We’re Saved! Maybe? 

Via a do Costello to Ancora- 14 miles

I’m definitely not a fan of top bunks, but that was all that was left when we rolled into the albergue last night.

Czary’s maiden voyage in a top bunk

My left forefoot is permanently tender and putting all my weight on one of those skinny metal cross members is not anything I practice.  And then there is that getting up in the night to pee habit that I have been engaging in on a more frequent basis.

Auntie Mame had her own take.  “I had to use the end rails.  It was precarious at best. I was taking my life into my own hands.”

We were off by 7:30 am where I was successful in navigating west through town in order to reach to new boardwalks that bordered the crashing Atlantic.

It rained on us.  I am a big fan of carrying a backpacking umbrella, a CDT -inscribed Montbell model.  If it isn’t doing duty shielding me from the sun’s rays, it can be deployed to keep me dry, which it did today.  The rain here is gentler that I am used to, and was not persistent. Mame had my old Golite model.

Everything was motoring along fine all the way up to our first coffee/ snack spot. We felt we reached modern civilization when a huge tour bus discharged and minion-like armada of kindergarteners who were armed with little pails  and shovels to attack the damp sand.
An apparently empty bunker-like concrete building came to life at 10:03 AM with a crew of four who immediately plied us with fresh coffee and smartly prepared sandwiches.

We set off wandering a bit first on goat paths in grasses along the beach, then through farmland, and finally along N-13 highway as there were no more yellow arrows for the next three miles. The rain increased in intensity and duration. We needed a new plan.

I am very fortunate to have loaded up a free global mapping app for my iPhone. MAPS.ME offers the fastest offline maps of all the cities, in all countries of the world.

Our location is the blue triangle

MAPS.ME helps to locate yourself on the map, find the nearest restaurant, hotel, bank, gas station etc. It doesn’t require internet connection.  It is yet another mystery in my magic box.
MAPS.ME offered a restaurant 750 feet up the highway.  We went. We had a couple of hot coffees for €2 and then made quick time walking against the oncoming traffic as we wound our way to Afife.

Outside a cafe sat two sunburned locals who spoke no English.  They told us there was no place for us to stay in Affie.  With our guidebook phrase best, we followed their fingers and went down an narrow alleyway where we could see through the trees that we were heading downhill to a little village below.

Mame and I were in the midst of a disagreement in the middle of the roadway when a bearded old man with intelligent eyes emerged from a little stone house, nodded his head, pointed to a narrow street, and spoke quietly  with gestures for us to proceed.  Marcia had her doubts. Right then and there  we got deeper into a discussion about  our different philosophies of the half-filled glass. My optimism was not sufficient for her to be convinced that this gentleman had appeared just at the right time to assist us on our journey.  I have developed an intuition that can serve me well in my travels.  I heard the gentleman  say the word ponte a couple of times and felt he was telling us that there would be bridges to cross on the path ahead.  Somehow  I also understood  that weeds would also be part of the deal.

“We are saved”, I exclaimed !

“Maybe,” said she.

I trudged ahead an within 100 feet the familiar hand painted yellow arrows began to regularly appear again, leading us across two tiny granite bridges and then very much overgrown goat paths that eventually and convincingly  led us into the cobble stone streets of the village of  Ancora.

It was time to celebrate our good fortune as well as respect the wishes of my partner.

I agreed with Mame that we needed to rest and guided her to the very civilized quarters of the Hotel Meira, where we encountered the two American women we met yesterday in the lobby as we were registering.  They are on their own abbreviated Camino under the wings of Camino Ways. We were offered the peregrino special, a double room with full breakfast for two for just €50.  Here’s a representative photo of a double similar to our from the hotel’s website.

We need to stop, dry out, wash clothes, and rest our sore feet.  Since leaving Porto five days ago we have walked  80 miles. Rain is predicted  as well.  We’re stopping for a day off tomorrow.

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