I’m drunk. Since arrived at our hotel, I’ve had about a bottle and a half of vinho verde. Yes, I’m a lightweight. I’m old. -ish. Get lost.

Today was a hard day. The guide book said it would be, although it softened it by saying this would be “the most challenging day” of the Caminho. Christ, I hope so!

If you’re at all familiar with Vancouver, you’ll understand when I say it was like plunking half the Grouse Grind into a half marathon route. We gained 405 m – 1330 feet, for those of you who still think in such terms – during our ‘walk’ today. Most of it concentrated in a relatively short distance.

But we made it, somehow, and were even the first to arrive at our hotel. More drinking time for us! Winning!

For quite a while this morning, I wondered if they’d oversold the ‘challenging’ aspect of this stage. The we reached the grind – or what I’m now referring to as the ‘Portuguese Pummel’.

Thankfully we had purchased (and remembered to pack) trekking poles – although one of Adele’s crapped out, so we each used one. (Fair’s fair, right?) These proved invaluable in getting us up the rock-strewn gullies that appeared about 12 km into our 22 km hike.

It wouldn’t have been nearly so bad, though, if not for how hot it was. The temperatures reached the upper 20s C by 11 a.m., and by the time we reached the peak of our climb we’d hit 30 C, maybe more. The view, though, was spectacular.

Even after that zenith, though, today’s walk was a slog. The last time I drank this much water in a day (not counting the wine) was when I quit smoking, a little over 20 years ago.

We eventually arrived at our hotel, the exquisite Casa da Capela, at around 4 p.m., having left Ponte de Lima around 8:15 a.m.

It was a gruelling day, but I feel amply rewarded by the hotel, the food they served us for dinner, and – of course – the wine. (Oh, they also have a pool, not heated, which was great for soaking our feet in.)

Tomorrow, thankfully, will be a shorter walk, and mostly downhill.

2 thoughts on “The Way – part 7: grinding in northern Portugal – Ponte de Lima to Cossourado

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