A Travellerspoint blog

Porto to Tui

a week in Portugal


Saturday 1st June

Met up with Simon and Michele at airport to catch the 5.50 Ryanair flight to Porto. Arrive 8.30 and take taxi ( €30) to our Guest House 31de Janeiro. Fairly basic accommodation - cheap and not particularly cheerful, chosen because of its proximity to the cathedral, the starting point of the walk. After checking in we headed out again for something to eat. Managed to lose my only sweater, the first of several possessions lost on route.

Sunday 2nd June

Although ready to leave by 8 am we had to wait for Tuitrans to pick up our luggage. As not there by 9 I phoned them and was assured that it was safe to go and they would collect the 2 Bags. Headed to Porto Cathedral to collect our Credencial Del Peregrino (pilgrims passport) and start the walk about 10am. There are several routes out of the city including the Caminho Costa(coastal route), Senda Litoral and Caminho Central. I had chosen the last one as it is busier, has more facilities and is a little shorter. However this first stage through Porto is mostly on city pavements, main roads or the traditional cobblestone lanes with granite sets which are hard underfoot and carry fast moving traffic. Not the most exciting walk as it consisted of walking through the suburbs, industrial complexes and further new housing on the outskirts. Passed through a couple of area including Patrao da Legua, Araujo, Moreira da Maia before reaching our destination Portfolio Residence on the very busy N13 in the village of Vilar do Pineiro. Pleasant accommodation after the previous nights experiencef. Not much option for evening meal. Only one of the 2 restaurants was open. No English spoken but we finished up sharing 3 of the only 4 options on the menu, Beef, Pork and seafood. All very tasty and felt like genuine home cooking.plus excellent Vinho Branco. We have all survived the first day with no blisters and bodies still intact?

Monday 3rd of June.

For the 2nd stage of the walk I wanted to walk about 20 k staying overnight in either Rates or Arcos. Unfortunately the accommodation was either too expensive, too basic or difficult to book. We walked as far as Rates 23k (probably 2 k further than necessary due to following the wrong signage) Rates seemed to be a good base for pilgrims but after a rewarding beer we took a taxi to the next reasonably sized town Barcelos about 15k further up the route where accommodation was plentiful. Our young taxi driver seemed to take a delight in pointing out the name Barcelos every time he passed a road sign. Checked into the excellent hotel Bagoeira only a few minutes from the town centre. Barcelos is a lovely town occupying an elevated site above the river Cávado. For some reason the town is famous for the brightly covered cockerel which has become a national symbol of Portugal and a logo for Portuguese tourism. There are large statues of these cockerels all over the town. 20190604_113230.jpg20190604_113218.jpg20190604_114014.jpg20190604_130103.jpg20190604_130108.jpg20190604_114327.jpgThe After discovering that all the restaurants seemed to be shut on a Monday we eventually headed back to our hotel restaurant.

Tuesday 4th June

The original plan was to take a taxi back to Rates and continue our walk returning to Barcelos for a second night. I don’t think Simon and Michele were too keen on that idea and with the weather turning and a little laziness on my part, I didn’t need much persuading that we could have a day off and enjoy the town. What happens in Barcelos, stays in Barcelos! S & M had to move hotels but we met up in the evening and headed for the Solar Real restaurant, mentioned in my guide book the bible written by John Brierley. The dining room is on the first floor with an interesting interior and fading murals. Lovely meal and excellent value for money.

Wednesday 5th June.

Feeling a little guilty after our day of rest we set off fairly early for our next destination Casa Fernanda in the hamlet of Lugar do Corgo. Can’t remember much about the walk other than crossing the medieval bridge Ponte das Tabuas approx 14k along the route. Staying at casa Fernanda was the highlight of the 2 week accommodation. . It’s an ideal spot to rest up between Barcelos and Ponte de Lima. Fernanda and her husband have been welcoming pilgrims to their home for many years providing hospitality, dinner and breakfast. We arrived about mid afternoon with the Samsung Health app showing exactly 20k on the clock. Fernanda greeted us and another 7 guests from Canada, Holland and England with drinks and some tasty nibbles. It was good having time to chat with other walkers and comparing notes. At 7 we all proceeded to the dining room for dinner accompanied by a singsong, local dancing from our hosts and a little history of the country. All the guests apart from me stayed in an adjoining timber chalet. I was lucky enough to have the private room. Next morning we had breakfast at 7.30 and then donated what we thought was deserved or what we could afford. I gave €40.

Thursday 6th June

Another early start for day 5 of the walk. This is Simon and Michele’s last day of walking the Camino, a relatively short walk of 17k. On leaving Casa Fernanda we met a Mexican woman living in Germany, walking alone who kept us company all the way. Arrived in Ponte de Lima early afternoon just in time to avoid the heavy rain that continued all afternoon. It’s a delightful market town with narrow cobbled streets and lovely walks along the Rio Lima. A great place to stop if you have the time. We checked into Terraco da Vila, a very central hostel about 2 and stayed indoors to avoid the rain. Ventured out late afternoon for a walk round the town and found a restaurant nearby for our evening meal.

Friday 7th June

Said farewell to S@M before crossing the Rio Lima and continuing the walk. This was the first day of walking on my own and I found it quite hard going. A hard days walk of the equivalent of 22k because of the hard climb up the Alto de Portela Grande which at 400m was probability the toughest climb on the walk. At one point I got caught short and had my first ever shit in the countryside. Fortunately had some tissues to make life easier. Arrived at Quinta das Leiras a couple of kilometres before the hamlet of Rubiaes. The Quinta was a comfortable modern home with a laundry, games room and swim pool owned and run by a German couple. The only restaurant in the area Bom Retiro offered a shuttle service to all the local hostels. The place only catered for pilgrims and a 3 course meal with wine cost €11. I shared a table with 2 women from London who were to cross my path several times in the next few days.

Saturday 8th June

Probably the hardest and longest day of the walk. Not many hills but the walk seemed to go on for ever. Reached Valença on the border with Spain mid afternoon. Nice little town. Found a cash line before crossing the Rio Minho into Spain. So knackered and could have taken a taxi to my hotel if I had found one. Managed to walk the last 2/3 k mainly uphill to Hotel Colón where I had arranged to meet Robbie.

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