Rio Este

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    • Day 6

      On our way to Rates

      June 24, 2023 in Portugal ⋅ ☀️ 82 °F

      We’ve decided our next stop is Rates! Andrea called ahead and the alburgue says they have plenty of beds available! We chose a path to the central that seems to be less traveled. You really have to keep your eye peeled for the Camino signs as they can be placed in odd places and can just be a very faded arrow! Sometimes, you just use your best judgement when you come to an intersection! I’ve loved the change of scene from the coast to more farmland and beautiful gardens!Read more

    • Day 17

      Rates to Barcelos

      June 8, 2019 in Portugal ⋅ ⛅ 61 °F

      At Vila do Conde, I found the trail that connects the coastal route to the central Camino, inland through Portugal. Pretty little stone villages, rivers full of fish, Roman bridges, towns with more tiled buildings, the works. Still I am seeing almost no one walking the camino, but I meet them in the cafes along the way and in the albergues at night. In Vila do Conde I shared a two bunk-bed room with three Germans - a couple and another man - who went to great lengths to ignore me. They didn't even say Geshundteit when I sneezed.

      The next day I walked to Sao Pedro de Rates and stayed in a larger albergue with mostly Germans again, but friendly, and a South African couple who were distraught at having lost their Brierley "Guide to the Camino Portugues" with maps, history, accomodations info. They were frantically asking everyone to predict for them when they might pass through somewhere that might have an English copy. Finally I just gave them mine. They were aghast and jubilant and were my New Best Friends. They made me share a bottle of wine with them and later, separately, I heard from each about the challenges of traveling/walking with the other. Walk alone, Cowboy, that's my advice!

      Today I met a German woman pushing a stroller with her 18 month old baby. Her husband decided to walk the camino to Santiago from their front door. Like the Czech woman I met before, she didn't want to sit around the house, so she decided to walk to Santiago from Portugal (haven't these people heard of babysitters??)

      Ran into her with her baby again in a cafe and heard another peregrina telling her she'd also met another mom walking the Camino with her TWO kids, age 8 months and 2 years, AND leading her blind husband! So I teased the German woman with only ONE baby about how easy and cush she had it, comparatively. Later I passed her, toiling with the stroller up the steep, narrow rocky trail. I thought about stopping to take over the stroller and give her a break.

      I didn't do it, but I thought about it.

      On the way to Barcelos, I passed through Pedra Furtado, a village I read about that was named after a stone with a hole through it. Apparently a saint was once buried alive and he punched his head through the stone to escape. So they built a church next to the "holey" rock and then added the village after that.

      The trail passed through eucalyptus forest and farmland and now I am in the delightful town of Barcelos. A medieval tower, narrow walking streets bordered by blue and white tiled buildings, people laughing at outdoor cafes with glasses of wine, a big traditional wedding in the cathedral (which I crashed obviously), old people two-step and line dancing in the plaza.

      I see some ominous "festive" decorations going up; a foreboding sign of a potential horrible local festival. Many disagree with me, but I think most large scale town fiestas are overrated. Especially after you’ve walked 14 miles and just want some rest.
      Read more

    • Day 5

      En route Touguinhó

      April 24 in Portugal ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

      Yet another late morning start, but I finally got a good night sleep. Loved seeing the aquaduct before leaving the city and walking along the river seeing goats 🐐

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