Saturday, May 13, 2023

Day 6 - 12 May - Viana do Castelo to Vila Praia de Âncora

As The Beatles famously sang:

It’s been a hard day’s night….

As it turns out, we were the youth in the youth hostel last night, as confirmed by our fellow punters at a very poor effort breakfast buffet which started at eight o’clock. Personally I can’t abide queuing at buffets of any sort so I grabbed anything I could that didn’t involve the “q” word and sat down at the table to devour two bread rolls, smug in the knowledge that I’d just saved five minutes of my life.

Mrs C and I were taking a detour from the official Camino route this morning as we wanted to visit the Santuário de Santa Luzia, a mausoleum-esque church situated at the top of Monte de Santa Luzia which looks down on Viana and provides panoramic views up and down the coast.

The views were indeed spectacular, well worth the 622 steps and near-cardiac to get there. 

We had previously heard that you can have your photograph taken, at the church, by an old boy (probably one of the youth hostel regulars?) using an old box camera. Note use of the word “old” in that sentence. I’m not sure what was older, the chap himself or his camera. He was sat up, asleep, when we first got there so we waited for him to awake from his early morning slumbers before doing the deed. He could barely walk bless him, more of a shuffle than a walk, and he looked like he might be a bit blind but he got on with the business and charged us ten euros for two exquisite little images that look like they come from the year he was born.

I was left pondering how he gets to work every day. Hopefully not via the 622 steps.

From the church, we took a path down the hill/ mountain to join up, once again, with the official Camino route and we caught up with Mick and Andrea in the village of Carreço where we enjoyed coffee and a pastry. This was only around five miles in to today’s planned twelve miles and, once on the official route, it had been hard going underfoot. Cobbles. It’s true I tell you.

The route kept us off the main road and out of any towns or villages, instead taking us along country roads and paths, all of which laid in cobbles. It makes for an attractive visual effect but it is hard, so hard on the feet. No quaint little rundown villages in this attractive part of the world but rather lots of expensive second homes.

From Carreço, nothing in the way of facilities until we were almost at our destination. Unless you like cobbles of course. Great views. Great weather. And cobbles.

As we entered Vila Praia de Âncora, a small grubby bar came into sight and we sat in the sunshine with a beer before heading to our hotel, around one further mile away. Hotel room - lovely. Bath - potential life saver.

We were at least partly recovered by the time we set out looking for a beer in the sunshine some ninety minutes later. That quest was successfully accomplished, albeit bottles of Super Bock was all that the town appeared to offer. Thereafter, it was off to find somewhere to eat and then back to the hotel to follow Sheffield Wednesday’s progress, via Twitter, in the League 1 play-off semi-final first leg away at Peterborough. As it transpires, “progress” is the opposite of what happened as a four-nil defeat leaves us buggered. Cobbles. It’s been a hard day’s night.

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