minutes, we were *the only ones there*.

Part of me wonders if the once-a-day crossing is a clever ploy from the Caminha tourism office to generate support for local businesses. If so, I tip my hat.

In retrospect, my aunt and I made the right choice to hug the coastline instead of take the hills. A lovely pilgrim who had followed the hill route confided it had been so rigorous and taxing that she needed a rest day to recover.

Tomorrow, Spain!

Wherever your journey takes you, Buen Camino!

By Katie Cerezo

Thank you so much for visiting. 😊 I have always loved traveling, and my legs are my primary means of transportation. It's a beautiful world, and I'm eager to explore it…one step at a time.

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