Back to The Munros…and – Target for tomorrow.
Many years ago, I set myself the challenge of climbing all the 284 Munros (summits – not all the outlying tops as well). I even said”..before the Millenium”. Well, life has a habit of laughing at our plans.
Now – over 19 years after my last Munro in April 1997 (An Socach with my beloved dog, Sam), I ‘try’ to restart my goal.

The target for tomorrow is Ben More and Stob Binnein. 

Wish me luck…ūüá¨ūüáßūüá¨ūüáßūüá¨ūüáßūüá¨ūüáß

Camino Portugu√™s 2016 – Summary and GPX

It is over, and I can now start to draw my conclusions.  Shelley and I travelled to Fisterra where Рlast year Рthe mist was so thick that we could not see a thing.  This year we got to see the famous boot beneath the lighthouse.

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We also went to find the Pilgrim Stautue that we could not see last year.  It is on Monte de Gozo, but about 0.75km off-route.  Anyway Рthat mystery has been cleared.

img_0549Now to the Camino itself.

The Camino Português is about 75% of the length of the Camino Francés.  It does not have the high scenery found in the Pyrenees, nor the Montes de León.  It does have some beautiful countryside, especially between Alvaiazere and Coimbra and between Barcelos and Caldas de Rei.  It also has a LOT of roads.  I do not feel that I walked for such a large percentage of my time on roads, as I did through Portugal, and never sharing the same route as the main truck transportation route.

The parts I did not enjoy were those where I felt I was walking along the main trunk roads of Portugal for hour-after-hour.  The N10, N110 for example have relentless streams of big trucks passing just a couple of metres away form the walker.  In the stretch from Lisbon to Porto, there seem to be many such sections as that, and it was a common concern from those pilgrims that I met.  That may be one reason that only 3.5% of pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela are finishing the Camino Portuguese.  Of the 262,516 pilgrims who arrived in Santiago in 2015, only 2,059 (0.78%) had started in Lisbon.  For such a well publicised route, this figure is remarkably low.

Would I walk the Camino Francés again?  Definitely.

Would I do the Camino Portuguese again?  Possibly.

The route has the potential to attract many more pilgrims.   The wonderful Portuguese people that I met (with the exception of a few drivers Рroad speeds are high and they make little allowance for pedestrians on the road) were welcoming, although many had little appreciation of the Camino de Santiago.  I tend to think that Portugal itself needs to understand the significance of its countryside, its footpaths and its potential on the routes to Santiago.  The Portuguese government departments for the environment could organise a study, then perhaps make some amendments to the route to allow for safer, or at least, less stressful footpaths to be opened to the Caminos.  With more pilgrims comes the opportunity for more businesses in hospitality and catering to benefit.  It would РI am certain Рbenefit the villages and towns along the route.

 

I have contracted the ‘Camino Bug’. ¬†From now until I am too infirm and decrepit to walk, I shall find my way to a pilgrimage route at least once each year. ¬†Next year – the Via de la Plata from Seville. ¬†I already have our flights booked for two days after the Farndale Show.

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Herewith a summary of my route and the distances.  I followed the arrows as much as possible, but in some places had to deviate.  If anyone wishes to have my GPX files, I am happy to send them.  Simply send an email to sandsnelson@gmail.com

 

Stage

Country

 KM

Lisbon Portugal
Sacavém Portugal  14.2
Vilafranca de Xira Portugal  30.1
Azambajul Portugal  19.3
Santarem Portugal  34.0
Golega Portugal  31.2
Tomar Portugal  32.0
Alviáiazere Portugal  31.2
Ansião Portugal  14.5
Condeixa-a-Nova Portugal  31.1
Coimbra Portugal  17.2
Mealhada Portugal  25.2
Mourisca do Vouga Portugal  28.0
Albergaria-a-Velha Portugal  14.8
Oliveira de Azeirmires Portugal  19.3
Santa Maria de Feira Portugal  16.4
Porto (Cathedral) Portugal  28.1
Gião Portugal  23.2
Barcelos Portugal  32.2
Lugar de Sobreiro Portugal  28.2
Ponte de Lima Portugal  6.9
Casa de Capela Portugal  21.5
Abelos Spain  21.4
Cesantes Spain  30.5
Pontevedra Spain  14.9
Caldas de Rei Spain  22.4
Padrón Spain  18.2
Santiago de Compostela Spain  26.6
TOTAL    632.6

 

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Camino Portugu√™s – Day 27 – Padr√≥n to Santiago de Compostela

Starting the Journey is good…

Getting to the end of the Journey is great….

