Day 5: Caminha

Today was the type of day I dreamed about when planning a coastal Camino. I don’t have much words today, just pictures to share…

 We reached Caminha, on the border with Spain. And Spain seems so close! But a way is needed across the River Minho into Spain. There is a ferry, but it is subjected to the tides, and leaves tomorrow at 12! DSC_0350.JPG We will seek another way. We enjoyed walking around Caminha, probably having our last Pasteis de Nata… DSC_0353.JPG

We are staying at the Orbitur campside in Caminha, quite a walk to town but beautiful views! DSC_0357.JPGDSC_0352.JPGWe are very tired tonight, and also have some blisters to attend to..

Just a last thought: we sat and ate fresh cherries at this beautiful square. DSC_0356.JPG An ambulance stopped just out of view right of picture, and removed someone’s body in a body bag from a flat. I don’t know anything more about it, but I thought that one day everyone leaves in a body bag… I still hope to do a lot of living before it is my turn to go….

 

Did I mention I love the boats on the river? DSC_0347.JPG I heard these guys can take us across the river in front ouf our camp site for 5 Euros each….DSC_0358.JPG Just info for those planning a Coastal Camino….

Day 4:Viana do Castelo

This was quite a long day. We started of by waiting for the Post Office to open. I sent 2.5 kilograms of luggage to Ivar in the Pilgrims Office in Santiago today, to get my backpack under 10 kg again. That makes a huge difference! We walked a final turn around Povoa de Varzim and came across this statue. I don’t know what it means exactly, probably don’t mess with Portuguese mamas?

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Today we reached Viano do Castello, and what a beautiful town this is. If you ever walk the Coastal Camino, look this restaurant up, the people love their food and it is beautifully presented at a very decent price!

Above Viana do Castello is the Eglise de Santa Luzia.

It is beautiful inside! One of the most impressive roofs I have ever gazed upon.

We attended a mass and wish we understood a word that was said. But sometimes words are Unnecessary.

A tip: you don’t have to walk all the way up the mountain! Just behind the train station is a Furnicular, which they also call an Elevator, to the top. A return ticket costs 3 Euros. Even if you are not religious, the view will be worth the cost. DSC_0296.JPGWe also did not know beforehand that there is an Albergue at the top behind the church, and it looks good.

We walked a lot in Viana de Castello today. It seems Portugal is involved in some or other small sporting event today… DSC_0304.JPG

This town/city is really beautiful! We finally tasted Sardinhas tonight, and then walked back to our hostel underneath the bridge. What a beautiful walkway along the river Lima!DSC_0306.JPG

We are staying at the Youth Hostel (Pousada Juventudes) and although it might be an ugly building on the outside, it is beautiful and clean on the inside, just like me!

By the racket outside it seems Portugal just won something… Well done Portugal!

A final thought: we came across this sight: one dilapidated building, and then two more in exactly the same style just further on… one did not make it, two did… why?

 Tomorrow evening we will be camping in Caminhas, I don’t know if there will be any wifi available. Our last full day on Portuguese soil, and we loved it here!

Day 3:Povoa de Varzim

Today we stayed on the Coastal route all the way. The day started early for us, to avoid most of the day’s heat. Early morning was beautiful on the Way!

We enjoyed walking in the mist, with ancient ruins and modern houses standing alongside each other. _20180624_190638.JPG

Today was also a day of long boardwalks, and I love the little spring it puts in every step…

The one thing that takes a bit of getting used to, is the way our concept of time differs from the Portuguese people. We started walking at 07h30, which is late for us. We were looking out for our first Cafe con Leche of the day… DSC_0255.JPGBut people only start moving around here at about 10h00. We already cooked our dinner at 17h30, restaurants open at 19h00 or later. And we are really tired after a day’s walking, we are in bed by 21h00. Then the Portuguese people only start wondering what they are going to do with their day. Despite the differences we really love being in Portugal and meeting the amazing local population.

