May 22, 2014 Ponte de Lima to Rubiaes

Over half the route (16.8 km; 10.5 mi) led me during intermittent rain through natural paths that kept me off main roads. This segment marked the steepest cumulative climb of the Portuguese Camino when I reached the high pass up the Labruja Valley at 405 m (1330 ft), this from nearly sea level at the beginning of the day. A few 30- to 40-meter segments brought me to all fours as I tried to keep my fragile balance over the slippery rocks. Two cyclists from South Africa REALLY struggled carrying their bikes!

Several hours earlier, I waded through mud and at least six inches of flowing streams that flooded the path–my inner sox never got wet. Still babying a bone bruise at the bottom of my left foot caused by the jagged rocks of the past two days, I’ll try to stay on asphalt roads to tomorrow’s goal of Tui (Spanish border).

After last night’s ascetic experience, I sprang for a Pensao with private room, shower, sheets, and pillows all for 20€. That includes breakfast and travel to a restaurant tonight–not much around here.

The few pictures can’t begin to capture the day’s beauty and beastly ruggedness.




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