Sounds of The Camino
Camino Portuguese Day 2
Dogs bark and growl behind locked gates as you pass ; distant church bells ring through the trees; cockerels crow all day long; and miniature tractor and grass-cutter engines toil in fields.
Then there’s the endless grind and crunch of boots on stone and gravel.
The sounds of the Camino.
Too much of this Portuguese route has been on the edge of roads, requiring every sense to be alert to the dangers of fast traffic, but today’s path to Barcelos meandered through the copper and bronze of autumnal farmland and woods. The scents were of animals tied up indoors for the season; of mushrooms in damp forests; and of corn and wood gathered in for winter.
After 20 long kilometres I stopped, sat down and undid hot boots to savour my first Pasteis de Nata, Portugal’s famous rich custard pastry. If it means walking for a day to justify eating one of these heavenly delicacies, it’s worth every footstep.
The blue sky and warm sunshine encouraged me to walk on to reach the famous town of Barcelos. It’s home to the legend of the cockerel which apparently crowed to save a pilgrim’s life (even though it had already been cooked!) No matter, the cervesa was delicious after the long walk and (after taking a peek at the folk-dancers accommodation down near the river) I stayed in the great modern albergue run by the Amigos de Montanha, a friendly mountaineering association. We sat round the kitchen table, drank wine and ate pasta cooked by Lucie, Sonya and Jennifer then shared fruit and stories till bedtime. I slept soundly in a top bunk beside an open window.
It was everything I wanted and needed. What could possibly go wrong?