The Journey itself is The Greatest thing of all…

13 Sept 2016

33,949 steps / 26.42 km
Well folks – it is done.

I have walked every step of the way from Lisbon Cathedral to Santiago de Compostela, which according to my pedometer came to 718,752 steps in total.

I shall send out one more post tomorrow, which will be recap of the whole route. This post is just about today.
Today the forecast called for rain – a lot of it. The heavens opened during the night. The sky was a display of lightening and thunder throughout the night.

When we woke up, we took one look outside and decided to keep ‘gentlemens hours’. We turned over and consoled each other that it was the last day.

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Dressed and ready for the rain, on stepping outside – in that very second – the rain stopped.

Not even one drop.

It stayed like that the whole day. The finish was in bright, hot sunshine.

I am not one given to believing in personal miracles, but for us, we can honestly say that we had a totally dry Camino from Porto when the forecast said we should have soaked.
The way follows the now familiar N550, but cleverly stays just off the main road for most of its course.  Pilgrim and farmer art advances alongside the pilgrim as they enter Santiago.

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img_0541The villages rolled by, including one called ‘A Escravitude’ in Galego, which means quite simply Slavery. I shall do some post-Camino research on that.

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More little villages followed with some of the tightest lanes. Across some vines had been grown, and in one case a house extended over the Camino.


The skies brightened, and it was hot when the outskirts of Santiago were reached. The countdown markers stopped counting down at around 5km to go. The arrows too became difficult in the city, so I wandered off route somewhat.

The new streets of Santiago can be confusing. Tantalising glimpses of the Cathedral kept me more or less on course.

img_0543At 14:00 precisely, we reached the Cathedral. The square in front of the Cathedral was full of groups of Pilgrims hugging each other, crying, laughing or some just kneeling in prayer at having completed their own pilgrimage. Most had walked the Camino Francés in greater or lesser part.

I had missed the noon ‘Pilgrims’ Mass’, so the evening mass will be my goal.

I stood in the line for the next hour to receive my Compostela. For me, this is always slightly emotional. Shelley chose not to request one this time.
And so – it is over – for this year…
There will be a recap post – hopefully tomorrow. For now, I want to get clothes washed and sleep, knowing that we do not have to walk anywhere tomorrow…

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Camino Portugu√™s – Day 26 – Caldas de Rei to Padr√≥n

In the footsteps of St. James

12 Sept 2016
28,594 steps / 24.37 km
Caldas de Rei is a quaint, old, little town which was setting up for its market day as we walked through the centre.

Today was our first day without the hot, beating sun. The clouds came over during the night and stayed for the whole of the day.

The route – still following Via Romana XIX – was never far from the new N550 main road.

img_0470The distance to Santiago was reducing on the signposts at each intersection of the two.
We meet many pilgrims each day now. The numbers increased markedly at Porto (I met almost none prior to Porto), and have increased in number each day. The largest increase came at Tui, which marks 100km from Santiago, and the minimum distance for a pilgrim on foot to successfully claim their Compostela.

Most pilgrims we meet now are Germans and Spanish. A few French. No British except ourselves.

There is little to be said about the route today. Pleasant woodland walking for the most part on good tracks, many still displaying the original Roman stonework.

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We reached Padrón shortly after lunch.

After checking in to the Albergue Flavia, I made my own special pilgrimage to Monte Santiagui√Īo. According to history, this is the site where St James, the apostle of Christ, first came ashore to pass on to the people of Iberia, the teachings of Jesus. There is a convent at the foot of the path which houses various artefacts and relics commemorating the event, but which was closed. Nevertheless I found the path and climbed to the rocky outcrop which commemorates that first gathering. There I left some small artefacts, stones, shells and notes from those who have asked me. Some I have carried from New Zealand. Almost all have been in my pack since Lisbon. One was given to me by someone who has since died.
A couple of American pilgrims took my photo, and a group of German pilgrims came downhill with me. Great fun to talk with. Having paid my respects, I returned to the Albergue.

img_0499img_0484img_0495img_0493The washing done, Shelley and I decanted to the bar and later enjoyed our evening meal together – the last on the Camino as tomorrow is our last day. Only 24km from here to Santiago and journey’s end – and the forecast is for RAIN (and a lot of it).

