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.

 

Po.08. Rabaçal – Coimbra

Today I woke up early by noises in the albergue. It was half past 5, still a while dosing and then got up anyway. Around 6.30 started out of stage four, actually number 8 ….

 

There are already pilgrims and there are also still in the albergue, but now one less. I’m the thread where I left off yesterday and walking again so the Caminho to continue to walk on gravel again after a piece of asphalt. Now there are also some more vines along the way in the field.

 

The road to some small villages and after a half hour I see already the first pilgrim, Korea is walking again in front. Will she find her purpose at Camino what she is looking for?

 

It still goes back tough up and down. The hill to Coînimbra is spicy. There is mentioned along the way that you can get a stamp at the ticket office … .. But then I have to wait at least one hour until to 10 o’clock.

 

It gets busy here there is a trailrun which will start at 9am. So I walk on otherwise I might run with them .. In a cafeteria take coffee, sweets and water. Here I talk with the four men from Verona, they each speak a dialect, 2 can speak a little bit English.

 

Not too long I must continue on to the next stop. The sky shows dark clouds and sometimes white … .. Does it dry or is there still some showers.

 

Fortunately it remains dry, only later in Coimbra I feel a few drops. The road continues alternating, asphalt, gravel, rock and mountain. Around 11 pm I am back for a drink, help the local cafeteria. The man who served me also speaks three words Dutch: Well thank you.

 

If I continue going to get the two young German women inside that I already had seen earlier today and yesterday in the albergue.

 

I follow my path again, it will now continue to Coimbra with a steep slope there, according to the maps. It is a descent because we have to cross a river. Yes we are, I walk back with Fred, the last half hour we are together again. As we cross the bridge he needs right at the end and I left.

 

Bye for now …. We do not know when we’ll meet again. He has no idea where it stops tomorrow, I do not. But I feel like number one can so keep in touch.

 

The room I reserved have been run in a guest house in an old building by older couple. Nothing fancy, but old but clean. Later explored the city and in the evening Italian.

 

Tomorrow at 7 am on the road, it is only 25 km.

Po.07. Alvaiazere – Rabaçal

And again there is a new day … .. We have again completed a stage. Why everytime we, it’s me … .. I am now in  Rabaçal. Tomorrow the road to Coimbra, going less then 30+ kilometers … .. Today I awoke again at 6 am and already left after 30 minutes, so at half past seven.

 

The morning walk until my first stop was little uphill and downhill. And the first pilgrims I met, walked to Fatima. Later today I heard that there are now 1.5 million pilgrims in Fatima.

 

At the first stop, after about an hour, coffee taken with something tasty and paid of course.

 

Then continue and saw the woman from Korea again. A bit further on a mother and daughter from the Netherlands. They take it easy they have all the time and just want to walk around 15 kilometers per day.

 

The afternoon stop was a small lunch eaten with lots of drink and water bottles. The last part is about 10 kilometers and basically no ability to get anything.

 

The last piece again on and off nobody’s seen. But the route was ok and mainly went on paths with some asphalt roads. And today also the first Portuguese windmill spotted, unfortunately not running.

 

In the albergue are many people from Germany, Norway, USA, Spain, Korea, Portugal and do not forget: Netherlands ……

 

Later still a pilgrim menu and my vlog …. The internet seems to be quickly enough. My blog about yesterday I had this morning already at my first stop uploaded …… …….

Po.06. Tomar – Alvaiazere

Hello today it’s Friday the thirteenth and this morning I got up again at 6 o’clock and after the ritual of getting up at 7 o’clock I started my second walking day. Today a trip of more than 30 kilometers is on the program and it should be more beautiful than yesterday’s I was told. After a few hundred meters I saw the Korean woman again walking a little slower than I was walking, which meant that at some point we walked together again and that was along a river on a narrow path. At one point that narrow path turned into quite a steep slope that we had to climb and after a few hundred meters she gave up because it was the style for her and she wanted to continue at her own pace. So I continued on my own and it was already a sunny day early in the morning, so the temperature is rising faster than yesterday. But after 2 slopes, at a certain point two women walked in front of me, a larger and smaller one, the latter from Venezuela and the first from the Netherlands from Brabant, Tilburg to be precise. After a very short hello I kept my pace and walked on and after about 11 kilometers I made a stop for a drink at a small cafeteria. At one point, the two ladies also sat down to have a drink and saw the woman from Korea continue walking, got up after drinking and picked up the thread again by continuing on the Camino. The temperature went up quite quickly and the roads were up and down and up and down until at a certain moment I saw the Korean in front of me again at an information board where you could choose from left and right. To the left was two steep slopes with in between a descent to the right was 700 meters longer but a gradual ascent. I chose the left-hand variant and the Korean followed me, but at some point had to drop out again. The road was quite steep and the temperature was actually quite high. At one point I looked at the app to see if I was still on the route but it said that I had seen a sign wrong so I walk back and look, I followed the signs correctly, only the app is still outdated and is the old route in the app and not the new one. I chose the old route here. You could see from the route that you were not walked much anymore. At a certain point you walked back on the route where the new route also ends. You walked a lot on asphalt and the sun made sure that the heat also came from below and 4 Spaniards walked in front of me. I stopped at the second-to-last albergue and had lunch. It was a late lunch well after 1 o’clock, a salad with a lot of drink, luckily I was also able to refill my water bottle for the last hour and a half. Fred was also resting in the albergue, Fred is the man from Norway, he left earlier, but we would meet again in the albergue at the place to stay. In the place where I would spend the night there was also a small detour of the Camino because the road had been shifted. Fortunately I was able to follow the signs on the road to the albergue and I arrived there at 3:20 am. After registering, I did a little bit of shopping through the village. My laundry was dropped off at the laundromat, yes, which I was then able to pick up clean and dry at 6:30 AM. I share the room with an elderly man from Italy I also had dinner tonight with sweetie at a restaurant around the corner for now thanks for reading and see you later.

