— VALENCA/ PORRINO
Distance: 7.5 miles
Time: 3.5 hours
Distance: 16.5 miles
Time: 7.5 hours
It turns out not even I can come up with something to say for every day of 3 weeks of walking. So here we have two days combined into one, and perhaps a brief one it will be. For I am still walking, it is still raining, and things are still largely built of stone. These are all fine things, even the rain, just not overly remarkable at this point in time. Still pretty though. I liked how these trees looked like hands reaching out of the ground. With the ominous black clouds (that are literally everywhere I go all the time) this 13th century fortress and its creepy hand-trees was a suitable backdrop to the fantasy-thriller novel I was listening to.
I also passed an important milestone, crossing over the Minho River and into Spain. Yes, I ordered coffee awkwardly in two languages today. But not a lot has changed, as cafe grande is applicable in both Portugal and Spain, and my basic vocabulary still consists largely of, "Yes, sorry, thank you," for any and all occasions.
My company has changed a bit, and it's surprising how in just 5 days of seeing the same people, and now not, I feel I've now split up from travel companions, rather than strangers. It came about because I cut my day short yesterday, after coming across a particularly nice albergue at a halfway point. Though intending to just stop for a lunch of squids and rice, I couldn't quite bring myself to leave and go back out in the rain. Every item in my backpack and on my body was wet, and though the bunk house was empty, the heat was cranked up to sauna status. It was a sign to stay. After several nights in albergues with no heat, I quickly exploded my backpack and set all my things out to dry.
It seems the only two people from my previous cohort that also diverged from the group pattern are the German boys, who I think are now my friends. I was walking down the street after dinner, only to see two people waving enthusiastically at me from inside a bar. You know...they're all right those guys.
Here they are, emerging from a tunnel outside Valenca.
Here is my experience in that same tunnel.
Tomorrow will be another short day. I've found that just as one part of your body gets comfortable in the walking routine, another parts decides to shut down, and today's 16.5 miles didn't do me any favors. My feet are feeling fantastic, finally. But I have a wicked shin splint in my right leg and a pinched nerve in my left hip. By the end of the day I was compensating for this with a right leg limp and a wide left step. The weeble-wobble walk this resulted in is not attractive. And my face now officially hurts from wincing. I'm hoping that a short day tomorrow will keep this new development from worsening. Regardless, I can walk still, and the completely indulgent reward of laying down at 4pm with no other responsibilities is well worth the leg pain and achy face.
Finally, for those of you that don't have a Moon app on your phone that alerts you to the orb's lunar phases, you should get one. Mine sends me weird text messages every time there is a new or full moon. For instance, here's what popped up while I was putting random filters on the last of today's pictures. BTW I'm starting to think I need a new job as an eccentric writer for apps. Between my Moon app and my Portuguese language app, I'm starting to see a pattern of snark in digital mediums that is deeply pleasing.