Ponte de Lima to Rubiaes, (18.6 km — feels like 18.6, except on Alto de Portela Grande)
There is a different mood in the air this morning as the clank, and flap, and zip of early risers assembling their backpacks awakened everybody else in the dormitory.
It started at 4 a.m. with the two guys sleeping in the beds next to me. I understand starting early to beat the afternoon heat, but walking three hours on mountain trails in the dark of night with, probably, only a headlamp to guide you?
By 6 a.m. the predawn dorm was an undulating shadow-sea of pilgrims rising up, gathering their scattered clothing, running off to the loo, bundling up their backpacks, and strapping on their boots. Occasionally the door would open and the motion-activated light in the hall would stream in, trapping shadows in the glare, momentarily freezing all like it was some big jailbreak. Continue reading