They welcome us in their communities. They show us the Way…

And their country is amazingly old and beautiful, with Viking and Roman ruins around every corner…

We got really, really tired today…and sat on the steps of a dilapidated church that seems more tired than us…

Finally, after a long day’s walk we reached Povoa de Varzim. Staying over at Sardines and Friends Hostel, another amazing venue. Again we cooked for ourselves- we made sweet and sour pork strips with a lot of veggies and mushrooms on a bed of rice, with something red to drink, for under 4 Euros each.

Tomorrow we have a slight problem- the way I booked our trip we have to be in Viana do Castelo tomorrow, which is 45 km away. We will have to use some public transport as well.

I also already suffer from blisters again. My new pair of Crocs gave me some nasty blisters yesterday evening when walking around town. Friends don’t let friends wear Crocs. I wish to give them to a homeless person but then again, why punish someone even more?

I am trying that miracle cure that we don’t get in South Africa…

So- tomorrow we may cheat the walking a little, and rest on a bus for a while. It feels like cheating, bit we are still way out of the last 100 km for our Campostela. I said I am not going to complain. I just feel a little old, and tired, and really angry at myself for packing too much when I know better. If you walk the Camino, do pack light! The more possessions you carry with you, the more you will suffer. Learn from my mistakes! All those small things looking as if they weigh next to nothing-they add up and kick your butt after 15 km!

We are still going strong!

Ultreia!

Day 2: Angeiras

We started this morning by walking through the Matosinhos Market, where fresh fish and other produce are sold daily. Being people living 800 km from the sea, we never see such a sight!

DSC_0208.JPGDSC_0209.JPGWe made a huge detour to reach the excellent Decathlon superstore. I needed a new rain jacket, as my poncho lasted only one day, and rain are predicted for tomorrow. One thing of the Camino-get rid of things not helping you…DSC_0216.JPGWe made our way through heavy industrial area, behind the Portugas factory. When we joined the Coastal Camino again, it was beautiful, boardwalk and sunshine all the way. DSC_0223.JPGIt was extremely hot today! Water alone would not quench this thirst. A cold beer sometimes is all that helps! DSC_0222.JPGI am still very wary of posting this, because I made our national newspapers front page in 2016 by drinking a beer. That seems outrageous, right? Will tell the story another day, google Beeld 19 October 2016 to read it if you are able to understand Afrikaans… and here I do it again!

We walked more than 36000 steps today, no idea how far exactly as our steps are getting shorter as we tire.

We are staying at the Orbitur Angeiras camp sight tonight in a small mobile home. DSC_0232.JPGNo cooking facilities, but very affordable at 8 Euro per person. We did have an amazing sardine and olive pizza in town. Just had a shower, watched the sunset and now ready for bed, we are really tired but happy tonight. _20180623_210903.JPG

PS, stayed over at Fishtail Sea House in Matosinhos last night, awesome, great, excellent beautiful well located, with an amazing kitchen and breakfast included. We really loved it there as you might gather..

 

Day 1: Matosinhos

I read a lot about how bad the walk out of Porto is on the Camino Portuguese. If you follow the Brierly guide it can also be an extremely long day to Povoa de Varzim. Now I have lost all my non-Camino friends’ attention just there 🙂 But I do not agree with the bad exit or long day theory, we did it our way and I think it is a much better way to start the Camino Portuguese from Porto.

We woke up excited early this morning, eager to start walking. But we also heard the sound of thunder… it was raining on our glorious start to our Camino…DSC_0171.JPG

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I found that I did not heed my own advice, my backpack is way too heavy…

But we enjoyed our route. We walked from our cheap hotel to the cathedral, and turned into the park behind the university. There we found our first, and only yellow arrow of the day. DSC_0172.JPG

We walked down to the river, and followed the river to the sea. And it was beautiful!

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DSC_0191.JPGIMG_20180622_130749_796.jpgIMG-20180622-WA0001.jpgWe planned to not walk too far today, easing into the Camino. Our first official day of the Camino was only to Matosinhos. According to Google Maps it would only be 10.6 km for the day. But we drifted a little and walked more than 13, before reaching our accommodation. We walked a total of more than 25000 steps today, according to Pedimeter.

