Po.18. o Porriño – Ponte Sampaio

It’s Wednesday, May 25, day 18 of my Portugese Caminho, day 14 this year of my continuation. The wake up time is 6.20 but the sleeping time according to the watch and appis not very good. It’s an on and off sleep , even with the CPAP.

Breakfast is included, so at the bar there’s a buffet we can choice from. And again the family is very helpful.

At 7.40 I leave the Albergue for the next stage, what can I remember from last year and can I see what’s different? The first few hundreds of meters (Walk) I have to walk to the trail again, I go north to pick it up at the end (or beginning) of the town. I know where to go, pass by the place we stayed last year.

Just outside the town I see a familiar small bus, from yesterday. At Mos, the first village with a cafeteria it’s crowded again with the tourist pilgrims. I have a cappuccino and walk on. Places look familiar and almost nothing has changed. But the numbers of pilgrims did change, in comparison to last year. Too many almost…..

I recognize almost everything, not much changed this 8 months. What could have changed, it seemed like the whole world stood still because of Covid. In Redondela, after a very steep downhill, I have my lunch, Cappuccino, tosta and tortilla. The barkeeper looked strange at my order, but served it anyway.

After 30 minutes got up again and walked on… And again a group of pilgrims in front of me…… Slowly passing this chicken-ren and onwards. Later I saw a couple and asked them if they’re Filipinos, yes, but they live in Toronto, Canada….. It’s her 60 th birthday, he is 70……

The steep climb in front makes my muscle sour and also the upcoming downhil and short climb into Arcade makes my muscle shout for a break…… But it’s just 2,5 km to the albergue, so keep walking. My bed awaits me.

The Albergue will be full tonight, maybe 10 Dutch people, a few Asians, Americans, Germans, Spanish and Portuguese. After a shower and break I go for a drink near the old Roman bridge. I am amazed how the people in car respect each other here, the bridge is narrow, so you need to wait to cross, and they do it in a very nice and good way, people in my street can learn a lot here.

I see the Toronto’s Filipinos again, they still need to walk 8 km to Pontevedra. And the American family with the big stroller passed by also, but they stay in the same Albergue as me.

Later again a pilgrims menu (Eat) and afterwards to bed (Sleep), because tomorrow’s Repeat.

 

 

Po.17. Baços – o Porriño

It’s Tuesday May 24, and the time? My watch and smartphone show the Spanish time, but I am still in Portugal, so -1 hour….. But it’s not s problem, because Spain is just 75 minutes away.

I wake up, don’t know the time, to go to the toilet and then back to bed. But I don’t really sleep anymore. I don’t know when I really stand up, but after me the Italians follow. Even at breakfast we sit together, but I am the first to leave the Albergue.

Because this is not a regular stop, according to all the books, it’s quiet on the Camino. The walk to Valença is just 6 km and I wonder where I get on the track where Didi and me walked last year. I see the roads where we walked last year coming into Valença, but the place the 2 Camino’s meet is at the fountain past the hotel we stayed last year.

Last year we walked directly to the bridge, because on our arrival day we already visited the fortella. Now I keep on the Camino which brings me to the fortella and going the original way out of Valença.

The bridge between the two countries is still the same… This time I take the right side of the bridge, last year we walked on the left side. So I can shoot different pictures from last year. And I see already some pilgrims.

Once on Spain, the walk continuous….. hehehe…..

When I reached the cathedral, I saw a huge crowd of Spanish pilgrims. The one that do not carry a backpack, get refreshments from the organisation with whom they booked. It was quiet difficult to receive a stamp at the cathedral. But the one issuing it, saw that this pilgrim already made some kilometers.

Getting out of the cathedral and out of Tui was also not easy. The numbers of pilgrims now is overwhelming. If you compared with the previous weeks. The territory I am on now is familiar. I walked here before. Maybe this is the reason that I don’t take that much pictures and video. The road continuous….. I take my lunch at exactly the same place as last year. But now it’s more crowded……

And going along the road with more pilgrims it’s different, are they really pilgrims or just people on holiday?

9 kilometer before o Porriño I have to make the most difficult choice. Go left and thake the scenic route, or go straight ahead as last year and take the official industrial route……. Though choice, I turn left.

Why walk the same route twice when you can change….😂😇.

This route is much nicer and just 1,7 km longer. I think the last parti turned to quickly on the official route again, going in to o Porriño.

The Albergue I booked is not really on the Camino, just a bit off, but it’s clean and great value for money.

Later I will eat somewhere don’t know where don’t know when.

But what I do know is: tomorrow I walk again…..

 

Po.16. Ponte de Lima – Baços

Today is going to be lazy day….. 28 km walking and starting late…….😂

The breakfast was simple and I had a nice talk with the Americans…… How strange that the ones I meet here are so negative about their own country….. Because they see it can be different? Or just to have a normal talk with the rest of the world?