Camino Portugu√™s – Day 25 – Pontevedra to Caldas de Rei

Still following the Romans…

11 Sept 2016
25,237 steps / 22.31 km

First – this day is the 15th anniversary of one of the worst atrocities of our modern world, and I for one respect the memory of those who lost their lives and loved ones that day.
Our day began a wee bit later than usual, for no other reason than laziness. We thought “let’s stop for breakfast/coffee en route“. Who would have thought that all the way through Pontevedra, its suburbs and in fact for 12km, nowhere was open along the Camino…?

The town of Pontevedra has a beautiful old bridge, which reflects it association with the Camino as you will see in the photo.

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Some of you may recall we encountered the Via Romana XIX some days before we left Portugal. We are still following it. The Romans paved hundreds of kilometres of road over 2,000 years ago, and they have been adopted into modern roads, or else the remains still provide farm and country roads. I feel that I have been following the Roman roads ever since Lisbon (which, logically, is probably the case).

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Today was a warm, quiet day walking through the beautiful hills and countryside of Galicia.

img_0467Autumn is on its way and the cobwebs are now silver with morning dew as we set off…


We are staying in a pensión by the river at Caldas de Rei. Lovely setting.

img_0461Tomorrow is the penultimate day, and a very special one. I have been faithfully carrying shells, prayers and other items for people every step of the way from Lisbon. When we reach Padr√≥n, I shall walk to Mount Santiagui√Īo, where it is believed that St James first preached to the people of Iberia. It is a place of much significance, and I shall pay my respects there, and remember all my friends and family – past and present – and leave those tokens and messages (discreetly, of course).

Camino Portugu√™s – Day 24 – Cesantes to Pontevedra

Quaint towns and good companions

10 Sept 2016

17,498 steps / 15.83 km
Knowing today would be relatively short, we let the sun get moving before we did the same.

During the night we could see the glow of forest fires in the distance. Only smoke remained by morning – thank goodness. The late summer has been so unseasonably hot and dry that the forests have been like tinderboxes. We have passed many areas where the pines and eucalyptus have been burned, although not always over huge areas. As I write this, over 105,000 hectares are ablaze in Portugal and 25,000 hectares in Spain.

For the eucalyptus farms, it is an immense blow after perhaps 10 years of growth.


The N550 provided the route for the first few kilometres into O Vao with its beautiful Roman bridge and incredibly quaint centre.


Once again a steep climb along forest tracks followed. An enterprising young man was selling water at the top of the hill, and let us know about a diversion avoiding the building works along the official route. We met Martin from Cape Town. Wonderful guy who was full of life and stories from his home in Stellenbosch.

We reached the Capilla de Santa Marta and took the diversion, and in doing so we met with two of Martin’s walking companions from Italy. Manuel is one of those people who have never met a stranger. Instantly likeable. A pilot in the Air Force, he was walking with his sister, an artist from Venice. The end of our diversion was a long tunnel which brought us into the town of Pontevedra.

When we parted company in Pontevedra, it was like saying goodbye to old friends. The Camino can do that. It can – sadly – do the opposite too as we found just minutes later at check-in. A woman was trying to check-in, but had – as it transpired – booked for the previous night. When I spoke Spanish to the worried young receptionist to help ease the situation, I was accused of ‘…getting special treatment..’ because I spoke Spanish. I carried on and we sorted out the problem. The lady did not have anything more to pay, and the receptionist – who was worried about the woman’s further bookings (in case they were wrong too) was relieved. The American woman, somewhat begrudgingly I felt, gave me a ‘Thank you’ at the end. Confrontation in life is inevitable sometimes, but why do some people make it their starting point. We met her again later and helped her to get directions to the old town. She seemed a bit Mor human the second time around.

The ‘Old Town’ of Pontevedra is a great accumulation of various ‘plazas’. Around 8pm, like many Spanish cities, the bars, restaurants and street theatre starts to come alive. Street clowns set up and the kids adored their antics. This love of life in these lovely old city centres is one of my abiding memories of my Caminos in Spain.
A very forgettable meal followed – and that is all I shall say on that score.
No planned accommodation for tomorrow night. Let’s see where we end the day….

Camino Portugu√™s – Day 23 – Guillarei (Tui) to Cesantes

Passing tragedy to reach bliss.
09 Sept 2016

39,451 steps / 33.97 km


The Hotel Alfonso I is a good hotel. The manager, Esther, has walked the camino and keeps photos of her pilgrims. She is a consummate professional.

