Camino Portuguese da Costa – Days 5 and 6, September 23rd – 24th 2019

Viana do Castelo

Viana do Castelo to Caminha is 28.2 kms which was too far for me because my left foot hurt, so I stopped in Vila Praia de Ancora instead which was approximately 23 kilometers.

architecture Viana do Castelo Portugal
Escola Dr Alfredo Magalhaes, Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Through Areosa, Afife, then Carreco, and Vilarinho.

Carreco beach monument Portugal
Monumento Natural do Alcantilado de Montedor, Carreco, Portugal
remains of windmills Portugal
Old windmill round towers along the Cima coast, Portugal

This type of circular tower would have been a mill and there is one which still has its four wooden sails, nearby – see below.

detailed plant description
Wild Parsnip (yellow Pastinaca sativa). Red headed cardinal beetles love it. Maritime Pine (Pinus pinaster)
windmill Portugal
Moinho de Cima, windmill, Portugal
Portuguese coastline detail shrub
Juniper shrubs (Juniperus turbinate) and hills in the distance (perhaps Vila Praia de Ancora or even La Guarda). The Atlantic Ocean battering against the rocks

Although my foot was painful, it was a wonderful walk across little bridges over the Ria Ancora and its estuary. I sat to look at the map and was bitten again and then kept going around the coast into the next town.

coastline Portugal
Overcast and atmospheric at Vila Praia de Ancora, Portugal
narbour Vila Praia de Ancora Portugal
Harbour, Vila Praia de Ancora, Portugal
dunes and inland water Portugal
Praia do Duna do Caldeirao, Ancora, Portugal

As ever, be careful of automatic translators on your phone / ipad as some of the Portuguese names are also words which mean everyday things and it can be very confusing.

Vila Praia de Ancora

hostel Vila Praia de Ancora Portugal
The wonderfully situated Hostel D’Avenida (private) opposite the harbour and ‘Children’s Beach’, Vila Praia de Ancora, Portugal

There are separate women’s and men’s dormitories at this hostel. The kitchen is quite sohisticated ie it has utensils and tables and chairs! The next morning I had breakfast in a cafe around the corner, admired the sculpture (see below) and then tried to walk, but could not put any weight on the ball of my foot, despite the pain being on the top around the metatarsal bones of the 4th and 5th toes (TH / GB for those of you who speak Shiatsu).

Town square architecture
Catholic church Vila Praia de Ancora, Portugal
Memorial to fishermen and their families translation
Homage to the people of Vila Praia do Ancora – the fishermen and their families. In recognition of the power of the sea to cause pain and tears as well as to feed those on land
church front architecture banner
Holy House of Mercy of Caminha in Vila Praia de Ancora, Portugal
decorative tiles Portuguese town web link
Traditional blue and white tiles depicting a Portuguese fishing scene which reminded me of the Newhaven fisherwomen in Edinburgh, Scotland

I took the train (15 minutes) to Caminha (alongside a surpring number of other backpackers) and whiled away the time, first in a cafe and then with a picnic and a good book in the park near the ferry terminal. I was very sorry to have missed the countryside between the two places.

When I arrived I visited the Centro de Saude (Health Centre) in Caminha, using my European Health Card (which will presumably not be valid after we leave the EU – I cannot understand how that will be a good thing). There was a certain amount of hassle with reception photocopying my passport and staff asking each other questions while I waited. The doctor spoke good English and she wiggled my foot, looked at my rucksack disapprovingly, and gave me anti-inflammatory cream and pills. On top of that I had blisters on the other foot, perhaps from the extra pressure I had put on it by limping. One way and another I still had to walk approximately 10 kilometers in all.

The ferry takes 20 minutes, does not sail on Mondays and costs 2 euros.

River Minho Portuguese Spainish border landscape
Crossing the Minho in a small ferry from Caminha in Portugal to A Pasaxe in Spain.

The time usually changes between Portugal and Spain – one hour difference!

Spain from ferry
Getting closer to the northern side of the Minho River looking towards A Pasaxe in Spain.

La Guarda / A Guarda (Spain)

Note: there was no need to book at the Municipal Albergues at this stage of the Portuguese Camino, although there were a good number of pilgrims everywhere, but I did book the private hostels via booking.com

It was a further 40 minutes walk to La Guarda (by road), 3 kilometers. I could not walk, so I looked around the car park to see who was getting into their car and then asked the most friendly looking person if he knew whether there was a bus or taxi into the town. He said he didn’t know, but would give me a lift, which was what I was hoping! It only took 10 minutes or so and he kindly put me down close to the Municipal Albergue de Peregrinos (pilgrims), Rua Puerto Rico.

Luckily, it wasn’t far to the shop that evening for ingredients for my tea and I spotted a nearby bakery for the morning.

Days 1 and 2: Porto to Vila do Conde

Days 3 and 4: Vila do Conde to Viana do Castelo