It’s dry when I start walking and in Ponte de Lima they are preparing a marketday, a huge market. I don’t know if it’s a normal market or a special one. And I am not going to wait and ask, I start my walk.

Crossing the old Roman bridge and away I am. The Camino goes along a small river and up and down hill….. Onwards on the most beautiful and thoughest stretch.

At km 8 I take a stop because the next one is more than 8 km away and on the other side of the hill. I see more pilgrims, a few familiar but mostly new ones. Also touristical pilgrims, the ones that skip parts, travel in groups and no backpacks.

The climb starts just when the first rain shower stops, so I can open the poncho. But it won’t stop for long and the way up is…… It’s many different ways going up, the surfaces I mean. I can Imagen that some feel the difficulty, but I have to write I had much worse and heavier and longer climbs before, on other Camino’s.

The long way down starts, with off course some uphill as well. I stop for lunch, late, but it’s the first opportunity after the hill. You can have chicken BBQ, but I decided for omelette and salad and something to drink. And had a nice talk with a French-Canadian who spoke English.

OK let’s go on still 12km to go, 2,5 hours. And a bit uphill and a lot of down hill, and why not, also some rain again.

The later in the day the fewer pilgrims you see. The last hour and don’t see any. I arrive just before 3 at the Albergue. The woman who is registering me comes from Cologne, Germany. I am the 3rd pilgrim to arrive. At 16.30 3 Italian arrived, the Albergue will be full tonight. The diner is vegan and on donativo base. The breakfast is €3,00. So all taken care of…..

Later helping with a nice evening with international pilgrims.

BTW, the stop in Baços is not a usual stop, according to the books, but it’s right on track.😉

 

Po.15. Barcelos – Ponte de Lima

Sunday, May 22nd, sleep late? No. Get up early: yes…… Today 33 km to Ponte de Lima….. Weather forecast, rain, thunder, lightning….. Whole day……

When I wake up and look outside it looks dry, but cloudy. When I started walking, still dry, hope the forecast is wrong……

Walking to the city border, seeing already some pilgrims and passing them. Just outside Barcelos I see again the 2 French ladies, which I see no more after 500 meters. At a junction there were some strange arrows which made them walk into a different direction then me.

I can write now that I didn’t see them again today. The route that I took was on my digital map and the signs I followed where a bit different, but the route followed my map. I think this was a again a safer newer route.

I had a stop at a cafetaria, juice, coffee and croissant…… Met 2 other pilgrims and moved on. Just 15 minutes later it started to rain…. Rain harder and didn’t stop for 3 hours or so. Poncho on and keep walking, walking in the rain, singing in the rain…..

I heard fireworks, there’s a procession somewhere, but I cannot make out where. Later at a church I see a flower bed spread out in front of the church, but no-one there.

In the next village again, and here 2 stalls of merchandise were put up…… But no other people near. I keep on walking, in the rain and less singing in the rain…..

In a different village it looks that there will be historic festival, but also no people. At the small church I meet 2 pilgrims. Inside the church I can get a stamp. When I move on a walk a long time with these 2 pilgrims: a woman born in Rumania living in Switzerland, and a Portugese man, working as mechanic for the Air Force in Portugal.

And did I mentioned that I passed my Norwegian friend earlier when I was walking in the hard rain and he was taking shelter at a cafetaria? Okay, now I mentioned it.

And what I also forgot to mention was that it stopped raining when I got the stamp in that church and walked with the other 2 pilgrims.

We walked and walked, talked and talked, but no cafetaria for a long time…… We passed by several other pilgrims even more than yesterday. At an open cafetaria I had my lunch, sandwich cheese/ham and something to drink. They had only a drink.

When we got up, they did a picnic next to the cafetaria, so I walked on, just to see a familiar backpack walking ahead of me….. Someone was talking and the language sounded familiar, Scandinavian…. It is Fred again.

These last 5 km we walked together again into Ponte de Lima and maybe we will see eachother later or in the future again….

My overnight stay is in a house where the rent out rooms. So when I arrive I had to phone the owner and 15 minutes later he showed up and opened the door and explained everything.

After a shower a met a man from Florida who’s walking the same Camino as 8 months ago, but now with a nice who was enthousiast about the photos he showed her.

And it’s time for lavandaria again…… Tomorrow there will be a long walk up up and away…. The warning came from the American pilgrim, take food and drink before you walk up, because there’s nothing until your down again … Thanks for the information and tomorrow a new day……

 

Po.14. Vilarinho – Barcelos

Last night I woke up just a few times very shortly but was awake before the alarm. The roommate woke up when I was arranging my stuff, but stayed in bed checking his phone. There were no other guest in this dormitory, except for the 2 French ladies in the private room.

