Balugaes to Ponte de Lima

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After our luxurious stay (as my friend John says – princessing it up) at Casas do Rio we were up rather later than normal as an organic breakfast was on offer but only @ 8h30.  It was a worthwhile late start at the time as breakfast was opulent and we were invited to pack snacks for the road.  Here are just a few of the dishes served this morning – homemade honey yogurt,  freshly picked cherries and plums, 6 different tarts that were baked the afternoon before, 2 pies, platter of cheeses and traditional Portuguese meats.  Definitely not pilgrim style eating, however deeply  appreciated.

Some laughs shared at breakfast about the previous nights Drambuie.  I shall leave this story here as elaboration would cause major embarressment!!

So we got off to a fairly late start at round 09h15 and later during the day we were all questioning whether it was worth the late start as the weather was round 36 degree’s and we were baking.  Janine expereineced her first taste of the Camino today!!

We had the odd shady patch but most of the days walk was in the direct sun.  We stopped at Café Nelita and the owners sister who has walked the Portuguese Way gave us all a foot massage. WOW, another spoil and most welcomed.

There was only one other stop for the day, even though a short walk of 20km one feels the lack of stops available for the peregrino’s, especially in this kind of heat.

Beauty walking in to Ponte da Lima was gobsmacking

Beauty walking in to Ponte da Lima was gobsmacking

Ponte de Lima welcomed us with a magical tree lined avenue, the trees must be older than South Africa. They are huge and create a walkway to heaven (being the little town of Ponte de Lima).   I am of the opinion that this is the most beautiful town thus far, beats Coimbra and Tomar as well as Porto.  The river with its white sand banks looks like a beach filled with holiday makers relaxing.  The constant music streaming live in the streets adds to the beauty and clean feel of this town.  What a charming place to be for the night!!

One sees more and more pilgrims during the day and you hear Buen Camino all the time which is a huge motivator while feet continue to burn on this stunning walk.

Walking into Ponte da Lima, way lined with huge oak trees

Walking into Ponte da Lima, way lined with huge oak trees

 

Ponte De Lima is Portugals OLDEST TOWN and as shared most charming.   This pretty old town nestled itself deep into my heart and is never coming out. It’s got all the right ingredients for me: plenty of gardens, fancy mansions and other historical buildings, tons of restaurants and it’s surrounded by gorgeous countryside.

So, apparently many moons ago, when the Roman troops were marching through Portugal, they reached the River Lima and refused to cross. The area was so beautiful that they decided this river had to be the legendary River Lethe, famous not only for its beauty but for its ability to wipe out the memories of anyone who crossed it.

The only way the captain could persuade his soldiers that they wouldn’t forget everything and everyone they knew was to cross the river and call them across by name. That’s why there are wooden models of Roman soldiers in the riverside car park.  It is believed to this day that visitors who cross the bridge would forget everything and stay forever, ja raait, I wish!!!!

Once across, the Romans built a bridge which became the only safe place to cross the Lima for centuries and formed part of the Roman road from Braga, their seat of power in Portugal. It was rebuilt in the 14th century and is still a major focal point of the town.

If you’re the kind of person who likes having your photo taken while sitting on a bronze bull or next to a famous figure, Ponte de Lima will keep you entertained for a while.

The magnificent Roman bridge with low arches, its setting, together with a laid-back atmosphere makes it one of the loveliest small towns in Portugal.

It was founded on the site of a Celtic settlement and developed by the Romans, who believed the Lima was the Lethe, the mythical River of Oblivion!!

Posing with all the hundreds of statues

Posing with all the hundreds of statues

Walkway to heaven behind us

Walkway to heaven behind us

 

Koren taking the bull by the horns

Koren taking the bull by the horns

 

 

 

 

 

 

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