After a few hours of sleep I woke up and guess what? I was still in Europe!! I don’t think it had sunk in that I was actually far, far away from home, from anyone I knew, I wasn’t meeting anyone there, this was it, I was on my own. I took a shower and got dressed, I rearranged my pack and even though I had not even walked yet, I knew that I had taken things I really didn’t need. This was the first time I left some things behind, I hope someone enjoyed the things I left, lol. I took a deep breath and put my pack on my back. Quick rewind…The day before I left the states I had a few cortisone shots on my shoulder, I had been having pain since that January and after 4 months with pain getting worse and now I couldn’t even lift my arm above my head and after months of sleepless nights, I finally went to the doctor, the motions to find out what was wrong began and the shots were my last effort to try to relieve some pain before I left. My arm hurt the entire way to Portugal but when I put the backpack on, it seemed like the pack was leaning more on my right shoulder so it helped to the point to even forget about the pain. Well, at least for a while!!
I felt so strange, I felt that I just didn’t know what I was doing. I was nervous about beginning my walk and whether I would get lost or find my way okay. I felt so clumsy with my pack and my walking poles, the poles were just getting in my way haha. I sat there and had a bite to eat while looking out the window and just amazed that I was sitting there in Portugal. If someone would have told me years ago that this day would come I would’ve told them they were nuts. I sat in silence a few people came in to eat and I felt they all looked at me funny, like they were thinking I looked like a deer with headlights, I’m sure no one was paying attention to me and my clumsiness, but this is my little voice talking crap already!! As I make my way to check out I’m still feeling super clumsy haha. I check out and as I walk out the hotel door I stand there for a second and take a deep breath and told myself HERE WE GO!!!
Across the street from the Hotel is where I would start my Camino, I would walk through a Fortress The Valenca do Minho Fortress is over 800 years old and carries a long history. I walked towards the fortress and I encounter my first “mini-hill”. I walk up and go to the entrance but not knowing where I was going and seeing that cars were entering through there I thought, well that’s for cars so I go right…uhmm WRONG!! I decided that I would pull out my poles. I extend one, check!! As I extend the other one, I kinda pull too hard and I take the whole half of my pole out…OOOPS!!! In trying to put it back in I push too hard and I almost bent the darn thing…and being that I was by myself I was like “REALLY CECILIA, YOU HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED AND ALREADY BREAKING STUFF”!! I had to just smile, but I fixed it, I was good!! So I walk along the outer parts of the fortress, not knowing if I was on the right path, but after walking a little I realize that yeah, definitely NOT THE RIGHT WAY!!! OMG, my adventure had begun for sure. I go back to the “car entrance” and I just walk on the edge, cars were passing by so I just had to be careful. I was like a small tunnel, very rustic, very old looking. As I walk out of it I see a statue of a virgin so I stop there for a moment just to ask for guidance on this Camino I had just begun. Inside the fortress there are many stores with handmade items for sale, it was early so people were barely opening up and setting up for the day. I lost the arrows, so I ended up on the upper ends of the fortress where I could see the bridge to Spain…yeah, it didn’t look close!!! I’m like, oh look there is the bridge I gotta cross…how the heck do I get there!!!
I just kept walking “in circles” haha….I finally had to ask and I was pointed in the right direction…OH LOOK, ARROWS!!!
I had to go underground (or so it felt like it), it kinda looked scary, I stood there and I’m telling myself…wth, I gotta go in there!!!! Yupp, there is the yellow arrow…
Stay tuned, this is just about an hour into it…join me to find out what happened. Let me know what you think so far…hope you keep checking in!!