Day 20, Vilarinho to Pedra Furada, 23.5 km

21 May 2014

This morning I resisted the urge to get up on waking – not too hard as I could hear the rain belting down outside. The Australians James and Fitz, were up first and left about 6 am.

I was next up and just as I was ready to leave, Claus the Dane was rising. The others seemed still to be in the land of Nod. There had been a gentle symphony of snoring during the night, but nothing too hard to cope with. For all I know I could have been part of the chorus!

I come across the Aussies along the way, and ask James to take a photo of my rain cover in use. Last year on the camino Frances I found that a considerable amount of rain leaked through my quality rain jacket. My theory is that the rain gets in where the straps of the backpack are tight against the fabric of the raincoat. The solution is to wear a poncho which covers the hiker and the backpack in one go. Although I think they look ridiculous, I had decided to buy a poncho for this camino, after being soaked through for several days on the Frances. But I had also thought about making a cover for my shoulders that would attach to a pack raincover and somehow tuck in around the sternum strap.

Meanwhile I purchased a pack cover (I had borrowed one from Ella last year) but when I got it home I realised that it was intended for an 80 litre pack whereas my pack is 35 litres. And then my brain started ticking over. Luckily Ella was visiting me in Spain at this time, so I had someone practical-minded to help me make the ‘Magnificent Maggie Shoulder Cape’. In reality I cut through the excess fabric of the cover and sewed some Velcro to the edges that fasten under my chin, and some anchor points to my pack. Here is the result, which I think works very well. I have walked through some pretty heavy rain and have not suffered any leakage. Perhaps I should apply for a patent!

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I made another adjustment to my rainwear today and cut a small hole in my rain jacket pockets so that I can thread through the waist straps of my pack to fasten inside the jacket. This causes still less friction between straps and waterproof fabric.

By the time I stop for a break after 9 km I have been walking in gentle rain on a mixture of surfaces, very little so far on fast roads, mostly through very pretty villages and farmland with some tracks.

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As I walk into the cafe it is very dull but the rain has stopped for the time being. I order a savoury pastry and hot water and as I am writing this the rain has started to come down again quite hard. I’m in no rush so will sit it out in the cafe for a while. I am only travelling about 20 km today. This is purely so that I can stay at Casa Fernanda in Lugar do Corgo tomorrow night. This place is reported to be one of the highlights of the camino Portuguese. And in order to make the km’s work out right, today will be a short stage with a stop at the albergue of Antonio in Pedra Furada, another place recommended for its hospitality and the excellent restaurant that he also runs.

How about this for good timing? As I am sitting in the cafe the heavens open up, first firing a barrage of hailstones, and following through with a torrential downpour – lucky I’m not in a rush!

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Once the rain lightens up I set off again, and am soon walking on tracks through farmland and then through woodland, when briefly the rain stops and the sun breaks through for long enough for me to get busy with my macro lens.

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It seems that every Portuguese home has a dog, which are almost without exception chained up and like to give the impression that they would rather like to take a chunk out of the backside of every passing pilgrim. Today I came across the exception and I could tell from a distance that he just wanted to be friends and receive some fuss. I duly obliged and was rewarded for my efforts with much wagging of tail and appreciative nudges.

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I am loving the way they grow grape vines in this area. They are grown around the perimeter of a crop field, on long trunks of two meters or more, trained onto frames projecting towards the centre of the field. Often the ground below the vines is used to grow vegetables whilst a grain crop is grown in the field. Excellent use of space!

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When passing through the town of São Pedro de Rates I came across this sign indicating the remaining distance to Santiago as 200 km, so another eight days to go.

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I have met my first English pilgrim today, although one that lives in the US. I also spent half an hour walking with another Australian, until I reached my destination at Antonio’s bar in Pedra Furada. I have to say that the excellent reputation of this small albergue is well deserved. There is one room with two bunks and another under-bed mattress for emergency use. This room has an amazing bathroom, that anyone would be proud to have in their home. There is also a twin room with ensuite next door. All for 10 euros per bed, and including fresh linen and towels. I have hardly had to use my sleeping bag on this journey. There is loads of info and reviews on the web if you search ‘restaurant Pedra Furada’, tel 00351 252 951 144

I am made very welcome and after a wonderful shower I wander into the cafe and sample the pilgrim’s menu, soup followed by pork with potatoes and salad. Excellent!

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Oh, I forgot to mention my disaster yesterday. I was looking for a dry place to put my iPhone when I dropped it screen-side down on the granite cobbles. The screen is smashed to smithereens. Luckily James the Aussie kindly donated his screen protector to help hold it together for the rest of the journey. Thanks James – I really appreciated this act of kindness.

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I really enjoyed the walking today, even when the rain was pouring. So far I am on my own at Antonio’s – hopefully others will arrive – he says he has been full for the last few days.

Well, the place is now full. The twin room has three people (not sure how that works) of unknown nationality, European it think. I have been joined in my room by a Canadian couple who are just walking a few days of the camino, and a young German woman who has been walking the coastal route from Porto. Not the party atmosphere of last night, but I can’t expect such a great crowd of people every night.