Po.05. Golegã – Tomar

Started today just after 07 o’clock in Golegã. There were some clouds in the distance and I thought I could feel a single drop, but it stayed dry all day. At the first cafeteria I drank a large coffee, I had already had breakfast in the Inn. The man behind the bar spoke German, he had worked in Dortmund for several years. After coffee, continue looking for the Camino. Once on the route it would go almost without any problems this day. A country road interspersed with asphalt roads. Wooded area and farmland. Eucalyptus forest, hills with false flat and steep slopes. I walked alone all morning and I don’t mind. Had a break around 11 am, more than 19 km away from the starting point. In a cafeteria 1 can of soda, 1 bottle of cold water and 1 ham sandwich. At another table was also a pilgrim. A nod was enough now. He also left before me. After the break it would still be 11 km to Tomar. After an hour I saw him walking again and looking at his smartphone and basically walking around in circles. I also grabbed my smartphone. After 1 minute we had found the path that we had to take. We then walked together until Tomar, a Norwegian and a Dutch. And during our walk we discussed all world problems, but unfortunately no solutions were found. Just before Tomar he asked if I already had a place to sleep, no I would check if I was in Tomar….. wrong…. Everything would be full because of many Portuguese pilgrims walking to Fatima tomorrow. The first big day since the corona measures started. It was no longer possible to book anything through sites. At the first albergue I knocked on, there was only a private bedroom with shower/toilet available, which I immediately grabbed. On my later round through Tomar, I saw at many b&b and albergues that they were full. So, eat later and then sleep again. And yes I have already arranged a place to sleep for tomorrow in an albergue, again 30 km away, I mean walking. walk-eat-sleep-repeat…..

Po.4a. Restarting Caminho Portuguese

This morning I was taken to the station by Maricon. Then I went by train to Eindhoven, then by bus to the airport and then flew to Lisbon. And in Lisbon I went first by metro and then by train to Riachos, near the starting point of my restart of the Caminho Portuguese. Walked from the station to Golegã where I reserved a bed, after freshening up I checked if there was something to eat but the restaurant that was recommended was closed so I did some shopping and made food myself. I’m not the only one in the Inn, in another room is a woman from Korea…… A deja vu of the highest order. 4 years ago there was also a pilgrim from Korea, I met her at the end of my 1st hiking day. Tomorrow start on time with walking, on to Tomar.

 

 

Po.57. Padron – Santiago de Compostela

After a stormy night we woke up earlier than usual. We want to start before 8 because it’s going to be a long walk today. We do the normal morning rituals and are before 8 outside our windy hostel. The wind came out the electric sockets….😭

Outside they were putting up the Sunday market….. It was still dark….. But we could see the arrows and directions. And other pilgrims walking…. It’s a little bit cold, damp and foggy, but we had no difficulty finding our way.

Starting in the dark means seeing the sunlight coming up, the beautiful colours it makes in the sky, especially with foggy mist clouds hanging low. The forecast for this day was rain, every hour had more than 50% chance of rain…. But we were lucky so far.

Just before 10 we past by a church which is also a place pilgrims go to.  In a Escravitude is a Maria shrine Sta. Maria de Cruces, we saw pilgrims walking towards us to attend mass. We visited the church and went on with our walk, uphill, and down and up. Lucky us, still no rain.

At the church and a bit later we saw the Dutch and Belgium friends for the last time, when we had our Coffee break. The walk went on, still more than 15k to go.

We passen by a dogshelter,  walked uphill through a forrest and down through a village. And we started the last long climb of the day.  We met an Italian couple, who also visited the Philippines once.

In Opcion we had a lunch, the roof of our camino, the highend point. From here it’s  just 7,8 k to the Cathedral. Going downhill…… And i forgot to mentionthat we had a small rainshower…..After 3 corners we could see Santiago de Compostela and the 3 towers of the church.

We thought it woud only go down, but we still had to conquer a few steep climbs. We walked along a small hill and enteren Santiago.  We entered through the suburbs.  It was still 1,5 k until our destination.

When we reached the old town part is was crowded with People. Sunday around 14.45 People having fun….. And we reached the square, from the right side of the Cathedral.  A lot of pilgrims we celebrating their achievements, as we were.

After maling some photo’s, we went inside the cathedral. We walked around but could not visit the grave. After we asked how, we had to go outside and look for the Holy Doors. Through those we were able to pass by the grave of Saint James the Major.

Now up to the pilgrims Office to register and receive our certificate,  the Credential. We had to fill in a digital form, get a number and wait…… Within the hour we received the credential and we could go to our hostal.

After a rest and shower we went out to eat….. As 3 years ago we now also ordered a seafood platter, 6 different seafood items and potatoes,  enough for 3 or 4 persons. After this early diner we bought some souvenirs and went back to the Cathedral to attend the 19.30 mass.

Arriveer at the church we had to fall in line, a very long line….. we stood there for more than 45 minutes.  Just before the mass started we heard it was full, the maximum capacity was reached. A lot of People were not able to go in. Next mass, tomorrow morning 07.30.

When waiting in line we saw the Italian couple again and we went 2 People from the Philippines. We visited the grave one more time and went back to our hostal for the usual thans.