It is off Camino, so I had to improvise our route to get back onto it. We had been told about accidents along The Way involving pilgrims, so I used my discretion. After a few kilometres of the main N550, I chose my own option of walking through a business park. Not pretty but wide sidewalks. No dodging the traffic.

As we entered O Porri√Īo at around 9:00am, we saw the trains passing by at high speed. Our route followed the railway line. Just a few minutes later, we heard the sirens as the emergency services sprang to life. The sky filled with yellow helicopters. A tragedy was unfolding. We were close to it, and the gathering crowds and ambulances showed the tragedy was on the train line. A train had derailed at high speed. There were clearly injured people walking and – as we later found out – some dead.


The police reacted well. Helicopters were landing on the road and traffic was being diverted. We were allowed through but shown the route we must take. Traffic ground to a halt.

A few kilometres further on we met a father and daughter from Barcelona. She was about to start teaching English, and was happy to practice her skills on a couple of native English speakers. We walked and talked together for a few kilometres before we needed to stop for lunch as we still had a long haul ahead as my plan was to eat paella (here in Galicia often called Arroz con Marisco).

We stopped at the Tapéria Flora in Mós. Good simple food, when served by someone as alive and as naughtily humourous as Flora, becomes great food.
After an all too brief stop, we were back onto the long climb over the hill and it seemed to take ages to reach Redondela. Like so many Spanish towns, it has extremely average outskirts, guarding a gem of a centre. Here was where we had to briefly leave the yellow arrows as we had booked into the Hostal Santo Apostolo just north of Cesantes.


The room looked out over the beautiful sea inlet. It was like a Highland sea loch – only warmer. The staff are welcoming and the owner is Pepe who is a warm, ‘larger-than-life’ person.

The true highlight of the day was the restaurant and the food. Their ‘Arroz de Marisco’ (rice with seafood cannot begin to describe it) was heaven in a pan. My tastebuds will love me forever.

Pepe came to join us and in a mix of Spanish, Galego, Portuguese and English he told us the history of the area which he told us espouses Christopher Columbus and his ships (with different names in Galego compared to the Spanish names we learned in school), as well as the first kingdom of Europe. He had wanted to build a memorable restaurant with rooms rather than a hotel. He has succeeded.

We enjoyed a lot of local wine and local liqueurs as the talk flowed. A wonderful pilgrim experience that I can recommend to any who follow us.

Bliss.

Camino Portugu√™s – Day 22 – Pecene to Guillarei (Tui)

Across The Rio Minho
08 Sept 2016
29, 322 steps / 24.89 km
We left Portugal today and entered Spain.

Our stay in Casa da Capela started with breakfast, and what was for me the unseemly behaviour of some older Spanish pilgrims. They are a group of three, probably in their 60’s who have never been friendly to other pilgrims. In shops and bars one of them will always interrupt – always in Spanish. This morning our breakfast had been left out for us. A large bowl of fruit and another of pastries was there when I came down earlier to collect our washing from the drying area.When I came down to eat a little later, each bowl was disappearing into their bags. They had also found an ‘honesty’ box of chocolate bars. That too they ransacked. They were not carrying their bags as two friends were following them with a car and that is where their now full bags went.
They were quickly away, leaving ourselves and a couple from Northern Ireland to what remained.

One should not judge, should one….?


Today was a nice stroll downhill towards Valen√ßa. The route wove it’s straight way through the suburbs along the same Roman Road route – Via Romana XIX.
In one village, Shelley had picked up a canine admirer, who would not leave her. It was getting dangerous following us along the roads going out of the village, so I had to be the ‘bad guy’ and scare it away and back to its home.

Valen√ßa has a huge ‘Fortaleza’ on its summit hill which contains a small but charming village full of linen shops, tourist shops, bars and restaurants. The fort overlooks the Rio Minho and the sheer vastness of its walls and the area it contains is incredible.
Down to the double-decker bridge (train on top, road and pedestrians below), and we walked out of Valença and into Tui. We stepped forward in time one hour, and into Рsiesta. Everything was closed at 2pm.
Whereas Valença is a bright and vibrant tourist-oriented town, Tui is simply a town which had no real attraction. Nice church on the hill in the centre, but that is all.
We found a lot of the familiar arrows. Their route along a new road created in the building of the motorway however took us away from our route towards where we are staying. We tried to navigate through forest paths, but a broken bridge over a deep, muddy stream stopped us. There was nothing for it but to retrace our steps, with motorists stopping to tell us we were on the wrong path.

