Joyce has 30 years in the field of education, currently a substitute teacher, farm gopher and photographer specializing in art and image restoration editing.
Randy has a degree in studio art / art education and runs a corn/soybean farm along with a Seed dealership.
Monday, August 13, 2018|Rubiaes-Pedreiro, Portugal|12 kilometers
The number of pilgrims is putting pressure on the bed supply so there is no room at the inn if we walk to Valenca or Tui. We opt for a short day and reserve a bed in a bunk house at Quinta de Camino in Pereira. Too early to check in so we order a little snack…
The long, dark, narrow bunkhouse reminds me of a railroad car, so I kind of expected it to start moving.
Nice hotel rooms are close by and we enjoy visiting with a delightful Brazilian/Netherlands couple on a working vacation, along with their daughter, and two young German men. I take the night off from taking photos/videos and now I’m kicking myself!
Sunday, August 12, 2018: Ponte de Lima to Rubiaes, Portugal | 20 kilometers
Oh, so tired today. Ponte de Lima festival included loud music from midnight to 3 a.m. this morning. The albergue balcony with open windows, due to the heat, allowed all of us in our section of beds to feel as though we were part of the fun and merriment. Style of music was not the lullaby kind and the tremendous fireworks show after was lengthy, as well. Thus, little sleep, but that’s o.k.
Warm temperatures today plus we climb the largest hill on Portuguese camino. By the looks of the photo above we tackled it like beasts! All rocky sections are compared to the Loch Lomond section along the West Highland Way and this was not as challenging.
Beautiful views, but we must hustle along as we hope to score beds (bottom bunks) in the 5 euro Albergue de Peregrinos in Rubiaes, Portugal.
Yeah!! We arrive in time… Our home tonight is an old school converted to an albergue filled with bunk beds, well supplied kitchen, large dining area and outside patio/laundry area complete with clothes lines strung across the sunny yard.
Albergue de Peregrinos is an old school converted to house Camino pilgrims with rooms filled with bunk beds, well supplied kitchen, large dining area and outside patio/laundry area complete with clothes lines strung across the sunny yard.
Chilling in the patio area outside, we meet a tall man from South Korea who has completed the whole Camino Frances from France to Finisterre, Spain and immediately started walking the Camino Portuguese backwards from the coast. His current unemployment status has given him time for this lengthy endeavor and by now he can cover a tremendous number of miles each day. While you may be tempted to look at this as a mid-life crisis situation, I would prefer to see it as an opportunity for personal growth. To each their own, right?
Saturday, August 11, 2018: Casa Fernanda to Ponte de lima. We sadly bid farewell to our new friends at Casa Fernanda and embark on a short, but hot 12 kilometer day. It’s as though the hills are singing to us as we walk from one festival to another.
Below is a short video of Day 6:
A line of RV’s from all around Europe are parked along the river take on the duties of “Welcome Wagon” as we enter Ponte de Lima, so it took a while to visit with the gang. It’s hot and we have been told the Municipal Albergue de Pereginos doesn’t open its doors until 5 p.m. All the time in the world, right?
Wrong… Randy makes the trip across the bridge (While Joan and I have a cold beverage) to check out the bed situation and discovers Albergue de Peregrino opens at 4 p.m. and he is encouraged by camino friends to get our bags in line ASAP! We quickly get all of our bags across the bridge and get in line for beds. When the doors do open we stand in a long, slow line for well over an hour, but it’s worth it as we do get beds.
All low beds and we have a beautiful view… A-a-a-ah-h-h-h.
Friday, August 10, 2018: Will we walk 32 kilometers today?
After a festive evening listening to boy scouts singing folk songs, we rise at the early hour of 5 a.m. to tackle a long day of walking from Barcelos, Portugal. I appreciate the nice kitchen provided by the author of the Brierly Camino Guide and prepare coffee to help jump-start the day.
Inquiring minds will want to watch the video below… Joan, Randy & Joyce take on Camino Portuguese Day Five.
Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. -Arther Ashe
August 9, 2018: Joan, Randy & Joyce take on Camino Portuguese Day #4 | 18 kilometers
A good day becomes great…the walk from Sao Pedro de Rates to Barcelos along the central route includes a photo opportunity with Elvis, the King of Rock & Roll.
