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Where Have All The Hours Gone*

* with apologies to Peter, Paul & Mary


[Wednesday 12th September; Spain Day 1, Camino Day 5. Today’s walking distance 27.1 klms; total 150.3 to date]


The astute reader will note that Days 3 and 4 are missing. I have been falling way behind in my writing as the walking days have been quite long, and by the time we get into our lodgings, get organised (read showered and wash my shirt and socks) and relax a little, there just hasn’t been enough time to catch up with my writings. And I’ve noticed I've been starting to get quite self-critical about falling behind, so this morning I decided to jettison Days 3 and 4, or at the very least postpone them. Good decision. So, there's a temporal disturbance.


Today was a wonderful walking day … probably the best. “Best” is a difficult concept, as there is no way one can meaningfully compare one day with another as each is so unique. All the same today was just a wonderful day. At 27 klms it was again a fairly big day; and thankfully our very big days are now mostly behind us. But that didn’t detract from the sheer beauty of today’s stroll. (And as an aside, we've been averaging about 30klms/day, so there's been some physical and therefore mental challenges, especially since the top temperature each day has been in the high 20s. A couple of the team have blister/ankle issues, but mostly we're all in pretty good shape given the effort and conditions.)


We actually started the day later than expected. Spain’s time is one hour ahead of Portugal, and I’d changed my watch and just assumed (silly me) that my phone would autocorrect. Wrong! The alarm was set for 6:30, which gave heaps of time for the agreed 8am start, and after a couple of “snoozes” on the alarm all of a sudden it was actually 8am, and not 7am as expected, and so we were running an hour late. Anyway, panic panic and we ended up only 25 minutes behind schedule (the only reason that time was important is because we are having our big suitcases transported daily on this trip, and the pick-up time is 8am).


Anyway, we hit the road - leaving the Hotel Convento de San Benito in A Guarda ...


For me, and I think the others too, the Camino in Spain feels very different -- in a positive way -- to the Camino in Portugal. As just one indicator, by the time we had walked a mere 5 minutes we had had more ¡Buen Caminos! directed at us than we did in the previous 4 days combined. It just feels different here. Friendlier. More attuned to the pilgrim. We’ve all noticed it. I’m liking being back in Spain. Not that I didn’t enjoy Portugal; just that I’m liking being here more. Funny that.


Nat and I got a little lost leaving A Guarda ... I was taking a photo of this church, and lost track of the path out of town. I was looking around trying to find my bearings, and a very helpful señora leaned out of a second floor window and gave us rapid fire directions as to the direction to take.


The weather was beautiful. The sea a lovely blue. Some of the houses overlooking the ocean were very very flash. In many ways the walk has a Yallingup/Cape-to-Cape feel about, with a Spanish overlay.


Here's a few shots from along the way ...




We found a scientific/research place of sorts. We don't know what it was, nor how old. Maybe an old fort? Something to do with crustaceans research I think. Whatever it was, it was quite spectacular. The second shot is taken from the path above the research station, with its adjacent abandoned house. Who knows?



Second breakfast was at a delightful little town called Oia. Food at Cafe Henriquetu. A lovely view of the Oia Cathedral and Monastery.


We were generally walking about 3/400 metres from the coast, and generally up a little on the side of the hills, so the view down from the path was not only beautiful but we got to see some of the houses. Some were for sale. I wonder how much???




At the 145klm mark. Approximately half-way of our overall walk ...


More by accident than design we ended up in a very flash hotel/resort for the night. the team is happy.


Our destination tonight was actually about 7 klms further than we intended. Good call. Because that means that our walk into Baiona is 7klms shorter than previously planned. Would you believe, tomorrow is now only a 6 klm stroll. So, late breakfast, late checkout, easy walk ...

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Peter Campbell is a traveller, photographer, author.  He lives in the south-west corner of Western Australia with his wife Janet and golden retriever Peggy alongside the Indian and Great Southern oceans, in a peaceful rural setting surrounded by tall trees and in the company of kangaroos and kookaburras.  He can be contacted at this email address.

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