Today’s distance 30.5 km
Elevation gain 696 m
Elevation loss 855 m
Total distance from Almería 1,153.5 km
I was glad not to have a hangover when I woke this morning. And we had a rather late start after partaking of the included breakfast at 07:30.
There are many cobbles to be trod leaving Lamego, and already we are climbing on a day that promises to be full of climbs.
There is a short distance on fast busy road but we are soon directed onto lanes between small neighbourhoods. We set all the dogs barking as we walk through, they take it in turns to try to intimidate us with their snarling and barking but we just whistle at them and say hello nicely. It doesn’t stop them barking though.
We are soon walking next to vineyards again. Today there are only vineyards, no other fruit. Aurelio points out that the soil has changed – from granite based to slate based. Granite soil is where grapes for the espumante are grown, whereas slate soil is where grapes for port wine are grown. We are now in slate country, the stone walls are now made of slate and even the posts supporting the vine wires are pieces of slate.
We are walking on a variety of tracks including the narrowest path between stone walls – barely wide enough to pass through. There are a series huge climbs and descents throughout the day.
In Lamego the Camino Torres meets with the Camino Portuguese Interior route (which starts in Viseu), but not for long. At the first village we reach the route splits – to the left for the CPI, and to the right for the Camino Torres.
We cross a deep and dramatic gorge via an ancient bridge, descending steeply down one side and climbing steeply back up the other.
As we walk back up the gorge there are some eucalyptus trees and although I hate what they do to the landscape they smell so fresh and delicious after the rain
The tracks runs between terraces of vines falling steeply to the left and rising steeply to the right.
At 12 km we reach the city of Regua. We cross the Rio Douro via a wide metal footbridge and look across to the pretty arched road bridge, and beyond to the high rise motorway bridge. Aurelio and I stop at a cafe at the end of the metal bridge and wait for Eli to catch up. The waitress tells us that the building opposite is to be renovated and used as albergue. It won’t be anytime soon – but watch that space!
We leave the city via a riverside path and eventually move away from the river and start to climb. Aurelio points out flood markers from 1962. Even though we are a considerable height above the river these markers are at head height or more. Incredible to think what damage must have been done.
Then comes the most serious climb of the day. Ridiculously steep and ridiculously long. I was puffing and panting from the very beginning, but our bodies are amazing machines and I made it to the top, took a deep breath and was fit and ready to carry on. But after a short while we were at it again, up and up we went on a very rough narrow track. Once again I made it to the top, took a breath and carried on.
We walk a sort of horseshoe route today – around a gorge above a steep and deep valley. Towards the end of the stage we are walking towards very dark skies but the sun is still shining above us and it is very warm. We come to a country twin and I take the opportunity to wet my scarf and lay it across my neck. But the next minute a very cold and gusty wind has picked up and it becomes really quite cold as we walk through low cloud, so I stop to remove the scarf and put on my jumper.
We finally reach our destination and are staying in the house of a very old lady. I haven’t learned her name but she lives in a large house opposite the Restaurant Convivio. Ask in the restaurant or ring 254 892 481. Aurelio has a room to himself for 25€ and Eli and I are sharing a twin room for 35€. The house is full of all the things you would expect a very elderly lady to have, personal photos everywhere, bits and bobs, dried flowers in every corner, paintings of sad looking children. But the beds are comfortable and we share a bathroom.
We pop across the road to the restaurant for supper. I eat rice and cabbage, which isn’t nearly as bad as it sounds, and finish up with a bowl of freshly picked cherries, all washed down with sparkling wine and a glass of port.
Today was Aurelio’s birthday – feliz aniversário amigo!