Eventually we reached the Alfonso I hotel. Nice place, but no longer on the direct Camino path. The village of Guillarei proudly displays its Camino symbols, but it now requires a diversion.

I shall have to navigate my route carefully tomorrow.

Camino Portugu√™s – Day 21 – Ponte de Lima to Pecene (Casa da Capela)

A perfect day and a perfect stay

07 Sept 2016

28, 166 steps / 24.58 km

Honestly – days on the Camino – any Camino – do not come better than this.


We set out from Ponte de Lima as the sun was rising. That is a theoretical point as the mist was so thick that an object 93 metres away was invisible, and the Sun had 93 million miles to combat.

I cannot compliment too highly Ponte de Lima. We found it lovely.

The route out was gentle at first, but gradually became serious. Thankfully, the sun was hiding as we made our way to Arco.

There is a great little bar there where we had café-con-leite and a chocolate eclair, before starting on the serious part of the day.

The path over Labrujo is very steep and rocky. It takes you through delightful mountain scenery. The views are great. It was a pleasure just to be alive in such a place.

The path was really steep in places and I saw people on bikes struggle to the summit. In the weather we had, it was a delight. In rain, the fine powder soil would make for very slippery mud. I will say – I LOVE my poles. They are the modern scientific approach to using ‘all-fours’. (Note – Black Diamond Z poles – magic! Other makes are available).


We met a group of American girls from (as is usual on Caminos) the US North-West. Great fun to talk/walk with.

Strangely, plastic bags adorned the pines here. Someone was collecting the pine sap. I am not sure why, but I shall Google it later. The sap must be sweet because hundreds of flies had met their demise in the bags.


Over the summit to The Roulote Bar just short of Rubiäes and just 5km from our accommodation at the wonderful Casa da Capela
Before we arrived, we walked along the ‘Via Romana XIX’. This narrow path had been laid by Romans over 2,000 years ago to connect Ponte de Lima to Astorga in Spain. The stones had been carefully laid and a truly ancient bridge built. As I sat on the top of ghentidge looking at the trout in the river below, I could not help but wonder about how many other ‘bottoms’ had sat on that very shone over the last two millennia. The mind gets boggled so easily…


I can wholeheartedly recommend Casa da Capela. The staff are as delicious as their wines and their evening meals. Clothes washed, bodies showered clean, comfortable rooms – BLISS!

This is our last night in Portugal as tomorrow we shall stay in Spain, in Tui.

I have had my best day in Portugal today. I shall miss it, and especially the people and the language (which I massacre on a daily basis). I shall not miss the road walking between Lisbon and Porto, but all that gets forgotten in a place as lovely as Casa da Capela.
Only the good memories linger on…


Camino Portugu√™s – Day – 20 – Lugar de Sobreiras to Ponte de Lima

An enjoyable ramble.

06 Sept 2016
12,773steps / 10.67km

Last night, faced with a forecast high of 38¬įC. I decided to change the pace. I therefore moved all of our booking back one day, and found a cute little place here in beautiful Ponte de Lima.
The result was a blissfully easy stroll, after a leisurely breakfast.

 The heat of the day was avoided as we enjoyed tuna salad for lunch – in the shade. The forecast was not wrong, as we saw 37¬įC, and then we saw a pharmacist’s sign showing 40¬įC. Hot,hot, hot.

Tomorrow will see a high of just 28¬įC, which is a lot safer as we head into the hills.


We stayed at a farm/guest house last night, which was run by a nice young couple. The lady who runs it is a hard working young mum who tried very hard to make us feel comfortable. Sadly it has been the poorest value for money on the Camino to date. No air con, no washing (a rock and a bar of soap by a washing pool), cash only, shower falling apart, a swimming pool yes – but green with algae, no food available so factor in 25‚ā¨ for the taxi to find some.

For the most expensive place to date, it was disappointing. It grieves me to sound so negative when the couple are trying so hard, but this is not a place I would recommend for Peregrinos. To be fair, the owner herself said that she does not like single bookings and really wants family/group rentals.


Tonight however is shear bliss in the Arc’otel in PdL.


Ponte de Lima is starting its 190th ‘Ferias Novas’ festival. The town is bedecked with bunting and various sideshows are being set up. It is all looking very colourful. If any of the stalls open tonight, I am tempted to try to win a big cuddly toy for Shelley. Failing that – she will simply have to ‘make do’ with me…

Camino Portugu√™s – Day – 19 – Barcelos to Lugar de Sobreiras

The HEAT is on….
05 Sept 2016
39,873 steps / 34.43 km
Barcelos really is a lovely little town. The market square is huge and we walked across it just after dawn. The ‘downtown’ streets were adorned for the weekend’s Saint’s day/ Festivities. 