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Camino Portuguese and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Day 20, Vilarinho to Pedra Furada, 23.5 km

  1. Janice Tyler says:

    Lovely bathroom but who left the loo seat up??? I think the geek squad in the back of the phone shop in El Ingenio can repair your phone when you get home. How kind of James the Aussie to help you out x

    Like

  2. Heather says:

    HI Maggie, following your blog and enjoying it immensely. Great respect for your tenacity and perseverance. What next I wonder. Lots of love, Heather xxx

    Like

  3. Gerry Smith says:

    Magwood.. I know you will LOVE Casa Fernader..please give my best wishes to Jacinta and Fernander. I was there early June 2013 and it was a highlight of my Caminho Portugese.. Bom Caminho!

    Gerry

    Like

  4. Jo Bryant says:

    Sorry to hear about your phone but how kind that James helped you out.

    Like

  5. Rotten luck about the phone. Awesome people can still be found in this world (the Aussie gent).
    You have guts, lady, I had being out in the rain and get miserable and moody. Good for you. I am in awe of your tenacity. *\o/*

    Like

  6. David Wolfe says:

    OK so it rained for part of the day but from reading today’s post it didn’t dampen your spirit.
    Some good pictures today and a great alberge to spend the night in. Sleep well, I hope the sun shines for you tomorrow David xx

    Like

    • Sue says:

      Hi David,
      Oscars friend Sue here from Sunny Ireland. I fly back over to Spain next Tues for 3 weeks. I think Maggie the wanderer gets back soon after that? But I would love to see you guys for a celebration glass of vino at some stage in June. I’ll be staying with Oscar. I hope all is well with you. I read Maggie’s blog every morning – I think she is amazing!
      Best wishes,
      Sue

      Like

  7. Lyn says:

    Magwood I know you haven’t walked the coastal route, but what is the opinion of those who have gone this way?? Glad you are enjoying being solo it’s a great time for personal reflection

    Like

  8. Leona says:

    Love your adaptation for a rain cover. Does your bottom stay dry? Yummy pictures of food, beautiful ‘drippy’ flowers, excellent observation and comments of space saving use of land, and the road. Still wish I were with you, but don’t know if I could cover 20+km/day yet. Is this the norm even on the Camino Frances?

    Like

    • magwood says:

      As it happens my bottom did stay dry (a bit of a personal question!!!). My speck cape is working very well.

      There are much more options to walk whatever distance you choose on the Frances. That are so many more albergues

      Like

      • Leona says:

        So sorry if I came across as personal, not my intention at all! I still like your rain cover adaptation, very inventive and smart. My day isn’t complete any more without checking for your blog posts. Portugal is looming in my travel dreams. Leona

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      • magwood says:

        Sorry Leona, that was my poor attempt at humour. Portugal is certainly worth a visit.

        Like

  9. Ann Derrick (OzAnnie ) says:

    Hi Maggie
    Bad news about the phone screen but at least your iPad and phone is unbroken ! Love the plant and puppy

    Did you have to book the Alburgue for day 19. Antonia -Pedra Furada and
    Day 20. Casa Fernand in Lugat do Corgo?

    Annie

    Like

    • magwood says:

      I did book them both, and they were both full by the end of the day. I would always book if I had the option. I like to know where I will be staying. I am not that much of an adventurer!

      Like

  10. I am intrigued by the rain cover. I have also thought about putting the backpack hip straps inside my jacket. Let us know how that works. My big quandary is how to divert runoff from my rain pants from soaking my boots. I notice you are not wearing rain pants but I will be walking in November when it is colder so I’ll be using them. How is that touch screen working?
    – Clare

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    • magwood says:

      Rain cover is working great. I thought if there was a chance of my boots getting soaked I would unzip the bottoms of my trousers and use carrier bags as gaiters. The handles as stirrups under the boot and the other end slit open and attached around my legs with elastic bands. I haven’t had to try it yet. When the rain comes down really hard there isn’t the time to stop and sort it out. I just walked through it and my boots didn’t get wet inside. It would be a different matter if it rained hard all day for a few days.

      Like

  11. Kristina Wilkening says:

    Even when you have rain…you still sound sunny! Love the easy reading of your blog. Keep walking and keep blogging! We will all miss you when you finish the walk!

    Like

  12. Moira O'Malley says:

    An absolute world of wonder in the rain Maggie, and your exceptional photos to show it. Are you booking your accommodation ahead of time?
    Thanks, Moira

    Like

  13. Keith says:

    Another great days walking. Lovely photos. Yes you should patent your pack cover. Shame about your phone, ouch

    Like

  14. Wendy says:

    Hi Maggie
    Thank you for your colourful commentary and beautiful photographs. You have been walking with one of my best friends, Eli, and I have appreciated following your shared journey and observations. Eli is my adventure friend and I have journeyed the various caminos with her vicariously. I wish I had responded to your stories two days ago before you parted ways. I feel confident that your paths will cross again along the way and if you do please give her a big hug from me. I will continue to follow your journey and read back over past adventures.
    regards and best wishes
    Wendy

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Hi wendy. How nice to hear from you. I can imagine why you like to share your adventures with Elly – she is great company and very confidence inspiring. I have tried to phone her to tell her about your message but haven’t managed to get through yet. I shall persevere!

      Like

  15. Jim Reed says:

    When I walked the CN last Fall a man from Germany had a backpack and head and shoulder cover, presumably from Germany. The only similar one I can find is from Outdoor Research but it is out of stock. If available I would definitely be interested. In the meantime, I like your idea. Here is the OR link …
    http://military.outdoorresearch.com/gov/pack-hoody-old-2178.html

    Like

    • magwood says:

      I can see that lots of followers have looked at your link Jim. I am very pleased with my invention, although it could do with a bit of refinement.

      Like

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