Don’t count the days, make the days count. ~Muhamed Ali
Wednesday, August 22, 2018: 12+ kilometers
Short YouTube video of Bonus Round Day #2:
We exit Oporto Brothers Hostel in Porto, Portugal to make our way along the tile covered sidewalks along with a throng of tourists and locals.
First stop is to locate Sao Bento Railway Station (for later reference) and we find it to be an amazing sight to behold. Large azulejo “paintings” representing historical events in Portuguese history line the walls. There are approximately 20,000 azulejo tiles, dating from 1905–1916, composed by Jorge Colaço, an important painter of azulejo of the time.
We continue up the hill to the Porto Cathedral which seems to have been a work in progress for some time as it displays three major historical styles: Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque.
Construction began in the 12th Century and continued to be a work in progress into the 18th Century which explains the different architectural styles. It is the largest place of worship in Porto and one of the oldest historical monuments.
Now its time to follow the yellow arrows through the maze of narrow streets and find our way to the Minho River.
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:
The journey only requires you to put one foot in front of the other …again and again and again. If you can find beauty every step of the way, you are truly blessed.
An early start to a thirty kilometer walk today with random conversations and historic villages along the way. I arrive at the steps reaching the bridge into Logrono catching the tourist information office gentleman at the top just as he is about ready to close. The excellent map he gives me makes my journey to tonight’s lodging a piece of cake allowing me time to pay it forward and help another young pilgrim find the municipal albergue in time for her to get a bed.
Seems like I’m just getting my trail legs and this Camino has ended. The departure process now begins with a bus, three planes, my very first Uber ride until my little red car takes me all the way back to the border of Minnesota/South Dakota.
It may be time to go home, but it’s never too early to start planning the next adventure… I am truly blessed.
September 23, 2016: Two options today ~ follow the highway path or take the longer alternate path. We naturally opt for the longer route since we rarely seem to do anything the easy way.
Short video of the day featuring the inspiration for our morning mantra ~ …Coffee Town:
As usual, we follow an arrow to proceed straight ahead. What’s this? A set of large railroad tracks loom ahead and we are hesitant to cross since neither of us like to break rules. Hmmm…? Turn around and back we go to find this little arrow pointing to a road that winds us through town, up and over a pedestrian railroad crossing. Safety first and it’s a good thing we like to walk.
The 13th century bridge taking us into Hospital Orbigo is the longest one on the Camino at 204 metres long (approximately 670 feet) and has 20 arches. The river that it crosses doesn’t seem to appear to warrant such a lengthy bridge, but prior to a dam being built at Barrios de Luna the river was a lot wider. ~Galicia Guide
This bridge has facilitated trade since Roman times including the passage of livestock as part of the cattle trail Camino de la Canada, as well as sweaty pilgrims. ~John Brierly
I see our albergue! A sign can be spotted from the bridge so we have finally arrived. The albergue tonight is connected to a bar/restaurant which means we have a zero kilometer walk tonight. Yes!
9-14-2016: It’s a dreary Tuesday and we bid farewell to Randy who is taking a bus from Burgos to Madrid to catch his flight home.
We trudge through parque El Parral which, we decided, was the park in the film, The Way.
As you can see by the map, it isn’t totally flat terrain, yet. We are expecting much flatter terrain, but find the ups and downs to be just fine.
This man reminds us of Randy as he is so proud of the hair brush he found along the way. Joan is not jealous as she already has a nice comb.
No reservations, but we have our minds set on Albergue Hornillos so we hustle along and get in line for a bed. Joan and I are lucky and snatch the 2nd and 3rd to the last beds while Alabama John (Young man with the cowboy style hat on the video) gets the very last bed. Bonus is a grocery store nearby and little old church to tour next door.The Camino did provide!
Our beds are near this kitchen where we drink our wine, cook supper and visit with the other pilgrims. These experiences are some of my favorites of the camino – listening to other perspectives and journeys in life.
Joan is in a tiny room with another lady next to this dorm room and I enjoy this view from a top bunk near them. Nice and cozy. I listen to the conversations in the kitchen from my bed and soon I am lulled to sleep. Buenas Noches!
September 10, 2016: Belorado to Ages ~ 28 kilometersOver-achievers today as we go a few kilometers past the elevation map above.
We find beds in the Ages Municipal Albergue and wander the streets exploring the village.While exploring Ages we stumble upon a small museum of miniatures that Marcial Palacios creates of regional sites, as well as historical methods of labor in the village and on the farm. The passion that Marcial puts into his works and animated explanation of each miniature is interesting as I try to comprehend with my limited Spanish skills along with gestures. Best salesman ever as we purchase a small, lightweight toy.Junk sculptures line stone fences and fill the yards of this unique street in Ages. I couldn’t find info about these displays so your guess is as good as mine.Shout out and buen camino to Jim and MaryAnne Leas of leascomadventures.com.
September 7, 2016: Scroll down for a short video of the day.
We stock up on water and food because for the next few hours of the journey we will not have much for shops until the town of Navarrete 13 km away. This will be a thirty kilometer day, so we get an early start to beat some of the heat.Randy finds a little store in Navarette with everything under the sun crammed inside and he needs a bandana to protect his ears and neck from the scorching sun. Hanging around the counter, he takes forever to make a decision… could it be the posters below the counter that distract him? (Click on the image for a larger viewing window.) Plump grapes are plentiful and tempting as we pass through numerous vineyards and hear recordings of birds in distress and canon explosions to keep birds away from the ripened fruit. We have seen many small tractors with spray tanks behind heading out to the vineyards. No wonder there are no flies or bugs of any kind on the grapes. It’s not very healthy to be eating unwashed grapes that have been in contact with a pesticide besides the fact that it would be stealing. Enough said.Interesting “bee hive” hut along the trail would provide shelter, if necessary. It appears to be of modern construction and quite messy inside from garbage left by people. The mom in me wants to lecture… Pick up after yourselves!Randy and Joan are strategizing in the cute little Vino y Camino apartment that Joan found in Najera. We are in heaven with kitchen facilities, washer/dryer provided, our own bathroom/shower and they even provided us with a bottle of delicious red wine. (Hence, the name.) All in all a good value.
September 6, 2016: Scroll down for a short video with some Creedence Clearwater Revival plus proof that Joan can still stop traffic!
As you can see by the elevation map, we start the day with a hill work-out while the rest of the day appears to level out a little. However, the heat continues to sap our energy as we plod down the path.
We meet a friendly, interesting young man named Julio from California sitting by the side of the road switching out socks due to blisters. Conversations flow throughout the day about observations and plans while on the Camino, as well as life, taking our minds off the heat. We often wonder about the rest of his journey to Santiago as we lose track due to a different pace as we do with many people we meet. A good lesson learned: Live in the moment and make the best of it while you can.
We also meet a new friend, Julius, today and have been in touch with this talented photographer/animation artist from Poland living in Dublin. It was great to talk about photography with someone who understands me. Graffiti in the tunnels plus the shade provide a little respite from the heat.
We find beds tonight in the Apostol Hostel in Logrono with a familiar scene on the wall of our room. I don’t think this means I can cross the Statue of Liberty off of my Bucket List.