Taking the Portuguese Way to Ponte de Lima (Day four)
The fourth day on the Way
The fourth day on the Way was one of the most extended stretches between Barcelos and Ponte de Lima. We set off early in the morning with a brilliant sun and a cloudless blue sky. Soon, we realized that finding open restaurants or cafes would be challenging. Essentially, people in small towns are not accustomed to eating out, and the lack of pilgrims at this time of year made it even more difficult. Breakfast was simple, just bread and fresh orange juice.
Where can we eat?
Finding lunch was even more challenging. At noon, when we reached a small crossroads, Google showed us only two places to eat: a cafe and a bustling family house. The first place had a coughing lady who shooed us away, and we gladly left, not willing to risk catching anything. Subsequently, we headed for the second place. It was a warm and noisy scene, with locals feasting at large wooden tables. Despite our vegetarian preferences, they made room for us, and the hostess surprised us with a hearty bowl of meaty pasta soup. We had only bread and beer while exchanging puzzled looks and laughter, unable to decipher their Portuguese accent, which was very different from the Brazilian accent that was easier to understand.
With our bellies only partially filled, we set off on a walk-through of rolling hills and picturesque valleys. The landscape revealed small country farms with grazing sheep and ancient vineyards. The vineyards were true works of art, with twisted trunks and vines that have stood the test of time. These family-run plots are tended by hand, with elders diligently plowing, maintaining fences, and even washing clothes by hand in the river. It’s a sight that transported me back in time, many centuries.
Among the Stone Walls.
Vibrant gardens embraced us with a symphony of buzzing bees and abundant colorful blooms. The stone walls were covered with moss, plants, and tiny flowers. The air was fragrant and alive, and each step I took was a pleasure.
As we progressed, we encountered more references to the pilgrimage around the walls—niches with small sculptures corroded by the centuries, water fountains, fruits, scallop shells on the walls, hermitages, and trees where pilgrims left their memories.
An Enchanted Sunset
As dusk settled, we found ourselves twisting through ancient alleyways, worn smooth by countless footsteps. Ponte de Lima welcomed us with open arms, an old-world town with a rich history dating back to its Roman origins in 1125! The sunset over the river was stunning, and when it got dark, we witnessed a unique phenomenon—Jupiter and Venus appeared to kiss in the sky due to their proximity.
It’s incredible to ponder the stories these ancient streets hold, and we’re excited to uncover more of this fascinating town.
Our journey continues, filled with unexpected encounters, laughter, and moments that defy our expectations. Stay tuned for the next chapter of our adventure!