Tuesday May 15 Villa do Conde to Esposende (Day 2)

We slept very well, the aches and pains from yesterday were a distant memory. This doesn’t mean a sleep-in, as I got up from bed at 6am, washed up, prepared instant coffee in the kitchen and completed the previous day’s blog. A rhythm that seems to work, first draft in the evening and completion the following morning.

Today’s walk is 24.2 km. Based on our actual arrival time this evening, we are averaging about 4 km per hour. Lunch plus rest stops plus photographic lingering is adding another 2 hours. That’s how the numbers added up today. I am about to name ourselves the Strolling Camino Pilgrims, or the Ambling Camino Pilgrims!

Near our lodging was a sculpture park. We took the opportunity to pass through it. I am always in awe of the inspired works of artists. It’s a talent that I was not blessed with.

This was the piece that I spotted through the fence, that brought us into the sculpture gardens.

A cleaner noticed I was taking pictures, and pointed this piece to me at the end of a wall as we were exiting! How helpful of her.

Aqueduct for Vila do Conde.

We decided to get our Villa do Condo stamp at Igreja Matriz, which opened at 10am. Breakfast was at a nearby cafe, we tried rice cake which was sumptous.

Exterior of Igreja Matriz.

I was moved to take the interior pictures in B&W.

Oh, we should share that our Camino theme is Faith, Fellowship & Food. Why food? Because it reflects the cultures of the regions and countries we visit.

We set off at about 10.40am, a late start. The initial stages of the Yellow Arrowed Road were through residential areas. There are several common strategies that one can employ when walking through stretches of the Camino that can dull the eyes/mind. Especially when one goes through a part of the city that is largely non-descript, say an industrial or residential area.

  1. Talk to one’s walking partners/companions
  2. Listen to music
  3. Medidate/contemplate/pray
  4. Increase the walking pace to get this stretch over quickly
  5. Zone out

I am sure we have employed all or a mix of such strategies, depending on the stretch. How about augmenting this list?

Well, it took me a bit to trigger my creative juices, walking by all the various and largely non-descript houses. However, I noticed quite a number of houses displayed pictorial tiles on the walls of their houses. In addition, a number of houses also tiled their external walls facing the road. Net, I decided to start my own ‘collection’ of such pictures. I am putting a small sample here, as I am quite limited in the ability to post-edit these pictures.

While most tiles are typically 1.5 feet by 1 feet (guestimate), there were some were significant in size.

M

It was a sunnier day today, no overcast skies. Thus, the Atlantic ocean reflected the blue skies (that plus the setting on my X100F. It’s beyond comprehension how long the beach stretches, given this is the 2nd day of walking along the coastline.

Fortunately, the wind was resting today. The boardwalk stretches alongside the beach for the most part.

Wild flowers of various colors were blooming in spring. There were stretches with multi-colored flowers.

Unlike yesterday, we started seeing people sun-bathe today. Note the panels to help shield them from the wind (& sand blowing into them).

We have come across locks of love, padlocked on fences, bridges, etc. Here’s one of sea shells!

On the back, some of them inscribe their wishes/intentions.

At one stage of the walk along the coastline, I was reflecting on all the sounds I was hearing. The ocean waves, the blowing wind, the birds chirping. There was absolutely no man-made noise. And I was reflecting on how the people in the area, enjoyed such beauty but lived very simple lives. One did not see the massive condo blocks that one would see in Miami or Hawaii along these beaches. And the question formed in my mind, “How can we further simplify our lives?” Joon agreed it was a good question to contemplate for the walk today.

The stopping to take pictures was obviously slowing our journey. Even though I had said to myself earlier, that was the last picture of the ocean I was taking, below is the final picture that I took (that I recall, as I am working off two albums – one on the phone, one on the camera). I am wirelessly transmitting a subset of pics from camera to phone for this blog updates.

Every action, every thought on the Camino tends to raise more contemplation for me. This persistence to continue taking pictures of the same subject seems almost OCD-like. We may have different ‘subjects’ where we have OCD compulsions, but rather than psycho-analyzing this, I turned it around. How can I harness this same photographic mania/OCD for my spiritual life? How can I pray with the same OCD-like compulsion as I love to take photographs? This question need not be spiritual, it could be something as simple as deepening the relationship with someone, harnessing that OCD impulses that lie with most every one!

The final stretch into Esposende was along the sidewalks. We could see kite surfers taking advantage of the winds blowing in from the ocean. Harnessing nature, enjoying the winds.

Coming back to the theme of Fellowship, we met Andrea on the boardwalks along the beach. She engaged in a discussion with us. She requested two things from us, a small donation and a prayer (for a good man). We happily obliged.

Andrea & Joon on the boardwalk. She was an expressive character!

We also came across Petra, fellow Camino pilgrim. She was resting by the roadside, and we struck up a conversation. Petra is young, she’s doing the Camino care free, without a plan or schedule. Example, she took the time to sun bathe on the beach. The weight of her backpack floored me – 10 kilos or 22 pouunds! And she was wearing sandals to ease a blister that had formed. Needless to say, after chatting for a bit while walking together, she pulled away as we normalized to our usual pace. 🙂

We checked into a hotel, where there was an elevator and an attached bathroom. We met an Australian couple, Tom & Debra. Debra advised us to soak into the bath tub of warm water. It forces the blood circulation to rise to the skin, and helps one recover and rejuvenate. Joon took the advice. I showered. It was a question of time efficiency. 🙂

As I took off my shoes, I noticed the start of blisters being formed under both my feet, under the fleshy part of the big toe. I had neglected to apply Foot Glide like I did on the first day. I contemplated bursting the swollen area to drain the liquid, but Joon advised to sleep on it. Let’s see what happens tomorrow, but I made the decision to wear my sandals instead of my shoes.

I convinced Joon to venture a bit beyond the hotel for dinner. Our first suggestion from Senor Yelp was closed (this was after a 15 min walk). We were heading to the second suggestion, when Joon spotted a restaurant that was about 15 metres before it. It was filled with diners. In we went. We ordered a seafood rice and fried octopus. It was beyond our expectations.

Before ending today’s post, I am sure you are wondering how we will further simplify our lives. We had already downsized more than 2 summers ago. The question has also morphed from simplification to something more. Here are our thoughts from today:

  1. Reduce screen time. For us, it’s less the television but our electronic devices and phones.
  2. Live in the moment. The Camino is teaching us to appreciate every moment, every experience. It’s the journey, not just the destination.
  3. Commune with nature. Increase our outdoor time. City life can become the “matrix”, as we chase the latest restaurant, the latest in-thing, etc. As Neo was asked, the red or blue pill?
  4. Pray more as time frees up from some of above. You can interpret ‘pray’ as medidate or contemplate more.

p/s. The floor tiles in the bathroom were heated! How we are subjected to temptations, tsk tsk.

Author: Ben & Joon

Residents in the great Pacific North West. Living life as it happens, learning our purpose and trail blazing our own paths. Namaste.

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