Ponte de Lima lays claim to being Portugal's oldest city and it must take pride in being one if its most charming. The bus took us to the top of the main street, a cobblestoned road leading through open-air cafes down to the beautiful riverside where a medieval stone bridge spans the tranquil Rio Lima. Just a great place for a mid-morning cup of tea, a cappuccino and some pastries. Our hotel, Mercearia da Vila, is well suited to this quaint setting, another ideal central location which means we have all the historical and culinary delights this town has to offer within a few steps.
We had a fairly laid back day wandering around this little town. We finally decided that I should see a 'medico' to see if I could do something to hasten the healing process for this Achilles Tendinitis I have in both feet which makes walking so painful. The doctor spoke Portuguese and French. I spoke English and a mixed up smattering of French and Spanish. Somehow we communicated sufficiently enough that I now have more drugs, some healing spray and donut hole heel inserts. The weight of the pack has increased.
Not surprisingly for this riverside town, we found a restaurant overlooking the water where we could sit out and enjoy a light dinner of tapas. It seems chefs always challenge themselves to find creative combinations for tapas. Dayton had duck carapacio and a sausage scramble with egg. It was such a pleasant evening with temperatures staying in the shirt sleeve range - until the sun went down and then in a matter of seconds a chill took over the air and everyone was reaching for jackets and the legs to their hiking pants.
This is a welcomed stop for pilgrims and we did have some mixed feelings of envy and relief when we saw the peregrinos walking into town at the end of a long hot hike with their backs. Maybe they had the same feelings as they walked past us sitting there under a shady umbrella sipping vinho.
View from our room.
View from our afternoon cafe.
Crossing Ponte de Lima.
Ponte de Lima at night.