Day 20. Viana do Castelo

The hostel is asleep as are the streets of the town. Passing across the bridge…  there is an open fast-food ahead,  with a few customers … probably from their way back from a night out on the town.

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I follow the typical seaside riviera promenade all the way to the next town. In the small maze of streets in the next town I come across Joe and Ruth who took a wrong turn. We continue together through field tracks along the sea.  On the next beach we catch up with Amber and Stella …  continuing to follow a narrow path until it completely disappears. Just sand dunes ahead …  feels like walking in deep snow. Slowly and carefully is the key for not getting sand in the shoes.  Stella wisely walked barefoot.

There is the path again.  Along the way Ruth and Stella sing a pretty good karaoke duet …  the repertoire is the soundtrack from animated films. The path narrows again until it reaches an improvised stone bridge over the small brook. Nice place to take a break.

The large Camino sign points to the right,  to the forest.  I managed to persuade everyone to go left … following a shortcut through the next town.  Another maze of narrow streets. A side comment by Amber  makes me realise I’ve fallen victim to the Hollywood cultural imperialism …  she mentioned how my vocabulary is too American.  I may consider setting up a regular BBC fix to cure this condition.

Another beach and another disappearing path that leads to the pine forest. Another small bridge and I reached the camping area.  There is a newly marked path across the cuts across the forest to the huge  campsite. A passing gent asks if I’m going to Vienna... what,  Austria? … no. … aha he meant Viana..  ah yes that’s my destination for the day. I must be more tired than I thought.

Soon enough after a bit of road and a large bridge there is Viana de Castelo. The albergue is on the other side of the road so a small tunnel takes me across. It opens at 16 h but the doorman allowed me to leave my backpack in the courtyard…  oh boy…  taking a load off sure feels great.

At the nearby bar I am soon joined by the entire English continent, half of them are siblings,  Joe actually has nine sisters. …  boy oh boy,  and I thought that three of mine were a …  challenge enough to deal with. One of the sisters,  Claire is the first YouTube celebrity I’ve met in person. She has rather popular blog and YouTube channel specialising in special effects with makeup.

I met some new  pilgrims from Germany as well,  Julia and Christian.

The albergue has 20 beds and is soon full.  The hospitaleros are a Portuguese couple whose excellent English is explained by long stay in Canada until they decided to return to Portugal.

After a shower I felt reinvigorated enough for a stroll around the town.

Interesting shopping center located in the old railway station and designed accordingly, and impressive Renaissance cathedral.

That was day no.  20.