We walk out of the albergue in the direction of Águeda when it’s still half dusk together with Mary. The road leads us through a eucalyptus forest again and then around a vineyard. We stop for a minute and taste the grapes. Of course, it’s still too soon, but they don’t taste as sour to me as Mary’s face indicates. It’s the same as with the blackberries yesterday. Then the forest again and then follows a smaller town. On the corner of the sidewalk there is a snake lying down. Fortunately for us, he’s not moving. I have no idea how I’d react if it started crawling towards us. There are flats by our right side and a woman hanging clothes on her balcony screams at us Buen Camino. We wave at her and keep walking.
A coffee would come in handy
According to the map there should be a café here somewhere… Well but it’s nowhere to be found… A while later we see a coffee machine next to a store and Enrique with Tonya standing by it. Apparently, this is the first coffee they found. We tell them that we’ll rather wait for an actually good coffee from a café than drink this hogwash from a machine. They say we’re right and join us.
We walk through the town and stop now and then to take a picture of a pretty house, view or mosaic on a house. We finally arrive in a café. We walk in and hear an enthusiastic chatter. The Dane Jannik and the Korean couple are already here and are welcoming us loudly. There are also some two Frenchwomen. We go and order coffee and dessert. Mary buys a piece of cheese and bread. While we’re sitting down and taking off our shoes so that our feet would dry a little, Jannik and the South Koreans stand up and continue their pilgrimage.
The two Frenchwomen follow them and as they disappear in the door, Enrique and Tonya get going, too. Enrique puts on his backpack, gets out on the street and starts looking around like a Venetian pigeon and tries to remember where we came from and where we should continue. Then his sight points to us and all of us, without a previous agreement, purposely show him the wrong direction. He immediately understands that we’re joking thanks to our laughter.
We go on
We’re slowly finishing our coffee and then follows the process of putting our shoes back on. Firstly, we grease our feet with Vaseline and then we put on socks and shoes. Sticks in our hands and hurray to the others. We get to an industrial zone from the village and see two figures in the distance. They’re the Frenchwomen and the road is obviously not very comfortable for them. According to the way they walk, I suppose it’s blisters. After a few more kilometers we catch up with the Korean couple. We stop at a local wine shop for a while. But it’s unfortunately closed… Or fortunately?
Just like the Frenchwomen, the Koreans seem a little off, too. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe yesterday’s drinking, maybe today’s route its surroundings. The industrial zone that we’re passing through doesn’t seem to have an end. At least we feel so. We go around some cafeteria with a parking lot where we see a couple of plastic chairs. We use that and make a short break. In a while the Koreans arrive, too. When they see us sitting down, they join us. They’re complaining about the stuffy heat. They take off their shoes too and dry their feet. Meanwhile they talk about how they were walking by the main road when suddenly a car stopped by them, a man got out of it and gave them sacks with fruit and bottles with drinking water.
During that narration a black guy on a moped arrives to the parking lot. I’m kind of worried that we’ve sat on his spot or something but instead, he starts a conversation. Or better said, he just starts talking to us. None of us speaks Portuguese but when I look at my co-pilgrims, we’re all just nodding to his monologue. The only thing we understand is a question about where we are heading from and where to. Then we say goodbye and while he goes to the cafeteria, we put on our bags and continue our route.
Umbrella festival in Águeda
Águeda – we arrive into the city and my hernia starts speaking up a little. It’s actually the first time on this pilgrimage. Jitka immediately realizes but I calm her down that it’s nothing restrictive and that it will surely calm down soon. The streets of the city indicate what awaits us in the center. The posters on the walls tell us that we’re arriving right during the local umbrella festivals. We cross a bridge and our jaws drop.
“To see it once for yourself is better than to just hear about it a hundred times.”
Suddenly all the tiredness is gone and we stand on the corner of a street that is all covered in hundreds of variegated umbrellas. The sunrays shining through them on the pedestrian zone create a marvelous dancing mosaic. We take a few photos and go to find one untypical geocache together with Mary. She’s kind of carried away by it and actually starts enjoying this hobby of ours.
Then we go back and continue to the albergue. By the look to the map we deduce that there is an information center nearby and honestly, even though we’re really tired, a pretty umbrella stamp in our credentials sounds appealing so we turn away from our route to the albergue a little. Mary decides to go ahead though. Firstly, she’s exhausted from today and secondly, she’ll hold our spots for us. We say bye to her and go look for the information center. The search is unsuccesssful so we compensate our disappointment with an ice lolly and finding one more geocache in a small park. Then we continue to the albergue to Mary.
The road to the albergue leads uphill and from the supermarket Lidl even along the barriers next to a busy road. Nothing amazing. But the albergue is pretty from both outside and inside. Mary is standing at the reception and is grinning at us and telling us that we have a place to stay the night. But checking in takes so long here. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait as long as Mary did and our beds are paid for in a while. Along with the accommodation, we buy small badges with the symbol of Camino for us and the girls as a memory.
We take a quick shower and after washing and hanging our clothes we go for a quick shopping to Lidl. We buy some bread, cheese and chorizo. For drinks, we buy some beer and Fanta. I also take a box of small ice lollies and a bottle of Sangria. When we get back to albergue, we meet the whole group and it’s nice to see how happy everyone is when we gift them with the small ice lollies. We sit down and open the Sangria. A beautiful gray local cat comes up to us and shows us his sympathies.
Back to the Águeda streets
After a while the others sit down to us and we all agree that the city’s streets are magnificent. Tonya shows us their photos and there are more streets than just that one with colorful umbrellas, for example there is one with just white umbrellas or one with umbrellas with ornaments. We, in shock, ask, where these streets are, that we didn’t bump into them and we get an explanation about where we should’ve gone. Our bodies would rather go to bed but who knows if we even get here ever again so we go on to the city. Our bodies are protesting and we have to fight our legs but once we go down the hill and walk into the first street of Águeda, we instantly forget about the tiredness and just swallow the beauty.
We walk through the same street as we did when arriving to the city but this time we go on the very end, as Tonya advised, and behold! The next street is also covered in umbrellas, but transparent ones, the next one in white ones and the street above has switched umbrellas with variegated balloons that happily wobble from side to side. After the tour around the whole city center and hopefully all the side streets that are joining the local festivals, we go back to albergue.
On our way there we stop in a small market to buy a can of Coke for the way. We take the cans from the aisle, when we hear a loud fuss. I turn around and I see a black man running towards us and smiling. We recognize him as the guy from the moped. We say hello and after a short dialogue from which both sides are kind of confused because we don’t really understand each other, we say goodbye and we each go our own way.
Večer na albergue
When we get back to albergue, we go straight to the terrace where it’s already quite lively. The whole gang is already here, including Danny and Eva. We open our Sangria and join the others in the conversation. Jannik has a problem with blisters so me and Jitka change into doctors for a while, or better said pharmacy, and give him the necessary stuff for cure.
Meanwhile, the Korean man moves to our table and it’s clear that he likes the Portuguese wine. Judging by the lights in his eyes and mainly by his moves and articulation, he has probably drunk quite something already. However, he can still speak multiple languages and react fairly readily. But in one moment he doesn’t realize there’s a soup before him that his wife brought him and thanks to a quicker move of his hand the content of the bowl lands on his belly. The wine is leaving a mark on Mary, too, who’s constantly laughing about everything. We talk with Jannik in German so we learn that he has it similar as we do. Due to the lack of time he only goes to Porto.
Since we know, that our legs would be even heavier after the wine, we decline drinking any of it after finishing our Sangria and we go to sleep and leave the others to their fate.