It was a good day and we enjoyed the route. I am just a litle concerned-, we both are hurting a lot tonight, our legs are sore… I don’t get it, I walked 400 km in the last 3 months to practice for our Walk.

Also experienced equipment failure. I bought the yellow poncho because it was lighter. It lasted just 3 hours in the rain…

Tomorrow is a new day. We enjoyed today. We also found that it is way cheaper to prepare our own meals from the supermarkets than to look for a Menu del Dia, did not see any Pilgrims Menu’s yet in Porto region.DSC_0202.JPG

More to follow if we have wifi access tomorrow. Now I am wasted…

If you plan on walking the Coastal Camino, look out for this heartbreaking monument to fishermen who never came home after a storm in 1947. It is on the main beach of Matosinhos…. DSC_0200.JPG Just behind it is a tourist info centre that will gladly stamp your Pilgrims Passport for you.

Tired now, off to bed…

Today…

Today I am a tourist no more. I am not here to see, but to BE. I am no longer here for what I can gain, but for what I can give.

I will be thankful for each breath, and each step I take. I will accept what comes along the way, and not be angry when it is not my way.

I will be kind to all, taking only what I really need, (paying  a fair price) and leaving only footprints behind.

When the road gets hard I will walk on. When there is beauty I will stop and enjoy.

I will accept each sound, each smell, each taste, everything I see and touch as a blessing for this moment.

I am not here to buy, but to be…

From today I will be a Pilgrim on the journey of life… I shall not complain..

Bless that seagull whose delightful and volumous screeching has awaken me to my journey today… _20180622_063157.JPG

 

The light is coming, time to take a walk. The destination is of no importance  but each step of the journey matters.

For I am a Peregrino..

Ultreia! DSC_0158.JPG

Porto: D Day minus one…

We had a very good stay at Lisboa Arte Hostel, just behind the Santa Apolonia train station. This Hostel has some of the most friendly staff, Leia and Nina made us really feel at home. A good place to stay if you are into Backpackers…

We caught the train to Porto and arrived after a climb over in Sao Bento Station.DSC_0129.JPG

Yes, the blue tiles of Porto are beautiful. DSC_0131.JPG

We booked into a Hotel just behind the station, really cheap in every sense…

Then we made our way to the Cathedral, where our Long Walk begins tomorrow morning. DSC_0133.JPG

DSC_0134.JPGWe walked around a lot today, more than 14000 steps according to my Pedometer App.

This evening we had a single meal with all the calories needed to finish our pilgrimage, all the way to Santiago… DSC_0151.JPGIt is available all over Porto, but we chose Cafe Ceuta to eat the famous Francesinha. DSC_0150.JPGIt will take a lot of time to feel hungry again. But thirsty: all the time! It is really hot around here! DSC_0152.JPG

Oh yes and Google Maps is really working on my nerves in Portugal, taking us around in circles. But that way we see more! DSC_0137.JPG

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Lisbon: A cruel conspiracy revealed…

 

I found out something that the Portuguese are trying to hide from the world. It is this: Portuguese people have no bladders. So they put something in coffee to make all tourists want to go all the time. Then they absolutely have no public toilets. They do this to make people pay for drinking coffee or beer at bars. At the bar there MIGHT be a toilet. But other public toilets are strictly forbidden. Is this true? It felt so today. The only one in the whole of Lisbon I could find today was this one. .. DSC_0116.JPG Apart from tears in my eyes all the time, the rest of the day went well so far. We got to ride Tram 28 all the way and it was good! DSC_0096.JPG

When we stopped at the terminus of Tram 28, we walked on towards the river, and found some beauty in abandonment:DSC_0103.JPGDSC_0104.JPG

The one amazing thing we saw, is where they preserve the facade of a historic building, and build a new building behind that.

