When we left Ponte da Lima the cafes were not open yet, so we were happy to find a cafe a few kilometers out of town. When we arrived it was full of locals, but we were soon joined by other hikers willing to make the 40 m detour for coffee, orange juice, and buttered toast. It was a good beginning to the day, even if the cutlery and crockery in the cafe could have done with a more thorough washing before being used.
After our first breakfast we headed back to the trail, which climbed gently through a rural landscape featuring vineyards, wildflowers, mossy rock walls, and small villages with their red roofed houses. In the background were forested hills, some of which had been severely mined or logged.
Around 6 km into our walk we stopped at the Pescaria cafe and albergue for a second coffee and muffin with Sue and Peter. This was a lovely place on the banks of a river with a covered outdoor patio and fantastic looking food and deserts. It also acted as a fish hatchery.
After that the trail continued to climb through vineyards and rural areas for a little while. Somewhere in this stretch we came across a hedgehog that had become roadkill. Although it was a bit sad, it was very exciting to know there are hedgehogs here! When the sun started to burn through the clouds briefly the views up the valley were stunning.
In the late morning the Camino became a rough dirt track that began climbing very steeply through a forested area. Although the track was rocky it felt wonderful to be off the paved surface, and the smell of the fragrant pine and eucalyptus trees was lovely. It felt so good to be in the forest!
When we finally reached the top of the climb we found a small refreshment truck, called the Wolf cafe, run by a wonderfully friendly man. We stopped for a juice and banana, and received one of the coolest stamps so far on this Camino.
After that it seemed like a quick descent into Rubiaes. We walked past quite a few nice looking albergues, and stopped for another coffee at a small market and snack bar at the edge of town, which was full of other pilgrims. It was only 12:30, and most albergues don't open until sometime in the afternoon, so many people were just hanging out and chatting.
Eventually we headed down the road and soon found O Ninho, the albergue where we are staying. When we reached this charming little place there was already someone waiting outside. It turned out to be Helen, a very nice lady from the Yukon. A short time later Sue and Peter joined us on the patio, just as a light mist began to fall.
The lady from the albergue let us in at 2 PM, and offered us all a drink and some tasty cookies with marmalade. It is a lovely place, with a covered patio, a kitchen, several nice dogs, and a friendly orange cat, who we discovered was covered in ticks after it came to snuggle :(
After checking into our room we headed down to the Bom Retiro restaurant, about 3 min down the road, where we again ran into Sue, Peter, and Helen.
We had intended to just get a snack, but ended up having an enormous and delicious meal consisting of vegetable soup, bread, veggie burgers, rice, potatoes, an egg, and salad. We were stuffed afterward and definitely not in need of dinner.
Accommodations: O Ninho Albergue
Distance: 18.3 km