Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 14, Vilarinho

Our second best breakfast, yogurt and cereal.

Surprise, light rain. We'd decided to take the Metro to Forum Maia to spare ourselves from city walking and a reputably bad highway crossing.

Last night, my suggestion to walk to the nearby metro station and figure out how to acquire tickets (an unusual bout of planning ahead for me) went over like I'd suggested that we walk in more mud. I'm sure it would have saved us from a mini-argument, a stupid mistake, and another mini-argument this morning.

Buying a ticket wasn't intuitive and because of an odd choice of words in the English translation we ended up with an extra ticket and bad moods.

Off at Forum Maia. I'd memorized the information for today but JH questioned my interpretation of "walk back to crossroads Centro Commercial [200 m] turn right". I just walked rather than talk about it.

The rain fell heavier. We decided to use umbrellas, which were fine until the wind started blowing much stronger, turning them inside out.

I keep forgetting that Gyueon is 13, and although 13-year-olds can be a lot of fun, generally they have no common sense and do stupid things. We still have to remind him to avoid puddles and put on his raincoat. I had to teach him to turn an umbrella into the wind when it gets flipped , after watching him attempt to close his inside out umbrella and break two tines. Thanks, 13-year-old. That's why we can't have nice things. He didn't want to use the umbrella anymore because it was lopsided. I switched with him after showing him what to do and threatening his life if he broke another one. Pretty soon we all had to give up on the umbrellas.

He refused to wear the long raincoat and got very wet. He knew better than to complain. In other news, neither JH not I got very wet.

We saw a cafe, decided we were hungry and went it. The proprietor signaled for us to put our packs in the back room, which had a pool table in it.

Pro tip: on a rainy day, remove the rain cover for your pack before you set the pack on the floor to avoid puddling and soaking the bottom of your pack. We learned this lesson on the day we got free hot chocolate and cookies.

Within 10 seconds, two guys in work uniforms came in to shoot some pool on lunch break. I offered to move the bags but they said they weren't a problem.

A man sitting at a table by the door introduced himself as the owner of the building, the landlord. He spoke as if he were always continuing a previous statement. Also, he lives on the first floor (in Europe, the first floor is the second floor). Also, he lived in Melbourne for awhile. Also, he likes to play dominos. A game commenced soon thereafter, the sound of dominos slapping on the table was a countermelody to the billiard balls cracking into each other.

Also, the proprietor would like to know if you'd like some giblets on your ham and cheese sandwiches. Also, he makes them with his very own sauce. Also, they are very good.

We declined, but received a commentary sampler plate anyway. I thought they were okay but Gyueon liked them a lot. Surprising. The kid who doesn't like tomato sauce on spaghetti likes giblets.

Before we left, I asked where we were and was surprised to hear "Vilar". According to my map and calculations, we were still far from Vilar. He added, "also, you are 10 km from Vilarinho" (our ultimate destination). That made no sense to me-- the map clearly indicates that it is no more than 6km. The proprietor showed me a map that confirmed the landlord's claim. We paid, thanked them, and left, confused.

For that moment on, I wasn't where we were. I'd thought the course stayed on main asphalt road, but we were on cobble stone lanes a lot. Some time later we strolled into Vilar. What? Where? Huh? Then I realized that the men at lunch had said, "Vilar something" but since all I'd understood was 'Vilar' I'd assumed that it meant Vilar. I think they said Vilar Piniero or something. Oops my bad.

The rain got heavier. I couldn't remember the details of the directions and everything felt wrong. We made some more turns, followed arrows down a flooded farm road. I was positive that it wasn't in the book [it isn't]. We followed right on a main road and that seemed wrong [it is wrong]. We passed an Alberge before reaching a crossroads and that felt wrong [it was wrong]. While we were following what I think of as rogue yellows, the rain came down harder than rain had ever fallen before. In less than 10 minutes, we were soaked, lost, angry, and desperate. We wandered down a muddy path because JH thought it was correct. There was no argument, even when we wasted 10 minutes on a pointless foray.

Finally, the course turned right onto a main road (that turn, of all the turns that felt wrong, felt the most wrong, even more wrong than our ill-advised off-route slog through up and back down a muddy path). I went into a restaurant in the immediate corner, dripping my way across their floor and asked where Casa da Lara was. The guy said and gestured very clearly, go back the way we came 1 km, it'll be on the left. I reported this excellent news to JH. "The way we came? Does he know we just turned onto this road from a side street or does he think we came from the main road?"

"Hmm. Excellent question [paraphrased] . I'll be right back."

I dripped across the floor, got the sane explanation but with a "no turn" in English thrown in as a bonus by a cook.

I reported this excellent news to JH. One km later, I walked by it. JH and Gyu spotted CJ's Cafe, that is associated with it. All I saw was a yellow arrow, pointing the way from which we'd come. Impossible! I was to confused to be relieved at finding shelter.

We stood pathetically at the door of the cafe, until the worker cracked the door and explained where to go and called the albergue operator.

We got in, it's clean and dry but cold, very cold, no heater and no way to dry our clothes. We spent an hour wringing out clothes and showering. I'm in the driest. My torso was mostly dry and everything in my pack is dry but JH and Gyueon are dripping. Gyueon's pack has a puddle inside. His built-it rain cover is useless. It's a very bright orange so there's that. If we ever have an emergency that doesn't involve rain, we're all set. In the meantime, he has a lot of wet stuff. JH is a little better off. She's completely soaked but the stuff in her pack is only half wet. Lara brought us some cake, OJ, and port wine. No heater.

We went to the cafe for dinner, warmth, and wifi. JH finally tried a dish we'd seen many times, -----, which is random meat hidden under a mountain of French fries covered with gravy. It's good to eat and, in my opinion, good to share. It seems like too much for one human. CJ recommended a beer to go with it. She didn't need to sell it that hard.

We talked over dinner. I expected JH to announce that the walking part of our trip was over. Instead, we went over the plans for the next few days, rearranging and checking accommodations. I was so sure the trip was over. That last hour was bad. Very bad.

As we paid, we asked CJ to ask Laura (who doesn't speak any English and was seemingly incommunicado in her house) if there was any way to dry our clothes. Lara agreed to dry our wet clothes overnight.

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