As we enter the Barcelos town square we hear music and see the festivities. Is this their way of welcoming weary pilgrims? No, wait! It’s Thursday, the traditional market day, Feira de Barcelos. Why wait until the weekend?
Poor Tiina, our Finnish friend, is having ankle issues so came in later that day. Joan is the hero as she marks a bottom bunk ready for Tiina’s arrival at Albergue Cidade de Barcelos.
The grocery store is apparently having a sale on Bacalao, salted dried codfish. Reminds me of lutefisk with a better smell, consistency and taste.
Below is a short video of Camino Portuguese Day #4:
Oh, my, what a beautiful view with tree silhouettes against a blanket of white.
Our Finnish friend, Tiina, is walking with us today as we follow Google Maps while crossing the bridge near Vila do Conde. The goal is to make our way to Sao Pedro de Rates via Arcos to hook up with the central route. We see no other pilgrims or arrows so maybe this is like being true pioneers. But when the locals stop what they are doing and violently gesture and point you another way, you’d better take heed. So, back we go across the bridge we just crossed. With the help of some German Jakobsweg Camino arrows we find the correct route and proceed to tackle about 13 kilometers of hot, road walking complete with speeding cars, motorcycles and dogs barking, At least the terrain was quite level.
The Caminho Central sign at Arcos is a welcome site as it means we have successfully connected with the correct route.
The lineup begins as we try to score some beds for the night at the donativo Albergue de Pereginos in Sao Pedro de Rates. The young South Korean woman standing in line is my inspiration today. (white shirt and hat) Smiling from ear to ear, she seems to not have a care in the world. We do notice her clothing is not your typical hiker quick dry attire and the very small backpack is more like a child’s schoolbag. There must be a story…
Her original backpack was stolen in the Lisbon bus station! It gets even worse as all of her cash, credit card and passport were in the stolen backpack. Thankfully, the Camino provides and a stranger loaned her some emergency money, her mother was able to send a new credit card and the embassy allowed her to receive a temporary passport to continue her trip. Valuable lesson learned… My favorite tactic is looking homeless with a “decoy” pouch around my neck containing small bills. The real goods is buried deep where nobody wants to go.
“These days, it’s better to look poor and be safe, than look rich and be a victim.”
― Anthony Liccione
Below is a short YouTube video summarizing our day #3 on the Camino Portuguese. Excuse my horrible hair. The light on our deck was so beautifully diffused this morning that I got wrapped up in filming these clips and totally forgot about my previously scheduled and desperately needed hair appointment!
“Don’t be a tourist. Plan less. Go slowly. I traveled in the most inefficient way possible and it took me exactly where I wanted to go.” — National Geographic’s Andrew Evans
The day is free and easy with level board walks much of the day as we hug the Portuguese coastline. We cross the bridge into Vila do Conde, look for the albergue and sit in line until allowed to enter and register. Here we meet Tiina from Finland as we pass the time away.
A large group of 11 are right ahead of us and will probably continue to snag the future limited available albergue beds if we stick to the coastal route. Unfortunately, it has become a bed race of sorts. A decision needs to be made: Do we stick to the coastal trail or walk to Rates to join the central route? What to do?
We contemplate route options as we tour the city. Vila do Conde is situated at the mouth of the Ave River, historically a center of shipbuilding and seafaring. It is obvious that the main industry today is tourism with beautiful beaches and seaside resorts.
The impressive Santa Clara aqueduct towers over the city and befitting its power the Convent of Santa Clara once drew a lot of water. Quite literally in fact, as in 1626 it initiated a giant project to improve its water supply. Channeling water down from the high ground in Terroso, this structure stretched for four kilometres and needed almost 90 years to complete. One reason it took so long is that there was an interruption in the 1630s when they realized they had miscalculated the slope. Parts of the aqueduct were lost in the 18th and 19th centuries to construction and storm damage, but when it was finished in 1714 it had 999 arches. ~thecrazytourist.com
Add in a bell ringing, walking funeral procession, a wedding recessional being photographed by a drone, ice-cold Super Bock and I’d say it was a pretty good day. … and bottom bunks!