Ponte de Lima, Portugal — August 15, 2017

After I upload this blog entry, I’m headed north on the bike and hope to at least reach the town of Rubiães still in Portugal. Instead of waiting until 8:30 for the hostel to serve breakfast, I’m taking breakfast with me in a plastic bag to eat on the way. If things go well, today will be my last full day in Portugal. I should cycle across the border into Spain tomorrow.

Perhaps I should have ridden yesterday instead of stopping a day here, it was not as hot yesterday as the day before, especially in the morning when the sky was overcast for a change. However, I’m glad I spent a day walking around the Old City. When I do these pilgrimages, too often I walk or cycle through a community without getting to know it.

Almost all of the old buildings in the city are in the Old Town and only a few blocks from each other, clustered around this side of the Medieval Bridge. The building pictured below is the Torre São Paulo or Saint Paul’s Tower. It’s one of the remnants of the old city wall, constructed in the 1500s.

You’ll note the woman walking down the staircase near the top. The staircase leads to a locked door. If the door had been open to the public, I would have walked up there for a look around.

People were crowding around to get their pictures taken with a bronze statue of a bull, so naturally I fell in with the crowd and asked a Spanish woman if she would take my photo. On one of my walks on the Camino francés two years ago, my longtime cycling buddy Ed McGee remarked that I have too many “bronze friends.” I guess I do have a habit of having my picture taken with statues.

As you can see, the downtown area of Ponte de Lima is quite attractive with many beautiful buildings and a few small, well-kept parks. I didn’t find the outskirts that attractive, but then, the suburbs around most cities tend to be bland.

There are a number of churches in Ponte de Lima, but this is the main one. It is the Church of Our Lady of the Guia, whose construction began in the 17th Century. Like almost all ancient churches in Europe, it was built onto and modified during the years, so it has a mixture of architectural styles.

I took this photo inside the church using my cell phone. I am finding that my cell phone takes clearer pictures than my digital camera, and the cell phone will also take photos in dim light without a flash. The only thing that keeps me from throwing my camera away and using my cell phone for everything is that its battery charge will not make it through a day of heavy use.

This ancient clockwork was on display inside the church. No, it was not operating. I could find no information on where the clockwork came from. That tiny clock dial is much too small to have been in the church tower.

PS/I didn’t get a chance to upload this until Rubiães, so I’m here, and it’s not yet 10 am. The route through the mountains was much less difficult than I had feared, so I’m going to try to reach the Spanish border today.