It has long been a tradition of ours to enjoy a walk on Boxing Day and this year we planned to hike the Masca Barranco. Unfortunately, Jack pulled a calf muscle just two days before Christmas and, fearing that he may not be match fit for our trip to Guimaraes, we decided that hiking of any kind was out of the question.
But as Boxing Day dawned like high summer, and having spent the morning working, the bright sunshine got the better of me and I abandoned Jack and the pc to head off into the banana plantations.
It had been quite some time since I last walked the circuit from our house, through the banana plantation to La Paz and then along the coastal path towards Bollullo Beach, returning home along the Bollullo road. Setting out from the house with just two hours to spare before we were due to head into town to watch the Man Utd match, I put on a brisk pace as I cut down through the plantation towards La Paz.
Usually, I see several other walkers, some joggers and the occasional ‘cruiser’ along my route but on Boxing Day the route was the walking equivalent of the M6 on a Monday morning with new Christmas walking shoes and festive bellies much in evidence. At my usual sitting down spot to catch my breath and soak up the sea air, there wasn’t room for a single cheek on the benches so, red faced and sweaty, I pressed onwards. The downhill section of the walk was now over and with the mercury creeping ever further up the thermometer, it was all uphill from here.
Thankfully, the vast majority of my fellow walkers were doing the route the other way around, from Bollullo to La Paz, and once I left the coastal path I was on my own again. Pushing onwards to the picnic zone, I stopped for a drink of water and a glance at the time which revealed my woeful underestimate of the time this walk takes. Only three quarters of the way through my circuit, I was never going to make it back in time, and skipping the shower was NOT an option. Having rung Jack to come and collect me, my brisk pace was upped a gear to an ungainly half run and by the time the welcome face of Cindy (the Punto) appeared, I was a gasping, sweating mess.
Still, up until the point I looked at the time, it had been a most enjoyable excursion and good to see the fat, little bananas ripening on their stems.