Dan 21. Caminha

Although yesterday the hospitalero said the gate won’t be open before 6:00,  half and hour earlier I found it unlocked. Leaving the pilgrims who are still packing I head out to a sleeping town…  as if there is any other kind this early.

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On my way out of the town I spot a faded billboard for the communist party of Portugal.  Let’s see…  7 hour workday,  25 days of annual vacation.  There just might be a tiny teny question of credibility… considering the track record of communist parties.  But telling people what they want to hear has always been a winning political strategy,  and the less said on “how exactly”  the  better.  Oh and making sure to let  people know that the main obstacles for the return to glorious past/future  are …  the Others.

Now there was that fellow who gave a speech on the Mount, more than two thousand years ago …  true instructions for the right way in life. Sadly lies, hate and scapegoating has historically proven to be far easier,  as a political message, to sell to the general public.  In 21st century it looks to be even easier. Guess we learned very little from few thousand years of experience with results such messages leave in their wake.

The Way continues along the sea with waves crashing the shore. A lot of small round buildings..  every few hundred meters.  I later discovered these were old windmills.

Every now and then there is a small fortress mostly dated from the time the Portuguese shared a king with the Spanish and warred with the English. In those days English buccaneers used to drop by for…  coffee and cakes,  and some pirate-style shopping in coastal towns. The fortresses provided…  a welcome of sorts.

The rains starts, so I unpacked my raincoat…  great…  that’s 350 g I haven’t carried unnecessarily.

Somebody drew a smiley face on a rock near the shore…  making it look like a beached whale. A bit further ahead I come across some salt-works from the Iron Age…  impressive.  The info board mentions some pictographs on nearby rocks …  but I couldn’t spot them..  guess they faded a bit after all that time.

The path disappears a bit  in the sand and rocks until it turns up again. Nice coastal scenery…   purple and yellow abound. A lone jogger is practically the first person I saw this morning. Small wooden stakes marking the path are decorated with small towers of stones.

The path ends for real.  In order to avoid a lengthy detour I need to cut across the sandy beach. Supposedly at the end of beach there is a small pedestrian bridge leading to town.  If the bridge isn’t there I’ll have to circle way back.  Fortunately Google Satellite map view confirms that the bridge is indeed there so I continue onward.

Somebody passed over the sands recently so I follow in their footsteps across the beach and up the sand dune …  to the path…  and the bridge. I stopped for a break at the first bar.

There is still quite a bit of walking left until today’s destination. The rain has picked up the tempo so I  continue on .. .doing a Gene Kelly impersonation … singing in the rain. After another 5-6 km I reach the town called Caminha.  A multitude of yellow arrows leads to the main square. All the bars are full…  and it doesn’t look like a fiesta.  Christian was the first to arrive at the albergue. Today’s section was difficult for him so he took the train. We sat for a beer at the nearby bar since the albergue opens at 14 h. We are soon joined by the first Scot I’ve met on this Camino,  Chris from Aberdeen. He started at Leon, reached Santiago and is continuing to Porto.

The albergue quickly fills up.  After a standard reinvigorating routine I went outside in search of lunch. At the main square I encounter Claire and Annie who is quite relieved to learn that they are indeed close to the albergue. My search for lunch ended at the supermarket.  This part of Portugal also enjoys that charming custom of unavailability for any restaurant meal between 14:00 to 19:00.

That was day no.  21.