“Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time” Stephen Wright
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
We bid farewell to Albergue Seminario Menor, Santiago, Spain and hike to the bus station to catch a bus back to Porto, Portugual. It’s kind of interesting to speed past towns and the path that took us fourteen days to walk.
Upon arrival in Porto we fire up Google Maps and proceed to locate Oporto Brothers Hostel. Intersections do pose to be a challenge when there are at least six or eight streets fanning out from the center, but with the help of locals, police and Google Maps we find our way to the correct neighborhood. Things begin to appear more run-down in this section of town… don’t think I’d want to wander too far in the dark around here. Google Maps says we have arrived, but we see nothing as to signage for our hostel. What to do? Start knocking on doors, I guess, until someone helps us. Yep, that works… we find the hostel name on a tiny hand written slip of paper taped to the doorbell.
Great accommodations at Oporto Brothers Hostel and serve our purposes well.
Tomorrow we’ll put one foot in front of the other and walk to the Porto cathedral to start our coastal section of Camino Portuguese. This may be a backwards approach to the camino, but it works for us. Make your own path, hike your own hike.
Thursday, August 16, 2018 | Cesantes to Pontevedra |
Albergue included breakfast for a fee so arrangements had been made for an early start to try and beat the afternoon heat. The number of pilgrims has increased substantially since Tui, so the odds of scoring beds, especially bottom bunks, appear to be slim to none in Pontevedra. Thus, we have a reservation at a hostal across the street from the public albergue. No worries today.
A large grocery store is within walking distance so the evening meal consists of lettuce salads and pizza washed down with wine, all consumed in our cozy little room.
Absolutely no available beds to be found in the next destination of Caldas de Reis so it’s early to bed ~ tomorrow will be an epic bed race for the 50 municipal albergue beds listed in the Brierley book. Can we do it?
Tuesday, August 14, 2018: Excitement fills the air as we make our way from Portugal to Spain. The albergue in Pedreira was kind enough to pack a breakfast for us the night before since we are leaving well before sunrise.
We arrive at our destination city, Porrino, and proceed to get lost. Oh, well… we wanted to complete some extra credit hiking today, anyway, to cross over the 30 kilometer mark.
Senda Sur, Porrino, was a great albergue with super bunks, nice showers/bathrooms. The small kitchenette facilities were quite basic, but all we need is a way to heat water for instant coffee in the morning and we’re happy!
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!
A short video of Day 8:
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:
August 8, 2018
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.”
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!