Artists and poets still find life’s meaning in a glass of wine. ~Joy Sterling
It is known that grapes were already cultivated in the Douro region around four thousand years B.C. and with the arrival of the Romans in the first century A.D., agriculture became a major activity of the region. While the politics of the region may change throughout history, grapes and wine production remain to be a pretty big deal. I’ll drink to that!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
~Quote by Melody Beattie
August 5-6, 2018:
We walk back and forth outside the Porto airport while our jet lagged brains and Google Maps try to navigate around the airport parking lot. This proves to be our biggest challenge of the day along with finding yellow arrows. Thank you Camino Angel #1 for showing us the way!
Grateful to arrive at the albergue in time for last three beds available and even more thankful that none are bunk beds.
Belly busting Francesinha sandwich is on the menu. Francesinha means little French woman or simply frenchie in Portuguese. Usually, a francesinha is made with bread (the thicker the better), wet-cured ham, linguiça (a portuguese sausage), steak or roast beef, everything covered with melted cheese and a special tomato and beer sauce. Most times it’s served with a fried egg on top and french fries that you can dip in the sauce. It really reminds me of a beef commercial without the mashed potatoes.
Thankful for the opportunity to burn off the calories in that Francesinha sandwich tomorrow while hiking along the coast to Vila do Conde.