Day 22 - Portugal

3 January 2022

A 40-minute drive to Vigo airport. Van delivered. Over the two days, I think we paid 30 Euro in tolls. A fumbling affair. Stalling. Trying to find the window button. Not sure whether to pay or take a ticket. Both. It added about 30 minutes to the trip.

Back on the bikes. A downhill run into Vigo. About 10 km. Vigo Guixar to grab the Regional Express to O Porriño. 10 km ride to Tui. If we are up to it, another 8 km to the Minho River and Portugal.

I am delegated ticket duty. Of the two of us, I have the worse Spanish. I am the hardest to understand. I have the most trouble understanding. Makes sense. Line up is long. They are doing rapid COVID testing. Fair enough.

I line up. After a while, a medical person asks me something in Spanish. I have no Spanish. A man sees the problem and says -

‘She wants to know if you have an appointment'

‘For a train ticket?’

‘No. For the test. It is appointment only’

‘I just want a train ticket’

‘This is the line for the COVID test. That line over there is for tickets’ he points.

To be fair. The line for the COVID test did sort of joins the ticket line. I get the tickets. We have two hours to kill. Lunch.

We head to Las Tablas around the corner. Coffees. Wait for 1.00 pm and lunch. Menu is short. Local. We have the Entrecot and Bacaloa a la Portugeusa. The cod is the pick. They did not ask how I would like the steak cooked. It came rare. I like this. It removes the chance of someone ruining steak.

“I can't stand it to think my life is going so fast and I'm not really living it.” ― Ernest Hemingway

As we are boarding the COVID testing has emptied. We ask if we can get a test. They say yes. We get it done. Rushed. Our train is leaving. They will text us the results. We might need this to cross the border.

‘La quenta por favor?’

No charge. Nice work Spain.

We jump on the Regional Express. Notice it goes past O Porriño to Guillarei. If we get off at Guillarei we are only 8 km from the border. Ask the guard if we can buy another ticket. He tells us we can just get off at Guillarei.

We jump off at Guillarei. Pick some oranges off a tree and ride the 8 km along the river to the bridge. No checks. No stops. No passports. No Covid. Nothing. Just ride across.

We grab a place to stay in Valença. It is inside the Fortaleza de Valença. Built in the 1300s with walls over 5 km long. It is stunning. Check-in. Store bikes. Shower. I head out to buy a bottle of wine. I am staggered at how inexpensive it is. Vintages back to the 1960s. Port from the turn of the 1890s. I grab a bottle for 3 euros. Incredible value. Touriga Nacional blend from Dâo.

2015 Cabeça D’Velho Reserva

A sign of good wine is how soon you finish the bottle. It is empty in half an hour. We get dressed and head out to see the village within the fort. It is a beautiful place. Ancient. I am walking through here with Shell and I suddenly appreciate where I am. What I am doing. Who I am with. It is emotional. In a good way. Shell feels it too.

“What I want is to be needed. What I need is to be indispensable to somebody. Who I need is somebody that will eat up all my free time, my ego, my attention. Somebody addicted to me. A mutual addiction.” ― Chuck Palahniuk

Sometimes plans never reach expectations. As I wander around this village, right now this is far beyond my expectations.

We drop by the wine store. We don’t buy a second bottle. I forgot my wallet. We might stay another night here. We might move on tomorrow. I love Valnança. I love anywhere with Shell.

COVID test negative for both.


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