Today’s distance 23 km
Elevation gain 426 m
Elevation loss 440 m
Total distance from Almería 1,250 km
Grey and drizzly was how our day started. It remained grey but the drizzle didn’t amount to much and for the most part it was dry. We were on hard surfaces for a long while, but on quiet back streets through communities. Asphalt and cobbles was all we had for 5.5 km and then we reached our first track. Oh great, I thought. But the excitement was short-lived as the track only lasted for 100 m or so before it reverted to the hard stuff.
At 6.7 km we hit a gravel road through a eucalyptus plantation, but after a short while the very frequent arrows completely disappeared at a fork in the track and we had to make a best guess as to which route to take. We opt for the right, but in reality we don’t think it would have made any difference because the tracks join back up a few hundred metres further on, and we see arrows once again. There has been a fire and perhaps arrows painted on trees have been burned off.
We are now walking alongside a fast flowing river – we can hear rushing water although can’t see it through the hedges to the side of the path. Not long after we emerge into a lovely park where there is a weir – to one side the water is as clear as glass and to the other, it is a gushing torrent.
We walk through the park on a comfortable sand track and pass Sunday morning exercisers walking, running, cycling and leaping over stepping stone. I accost one guy to take our pilgrim family morning shot before we cross the river via a granite walkway.
We are back on the road at 8 km through a small town. We have been receiving many more greetings of ‘bom caminho’ today. We stop for a hot drink at 10 km and are treated very kindly by the bar lady – free hot water for me again – although I try to pay, but my attempts are brushed aside.
Our next track is at around 13 km and soon we are climbing a steep hill on surface very like a Roman road – uncomfortable stones and boulders. It’s a relief when we reach a nice level sand track through the eucalyptus forest. Unfortunately the flat track didn’t last for long – we took a switch back and were faced with an even longer, even steeper, and even rougher climb through the woods. We finally reached the summit at 15.5 km – that was some climb!
Just a few more metres uphill to a church and then we are walking in a zig-zag fashion above the busy road into Braga. By 18 km we had reached the outskirts of the city and we were lead through winding back streets – to keep us away from busy roads. Finally we arrived in the city centre, passed by the cathedral and found our accommodation at ‘inBraga’ hostel. We three gals have a room in the eaves with three single beds, whilst Paul and Aurelio have a separate room. We have use of the kitchen, there are good bathroom facilities, a small garden and friendly helpful staff. 13€ plus 2€ if you want breakfast.
I have eaten in on rice and veg. A Portuguese plus point is that supermarkets are open on Sundays. I have discovered the store Pico Doce where I shopped yesterday and today – nice produce.
After supper Nina, Paul and I took a stroll around town – we found puppies! And posed on the BRAGA sign. And drank port wine.
Only one more day on the Torres – it finishes in Ponte da Lima where it meets with the Camino Portuguese central route, which I have already walked. So we have alternative plans for the remaining days. Watch this space!