Bikepacking the Camino Portugal – Day 6: Villa du Conde – Ponte de Lima – 47.5mi 2,648ft

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Evil lampposts & Beautiful Bridge

After having a shower in the run down holiday camp showers (pure luxury!) I had to find my way back to the Camino since I had veered off the route to get to the beach. It was easy to find again but me being me I almost instantly went the wrong way and headed down the coastal route instead. Once realising the error it meant a 20k backtrack to the days route. Me getting lost or going the wrong way seemed to be as common as the yellow arrows pointing the right way. Clearly I had developed the skill of not seeing yellow anymore seriously the trail couldn’t be easier to follow so please don’t think its hard, I’m just useless.

Once back on track the trail really picked up, with excellent sections of single track and beautiful tree-lined paths and rivers including another stunning bridge with excellent swimming holes.

Again another theme was the dead animals and today it was several moles in the middle of the road. However this was counteracted by all the puddles being full of frogs. And I mean like frog central, every puddle, river and pond was packed full of them chirping away.

The destination town today was Ponte de Lima. Arriving should have been a magical experience as when you arrive it’s along a beautiful river with a heavily shaded tree-lined avenue. Lovely park benches and lots of people escaping the crippling heat, chatting and with a market selling handmade items and food. However along this avenue, there were very sinister lampposts.

These said lampposts play music on repeat all day. Now everyone likes a bit of Sting and Phil Collins but after 20 repeats of the same songs it gets a little wearing. However that wasn’t the worst bit, the songs are interrupted to blast out public messages. It felt like being in some dystopian futuristic place made to look old and beautiful to hide the menacing evil. Either that or the heat was getting to me. It was hot today, 38 degree centigrade hot. That meant moving around out of the shade caused instant sweating, it also encourages the sort of slow amble like a zombie to stop you from sweating even more.

Now one mistake I made was to take an old half merino half manmade fibre jersey. It absolutely stank beyond all belief. I don’t really smell so found it rather unpleasant myself and therefore made sure it was washed at every opportunity. Today the river made the perfect place to relax amongst the frogs and get this stinking cycling kit clean. Probably should have washed my shoes as well though, it was surprising that they hadn’t walked away on their own by now.

After washing my clothes I lay down under the bridge listening to frogs chorus when a fleet of buses arrived full of drunk Portuguese. Who instantly came over to where I was napping and while talking to me in Portuguese started pissing right next to me. They had the cheek to call me a tourist after seeing my displeasure as they ambled away to start singing rowdy songs in the local bars before running to catch their tour bus before it left them behind. Drunken people are the same wherever you go.

Camino Day 6

 

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