CAMINO PORTUGUESE – DAY 14

Sao Joao – Porto

9 April 2018

0.0km (Bus day)

35.8km (If you walk this stage)

Not walking today:

It was raining, bitterly cold and my feet were hurting … so yes, we took the bus 😔.

We were woken up by rain splattering against our window! I gave Berto one look and, after 21 years of married life, he knew exactly what “that look” meant … I was adamant – no walking today!

FOOT INJURIES & RAIN: To not even mention the other four blisters, I now also had an additional big blister underneath my left foot that almost made it impossible to walk. And in this rain, I just did not had the energy or willpower to try and balance my walk between painful blisters, a painful ankle and the pouring rain!

A week ago, we booked accommodation in a hostel in Porto, because we wanted to explore this beautiful city before we continue our Camino. Hopefully, two days of rest in Porto should give my body enough time to recover for the last part on our Portuguese Camino!

Berto became the “ultimate partner” and took the bus with me to Porto.

With the above in mind, we cannot give you an overview of the hiking route between Sao Joao and Porto. We did however read in our Brierley guide book that there was a short stretch of the old Roman road through woodlands (this should be lovely), but that the rest of the road was pretty much a slog into the centre along hard city pavements. Maybe we did not miss that much on this stretch, but I always feels miserable when I’m not walking a stage on the Camino …

Get on the bus, we’re going to Porto:

After we had a coffee, we found the bus stop and bought two tickets at €8.50 (for two) to Porto. We left Sao Joao in pouring rain and arrived in Porto (in pouring rain).

BEAUTIFUL PORTO:

Even though it was grey and raining, our very first sight of Porto gave us a glimpse of just how beautiful this city is. We crossed the rio Douro (River of Gold) and immediately fell in love with Porto!

Accommodation – Porto:

Oporto Music Hostel

Although we wanted to start exploring Porto immediately, our first priority was to find our hostel. We took the metro for a 15 minute ride to Oporto Music Hostel. It’s a beautiful hostel with very friendly staff. We ended up in a teensy-weensy room – just enough space for a bed and our backpacks – but it was a BIG double bed with luxurious linen … much more than what any pilgrim can ever wish for!

Exploring Porto in cold weather:

After we checked in, we immediately took the metro back to the historic city centre. It was really, really cold … we were dressed in almost all of our clothes, but we just had to see more of this city!

We walked down to the rio Douro to enjoy steaming cups of hot coffee and something to eat at one of the many restaurants on the bank of the river.

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Berto in front of the statue of Henry the Navigator

The historical centre of Porto was declared a World Heritage site in 1996 and in 2001 Porto was chosen as the European City of Culture

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Colourful buildings on the bank of rio Douro

The magnificent bridge Ponte de D. Luis I over the rio Douro

We took a walk over the famous bridge Ponte de D. Luis I to explore the other side of the river bank as well.

On the other side of the river with the historical centre of Porto in the background

Tasting port … in Porto!

And then it was time to taste the famous port of Porto! The oldest port wine lodges in Portugal will be found here and there are several restaurants that offers port tasting sessions. In this cold weather, I could not think of anything better to do!

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Tasting port … and they were all good!

Rabelo boats:

We also stopped at the famous rabelo boats on the rio Douro. These boats were used to carry barrels of Porto wine from the Douro valley vineyards to the Port Wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia – these days they are laying quietly by the riverside.

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Rabelo boats on the rio Douro

Dark clouds appeared in the sky again and as we walked back to the historic center, it started raining again. It was the perfect opportunity to have a late lunch and we managed to get seats inside a small restaurant.

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Lunch in a pan – chorizo, olives and pickled cauliflower

Miraculously, the sun came out just after we finished our lunch and we continued our exploration of the city. It was still freezing cold, but at least it was not raining. We walked over to the famous main rail station which was built in the 16th century. The grand entrance hall is breathtaking beautiful with over 20,000 tiles that reflects the history of Portugal.

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The main rail station named after the Benedictine monastery and built in the 16th century

Magnificent entrance hall with over 20,000 tiles covering the walls

It was getting late and we sensed more rain was coming. Although we did not walked a far distance today, my feet were complaining. We took a couple more pictures as we slowly made our way back to the metro.

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Porto’s buildings are beautiful

The plan for tomorrow:

We are planning to take a trip on the Hop on Hop off bus tomorrow to see more of Porto (at least I don’t have to walk then ☺️). We bought snacks on the way to our hostel and spent the rest of the evening in the communal hall. We did not meet any other pilgrims, but it was nice to have pleasant conversations with the locals.

I can honestly say that Porto is one of the most beautiful cities I ever saw and we were looking forward exploring more of this city tomorrow.

Click here for Day 15 (rest day) …

9 comments

  1. Like Lisboa, Porto is another place I really want to visit not least because I love port as I said on another post here. I really love the white port but it is very expensive in UK and not easy to get. As well as port I love anything to do with railways and that station really is spectacular.

    How did you feel walking over that bridge, I know you don’t like heights?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we also like a good port (of which there is plenty here in South Africa) … we always make sure we have a few bottles over winter!
      Fortunately, that bridge had a lower section for pedestrians to cross the river – I would not have it on the top one 😳

      Liked by 1 person

      • Honestly, I feel for you. I was persuaded once to go on the London Eye and it was possibly the most frightening 40 minutes, or whatever it is, of my life – never again.

        I knew RSA has a very distinguished wine culture, although I know nothing about wine, but for some reason I had never even considered that they made port. I am not sure that I have ever even seen any here in UK although I have never particularly looked for it, I must do that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’m also no wine connoisseur … but we do have great wines here in South Africa. We won’t pass easy on a bottle of Pinotage 😉. And for port, you won’t find better than Boplaas Port (and not far from us – how conveniently!)

        Liked by 1 person

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