We really didn’t want to leave Villa Merceria at Ponte Lima this morning. It was a lovely place to stay and a beautiful town. They say the oldest town in Portugal.
We knew it was going to be a climb in fact the highest for this Camino. The mist has shrouded the towns and the hills beyond. Quite peaceful and beautiful. Up narrow paths into the mist, a combination of dirt and cobblestones. We came across some beautiful old properties, friendly farmers and once again meeting up with our Camino friends. 2 Irish couples quite enjoyed our singing of ‘Give me a Home among the Gum Trees. ‘There is a big group of students and also a group of 28 Germans on the trail today but it still seems like there is very few people around. Also groups of bike riders go whizzing past. It is a public holiday today. Only at the cafe’s do you see more than roughly 4-6 or so together. The weather is perfect for climbing. Up and up we go.
When we thought we were at the top the path led us to an opening and a magnificent view of the hills beyond. But alas we weren’t at the top. A wider road then leads us to a rocky narrow path and severely goes straight up. We pass the spot where Napoleons troops were ambushed. Can’t believe my footprints also will walk this way.
An amazing view opens up at the top and a clearing with water fountains and shaded areas to sit. We decided to have lunch and have our little picnic here.
After lunch it is down hill all the way through beautiful arches of vines. Their leaves turning from green right through to red. We are also crunching the walnuts, acorns and as we walk over the fallen grapes a wonderful fragrance hits us. Can’t be vino time yet.
Our accommodation today was in a Small house with private rooms and multi rooms but unfortunately the private room that we had booked, they had added other people in it. The girl was wonderful and apologetic and rang around to find us a room. I had rung a Quinta earlier but no one answered. Luckily they rang back and the girl could speak to them in Portuguese .
This place is around 400 years old and has been lovingly restored. It has its own church and the room is wonderful. They even came to pick us up and will take us back to our starting point tomorrow. They are also going to drive us down to a restaurant later tonight for another very satisfying Pilgrims Meal.
A wonderful warm family. This has been a lovely stay at Quinta da Gandra and for €25 each great value.