Journey as Destination

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(Big wide motorway near Leon)

Ok, to bring you up to date… Home last Thursday was Entrago in the Picos, Spain. Friday we stayed in the car park of a shopping center by the river bank in the city of Leon, north-western Spain. Saturday we travelled along big wide motorway roads through mountains to cross the border into Portugal. We stayed Saturday night in a campsite in a town called Chaves, very near the border with Spain. On Sunday we drove to a little town called Vila Chã north of the city of Porto. We had planned to stay here one night and then travel further south but we’re still here…

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(Old bridge at Chaves with fishermen in the distance)

When we were talking about this journey before we left, we both had differing views about the length of time it would/should take to get to the (warm) south of Portugal. I was pushing for let’s get there quick… Whereas Denis was happy to take it easy and enjoy the journey. That’s how we ended up in the Picos (so it was his fault!) and maybe it’s the perfect way to go about a journey. Maybe it’s the perfect way to go about a life.

The truth is that with each step we take we arrive. – Paul Coelho.

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(The (particular shade of) yellow arrow pointing north on the Camino de Santiago from Vila Chã)

So, here we are in Vila Chã, staying at a campsite. There’s everything we need close by including a boardwalk along the sea. In fact it’s because of the boardwalk that we’re here. My friend Julie went walking on the Portuguese Camino from the city of Porto a couple of years ago and her descriptions of the route (including boardwalks by the sea) were mesmerising. So when I was sitting in cold and rainy Chaves wondering where to go next I saw there was a boardwalk close to this campsite…  so here we are. The sun has been shining ever since (not always a given in the north of Portugal in February.)

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(The boardwalk beside the sea)

I woke up the first morning and went for a walk on the promised boardwalk and it was as beautiful as Julie had described. Then I arrived back to find Denis a little frazzled… his work computer had stopped working! And… he had committed the most sinful of sins for a software programmer…. he had not done a backup since leaving Ireland! So his work for the previous week was gone.. all gone… kaput… (He’s doing hourly backups now!)

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(Sunset on the boardwalk by the sea)

Long story short, Denis eventually shook off the frazzle, found a way to get his computer fixed and began redoing his work…! Then on Tuesday we brought the computer to a repair shop in Porto on the metro (yes there is a metro from Porto running just a short taxi ride away from us here beside the boardwalk, beside the sea!) and it will take nearly two weeks to fix. Oh and the delay is caused by a wait for a replacement part… can you guess where the replacement part is coming from? No? Ok I’ll tell you – Ireland!

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(This is the harbour at Vila Chã)

We’re stuck here and I am beside myself with joy! I’ll tell you about our day in beautiful Porto tomorrow, in the meantime I’m walking the boardwalk by the sea every day.

Step 4. Take it easy and find a way to enjoy the journey, whatever it brings, Mairead.