Walking through the suburbs, I got the feeling that this is a reasonably opulent town. We have finally seen some cattle, but far from grazing loose, these were for bullfights and still fed on the maize of the area.


The route today followed tracks through the eucalyptus woods. Once these fields must have been part of wealthy estates, judging by the ornate ironwork gates,now left unloved to rust. A great pity and my ‘Ozymandias’ moment of the day.


There were no ‘pit-stops’ for at least 15 km. I was drinking more and more water, and trusting to the kindness of locals to top up our bottles. Most were kind to two thirsty pilgrims. We slowed in proportion to the rising temperature but managed to find a small caf√© in Balug√£es where they made sandwiches for us.


We passed a wonderful ‘swimming hole’ – a natural basin in the river. People cooling off from the sunshine in cool, clear water. A lovely place with people there – but not one hint of commercialisation. Great for such a natural place, but a pity for us as a cool drink would have been very welcome.
Meanwhile, the temperature continued to rise. A thermometer showed 35¬įC at 12:30 with the hottest still to come.


On the path north from Balug√£es there are some drinking water taps. We were desperately trying to conserve our water so tried these. On opening, most just hissed heated air, but gave no water. We would stop in any shade we could find to let our bodies cool even slightly. In this way, we reached our destination slowly, to Vitorino dos Pi√£es where we found a second caf√© and rested with cold Coca- Colas. Never has anything tasted soooooo good. We talked with a mother and daughter from Toronto who still had 12 km to walk. The mum looked shattered but she was determined to continue. We had ‘just’ 5km to walk to our accommodation at Quinta das Sobreiras, a lovely farm building. We reached there after a slow plod along the lanes. Shelley was truly suffering by the time we reached our stop for the night.
As tomorrow is forecast to be even hotter, with one of the steepest climbs of the whole Camino, I am going to change our plans. We shall make tomorrow a very short day, and stay in Ponte de Lima, just 7km further on. Shelley can rest and then be ready for the next day – again foreshortened.

Camino Portugu√™s – Day 18 – Gi√£o to Barcelos

…and LEGO have excelled themselves this time….
04 September 2016 
45,966 steps/37.4km


Wonderful, start to the day as the countryside had taken a shower in the dew. The dew was slowly rising as the sun started to warm the earth, giving an ethereal light .


We left Casa Mindela and started to follow the N306. The road is frankly dangerous. Although almost everyone wants to avoid hitting walkers, there are no sidewalks; there are high walls lining the road, and the road speeds are quite fast. Left hand bends are the worst. For the first 5km we were dodging the cars. One – complete with driver with mobile phone to his ear – came within millimetres. I was glad to reach Vilarinha where we could at least follow sidewalks. Shelley has commented on this difference with the Camino Franc√™s last year. As she says “On the CF you are rarely on roads. On the CP, you are rarely off roads”.

At Vilarinha, there is a Lego-like statue to a pilgrim. The resemblance to myself is uncanny.


A few kilometres after Vilarinha, the N306 has been rerouted leaving the Camino to follow quaint old roads over the beautiful old bridge route over the Rio Ave, and our first views emerged since leaving Porto. 

We turned off our old path onto the road and suddenly found ourselves in the midst of a small group from Scotland. They had followed the Coastal Route, so I am guessing that the two routes have now come together.

We parted company at our half-way point of Rates where Shelley and I had a sandwich for lunch. The temperature was rising. We now found ourselves on farm tracks. No cars to dodge now – just off-road quad bikes…

The heat of the day brought the temperature to over 30¬įC, and although there were trees, we had little shade.

We are seeing more pilgrims now. At the pilgrims’ Albergue/rest stop at Pedra Furada, we found a lot of them. Many were trying to stay there for the night to be able to stop and escape the heat. All beds had gone, so there was a brisk trade in taxis to take them the last 9km to Barcelos, and I think that was being very sensible.

Cooled and watered for the last stretch, it was thankfully mostly downhill on small side-roads, thus avoiding the main N306 traffic.

Barcelos is pretty town, especially as you walk over the bridge . A wide river with beaches and a castle ahead of you.


Tomorrow the weather forecast says that temperatures will be higher with parts of inland Portugal experiencing up to 43¬įC…!
As early a start as possible is called for