The included breakfast was cereal, coffee, crackers, jam, milk. Just a simple small breakfast.

I think it was a quarter to 7 when I left the Albergue, on my way to Barcelos. The 2 ladies already left and in front of them a saw another pilgrim. The forecast was cloudy, and it’s ☁️☁️☁️. The 🌞 tries to break through but had to fight for it….

Not long after the start I and all other pilgrims, pass over an old Roman bridge, keeps me reminding of the bridges in Spain.

As expected, more pilgrims on the road, new pilgrims, the ones I haven’t seen yet and mostly started in Porto. And today for the first time this Camino someone said “goede morgen” as I had past him. He recognised my Limburg flag at my backpack.

I take only 1 stop today, my late coffe break/early lunch break in a village. When entering the cafetaria I almost fainted….. At a table a familiar person was having also his break….. Someone from Scandinavia, Fred the Norwegian…. It’s Ben again a few days that we haven’t seen eachother and now bump into each other again. Would it be the last time or not…..

He moves on again, also to Barcelos. Later the Dutch couple comes in for their break, we talk a little and then it gets more crowded, time to go on, the last 12 km door today.

The marble Milestones of the Camino are now appearing, the countdown of the km has started. I pass by the 200 km marker. In Barcelos is just 195 km to go. When I go out for dinner you’ll see more pilgrims…. It’s that kind of town. I make my bookings for the last days ahead, only 1 date stays open because I don’t know if it’s possible to stay there where I plan to stay. You cannot make a reservation there.

We will wait and see…..

Goodnight…..

 

 

 

Po.13. Porto – Vilarinho

TGIF……..

Thank God It’s Friday, May 20. Another day closer to Santiago de Compostela. Today there’s a long walk ahead of me, again almost 30 km. But…… because I am Dutch and we like to get what we pay for, overnight stay and breakfast, we want to have the breakfast as well. 1 problem, breakfast is served from 08.00 o’clock.

Yesterday after my arrival I walked another 10km through Porto and on all previous days I also walked extra km. Knowing this, and the late departure I decided to take the metro out of Porto and skip the suburban and industrial zone walk. It’s also written in several books that this is done frequently.

Once I got of metro line C at Forum Gaia I had to find my way to the Camino. 1 other positive thing is, I will not follow the wrong arrows, because from Porto you can follow 4 arrows. 1 Blue, leading to Fatima, so easy not to choose. But there are also 3 yellow markers, for 3 Camino’s going North. The Coastal, The Central and The ….. It’s connecting the Central with the Coastal, passing by the airport.

After 20 minutes of walking with Google maps, heading to a Albergue just north on the Camino, I already found a market and underneath it it was printed: The Central Portuguese…..

So now just follow these signs… And after just 20 minutes I saw a couple of pilgrims an the other side of the road, phoning. Later on I saw again 2 pilgrims walking and stopping at my stop, coffee break… They are from France and just started today…. Going to Vilarinho…..like me.

I take it slow today, really slow…My average is just 12.05 minutes p/km.

The sun seems to be more brutal, or is it just me…… Slowly walking makes my mind go walking different directions as well.

Just at noon I take a longer than usual lunch break, otherwise I will be to early at the albergue. Copplestones, old Romana roads….. You’ll feel every step you make…. At around 14.00 I arrive at the albergue, as the first visitor of the night. Later the 2 French ladies arrive, they booked the separated room. I sleep in the 5 beds dormitory and I think 3 of the beds are reserved, because they are prepared with sheets and so on……

After my shower I relax, relax, lazy day. Tomorrow is a day of 30km.

So for now and so early, goodbye.

 

Po.12. São João…..- Vila Nova de Gaia (Porto)

Thursday May 19, my 8th day this year and 12th day in total of the Caminho Portuguese from Lisboa. Of the 611 km to Santiago, today after arriving at my hostel Sandeman, 248 km will remain….. So it’s already 363 km of Portuguese concrete gravel, sand and so on behind me, still some 130 km of Portuguese road ahead of me and 118 km of Spanish road.

This morning breakfast at 7, so I started really late 07.30. It’s the latest until now, but tomorrow it will be even later…. Because breakfast is at 08.00 in the hostel.

How was it today? Beautiful weather, sun sun and 🌞☀️🌞. The temperature went up up and up. I didn’t see a lot of pilgrims today, maybe 6, but also some on bikes, more than the walking pilgrims. And maybe also 6 pilgrims going to Fatima.

And today the road went up and down and…… I keep repeating my self each day.

When walking through the small villages I often wonder who will be living in those new houses. You’ll see old and very old houses, but also newer and not finished build houses. In those villages you mostly see older people, but very few younger people. Maybe they are working in the city….? And all newer houses have the blinds down…..

