On Monday, October 11th, I awoke to a fabulous sunrise. Fluffy clouds reflected shafts of pink and yellow light from the morning sun.
I marveled at the view of the Igreja Matriz Ponte de Lima Church and the river out my window. Soon, I would cross over the Ponte de Lima bridge on my way to Santiago.
It was important to get an early start today. I had a big climb ahead of me to the top of Alto Da Portela. This is the highest point of elevation on the entire Camino Portugués and notoriously difficult.
Well, as difficult as it gets on the Camino anyway. This trail is not a particularly challenging one when it comes to hills and mountains.
The Ponte de Lima Market
As I made my way to the bridge, I was surprised to see the number of vendors near the bridge in Old Town. In fact, tents stretched for as far as the eye could see underneath the bridge along either side.
When we arrived in Ponte de Lima on Sunday, we stumbled upon an arts and crafts market along the banks of the river. That market seemed to feature vintage goods and antiques.
Apparently, this is a separate market which takes place every other Monday. This one is more of a flea market and specializes in clothing, textiles, household goods and the like.
Crossing the Ponte de Lima Bridge
Soon I was on my way across the Ponte de Lima Bridge. This historic bridge dates back to 1398, although a crossing has been located on this same spot for much longer.
In fact, parts of the bridge a date back to the first century when the Roman Road crossed the river here.
The Igreja de Santa Marinha de Arcozelo is beautiful little chapel situated on the opposite side of the bridge.
Another Morning Full of Vineyards
After leaving Ponte de Lima, I spent another pleasant morning passing through vineyards in the countryside.
Not a bad way to spend the morning, if I do say so myself!
Walking under the Freeway
One of the more unusual parts of my morning was crossing under the freeway. The Camino actually crosses under the freeway a few times and travels underneath it for a bit.
Lunch at Cafe Cunha Nunes
I stopped for lunch at a small market and cafe/bar. This was the last place to stop for food before the big climb up the mountain.
There were quite a few other pilgrims lounging in the shade when I arrived. I sat at a table with David, a retired pilgrim from New Mexico who I had met a few days ago.
While I was eating lunch, another hiker arrived. He looked oddly familiar. Then I remembered that I had given him directions the previous day while I rested on a chapel’s porch.
He introduced himself as Bill and we both had a good laugh about that. Bill hails from Florida and is also retired.
Climbing Alto Da Portela
After lunch, it was time to climb Alto Da Portela. The path gains 400 meters (1312 feet) of elevation en route to the summit.
It’s not a particularly tall mountain, at least as far as I’m used to back home – but it’s the tallest one on the Camino Portugués.
The Summit of Alto Da Portela, and Descent
At the summit of Alto Da Portela, I met a few other pilgrims enjoying the view and taking a break. There’s not much of a view to speak of, but I could see some mountains in the distance.
The way back down the mountain was hard. My foot has never healed completely and going downhill is particularly challenging.
It was a painful experience and I had to stop and take a lot of breaks. I was relieved when I finally made it to flatter terrain.
On the other side of Alto Da Portela mountain, I ran into another pilgrim named Dianne from Australia. We traveled to the local albergue together, hoping to find a place to stay.
Unfortunately it was closed for the season. So we walked down the street and found a privately-run hostel called Casa de S Sebastião.
Later that evening, I walked to the local restaurant and ran into Bill. I joined him for dinner and we had a nice meal together.
He’s a funny guy and had me laughing most of the evening.
Soon it was dark and I headed back to the hostel to hit the hay.
Good night from another great day on the Camino Portugués!
Portuguese Camino Stats
Date: Monday, October 11
Starting Location: Casa Cardeal Saraiva in Ponte de Lima
Ending Location: Casa de S Sebastião in Rubiães
Camino Distance Walked: 10.8 miles/ 17.4 km
Distance to Santiago: 84 miles/ 135 km
AllTrails Map Recording
Click here to view my map recording for today:
Note: the distance in this recording doesn’t match my Camino distance because it includes some off-route walking.
Stamps Collected Today
- Previous journal entry: Portuguese Camino Day 6: Welcome to Ponte de Lima
- Next journal entry: Portuguese Camino Day 8: The Halfway Point
For more information about my pilgrimage along the Camino Portugués, visit my Portuguese Camino web page.