DSC_0101.JPG We saw St Jeronimus Monastry, but the rows of visitors waiting outside scared us off.  DSC_0122.JPGWe walked on to the Belem Tower, which is beautiful. DSC_0114.JPG

Saw a monument to some first transatlantic flight in 1922, and those pilots of old have my total respect for attempting such endeavors. DSC_0111.JPGOn our way back we also stopped at Pastries de Belem, the inventors of the world famous Pasties de Nata.  DSC_0123.JPG The Prophets were busy in Lisbon.. .DSC_0095.JPG This is our second last day of being tourists, tomorrow we go by train to Porto, and then on Thursday, we become Peregrinos once more. We did manage to walk between 18000 and 25000 steps per day this past 3 days, and my body is feeling it! The heat also takes some getting used to. But we are having a great adventure!

Ultreia

Camino: One week to go…

After months of planning, dreaming, worrying, looking forwarding… it is the final week before we fly to Madrid.

My backpack is packed and ready. I just have to grab it and go on to the airport on Saturday.

As it usually goes in real life, I still have to work till Thursday. And as real life tends to go, a lot of things still have to get into place before I relax on the purple plane.

I have treated myself to a small neat journal to keep exceptional thoughts that may happen along the Way. I have also dreamed a long time about owning a Lamy Safari Fountain pen, and could not resist buying one on Saturday- a yellow one. Now the one fear is that the journal will remain empty on the journey.

Equipment wise we are sorted. I think my backpack weighs around 9.5 kg when there is a  1 1/2 litre of water on board.  Much less than we had to carry in the army anyway. What is going on in my wife’s backpack, I have not got a clue…

I do tend to overpack. But here is more or less what I do have packed:

We are flying out of a cold Johannesburg South Africa on Saturday. For flying I have a lightweight technical removable long sleeve pants (is that the right word? Remember English is a second language for me…)  I also have a long sleeve shirt, very lightweight that will help in the Portuguese sun. I have a fleece type softshell jacket, and will wear my hiking boots on the plane. Luggage tend to get lost in South Africa, all things else I can replace in Madrid but not my worn in boots.

In the backpack:

  • two pairs of hiking shorts,
  • two shirts,
  • three sets of underwear,
  • three pairs of socks,
  • a pair of Crocs for the evenings in the albergues,
  • a single duvet cover to sleep in, I hate sleeping bags. A single fitted sheet, and cushion sleeve in which I will use my inflateable cushion.
  • A head lamp,
  • a sea to summit plate and a spork, with a swiss army knife
  • an aluminium cup
  •  a 1.5 l water bladder
  • a 700 ml Atlasware hot water flask, no idea what it weighs but it keeps water boiling hot for nearly 23 hours.
  • some plasters and pain pills and sunscreen lotion
  •  a lightweight battery pack for extra juice for my phone
  •  a bandanna for walking through the cattle farms in Galicia (yes, it is my second Camino, remember…)
  • My single walking pole, usually used in South Africa to fend off black Mambas and small dogs along the way.
  • My John Brierley guide

Undecided:

  •  a pair of long johns underwear for flying
  •  And that is about it…

We are doing the Portuguese Camino, starting in Porto on 21 June. Before that we will be playing tourist in Madrid and Lisbon. We will be going by train to Porto, and after a good night’s rest start walking the Coastal Route, drifting off to the coast as far as possible. We live a long way from the ocean, and so any walking involving a sea view has our full attention.

You might come across us… this is our emblem on our backpacks and some of our clothing. My design…DSC_0321.JPG

We are quite shy and not always so sure of our English use, but be friendly and so will we…

Buen Camino!

 

… and so did May…

Did you ever write a whole post, and then deleted it, because you fear the contents will bore the reader to death?

This writer’s block is really serious! My mojo is gone…

Camino time in 15 days.  I hope I will have something readable to write soon.

Oh and yes, I watched Reese Witherspoon’s “Wild” movie this week,  and now feel inspired for a long walk with a much lighter backpack. Brilliant movie.

Thanks for stopping by.