I had 2 breaks today and was late at the hostel 15.15. I walked 34 km today, and the last hour in the suburbs of Porto. The hostel is at the river Douro and on the other river side is Porto.

After my bath I walked to Se Cathedral to get my stamp of Porto, looked for a lavandaria to wash again my clothes. Every other day is washing day. During my walk in Porto, it was crowded with tourist, and maybe also with pilgrims 😁😆.

I stop this journal….. Tomorrow another 1…..

 

Po.11. Albergaria -Sao João da Madeira

Today, when I am at my next stop it is 338,5 km from Lisboa, and only 276,2 km to Santiago de Compostela. So either yesterday or today I crossed the halfway marker.

I was again up early this night, had to go to the bathroom and it was a restless night as well. The Italian bikers were also a bit loud.

The morning rituals I do not write again, but 1 thing is really different than all other days before: it’s drizzling outside. The kind of drizzling that needs a poncho or not…… I take out the poncho and use it until my lunch break. But what use is a poncho when you sweet like me under it and you are wet as without using a poncho…..

Due to this weather the sights are less and less far. The making of video will also be limited.

Since the evening in Coimbra I haven’t seen Fred from Norway….. And this wasn’t a good Caminho if I would not see him again….. At my lunch place he was sitting inside…… How coincidence, he walked the other day more than 45 km. The day I walked only +25 km.

He has also a room in the town were I will stop…. So you never know…..

Just at 14.15 I arrive at my overnight stay and do the usual things. In the evening I eat at a Wok-restaurant, just behind where I sleep. Tomorrow I will arrive at the border of Porto. So 12 days from Lisbon to Porto.

I won’t be the tourist in Porto because I have already been there 4 years ago. Now I will be a pilgrim.

 

Po.10. Sernadelo – Albergaria-a-Velha

Today I write again in my almost not perfect English. I wake up this night at 04.30 to go to the toilet, went back and tried to sleep more. A bit difficult because it seems that my hours asleep are the same as at home. But here I sleep earlier which means I wake up also earlier. Even after a long walk…..

I start walking at a quarter to 7. And I don’t know yet where I will stop today. When following the books and Gronze it will be again a short day, but I already decided to walk longer, how much I don’t know yet.

The sky is blue with white and some darker clouds, the temperature is ok. So walking, walking and the train starts to leave the station….

I get a rhythm like a Diesel locomotive, it’s going on and on and on. I pass some other pilgrims, new pilgrims and familiar pilgrims. At 9.30 I stop to buy some water and a lemonade, a bit further 2 paô Bico to eat during my walk. I haven’t seen any walking pilgrims anymore, but several on bics.

The weather stays good. Warm and cooler and warm, it is not as hot as yesterday.

At noon I arrive in a village where I could stay for the night, just walked 26k….. but it’s still early…. I take a lunch at a cafeteria and go on, the next place to have a overnight is 12k ahead, 2,5 hours of walk, just ok with me, I still feel good.

Half way this last stretch I see also an albergue….. but this is just a very very small village, I will walk on.

In Albergaria-a-Velha is an albergue at the center of the village, I will stay there for overnight, my real first night in a dormitory, a room for 7 and you’ll need to use your sleeping bag…… The first time… Lucky I am the first in this room so I can choose my bed, near the window with side table and socket.

First phone home, then take a shower, do the laundry (lavandaria). Just waiting now for the wash to finish, then in the dryer, some shopping for tomorrow, go back to the albergue and wait to go to the restaurant for a small diner. Albergue closes at 20.00 so I have to be on time back……

 

Po.09. Coimbra – Sernadelo

This time I write in English and not Dutch. The previous days I wrote in Dutch and let Google translate it to English. The reason so many people wrote me about my poor English..😉

My fifth day this year on the Caminho and 9th on the Portugese in total. Leaving a big city and moving on to the last big city in Portugal, Porto, but that one is still ahead.

Just left the overnight stay at 7.15 this morning because it’s going to be a short day, only 25 km.

According to what I have read the stretch would be long. And when you follow the most guides they make a stop here.

It looked cloudy this morning and the forecast was rain in the morning, that was what I read yesterday. Today the forecast is rain after 13.00.

In the first Street I already see a pilgrim and walking out of Coimbra 2 more. Later on I meet a group of Americans, some with and some without backpacks.

At my first stop I meet the 4 from Verona again. When I pick up my trail I meet a man from Rotterdam who’s walking his 5th Camino. After a second break a walk a bit with a Frenchman who walks pretty quick.

I arrive at just 10 past 12 at the albergue, a bit early. I get my room and have a short break. Lunch at the restaurant and take a shower. Water from the Mercado as well as some food for breakfast. In the evening I just have a small diner, make my report and go to sleep. Tomorrow another new day.