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  • The Baguette
  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.
  • De captivants à banals, les articles et photographies de “The Baguette” sont une tentative de publier un journal de ma vie dans la Manche et de proposer un forum de discussion pour tout ce qui touche à la Normandie.

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June 22 2013 7 22 /06 /June /2013 09:21

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5347/8985195472_5f90fca67e_o.jpgThursday, May 2, 2013 -- Porto to Lavra

I slept very well last night even though I wasn’t very sleepy.  Perhaps that is because I got a shower before turning in.  We all got up around 06h30 and got our things together before heading downstairs for breakfast which wasn’t anything grand but coffee and juice with ham and cheese sandwiches.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8133/8985195886_c5f35dc2ab_o.jpgThe wilde Ostern were supposed to meet up with us at the cathedral so we could start our Camino but they showed up a bit late.  It didn’t matter since we had exceptional weather for beginning our hike.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5345/8985194198_e7d34e0f58_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5451/8985193352_8996c07213_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7303/8983997373_49b1c33833_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3665/8983996859_76686a36a6_o.jpgThe way out of Porto took us along the River Douro for much of the morning—quite a scenic way to leave the town—under bridges, past fishing boats, beside large bird sanctuaries and through colourful parks lined with palms and sweet-smelling trees in bloom.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5339/8983995591_2950a939be_o.jpgUnder sunny blue skies, we finally reached the sea around 10h30.  Some of us walked together while others walked alone until we reached a café along the beach called Praia dos Ingleses where we could all sit together on the terrace, drink coffee, and enjoy the view of the beach and waves crashing on the rocks.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3679/8985189700_d26b8d1068_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7333/8983992981_55aba32448_o.jpgThe pedestrian promenade along the coast reminded me of other seaside tourist resorts crowded with morning walkers and joggers.  Their numbers thinned out more and more as we continued north towards Matosinhos.  Just before reaching the beach in Matosinhos, we came across the Forte de São Francisco Xavier aka Castelo do Queijo designed in 1661 by Miguel l’Ecole.  Ahttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7430/8983991265_2aeb0e23a1_o.jpgccording to an information plaque, it was occupied by the Absolutists in 1832 and badly damaged by the Liberals’ batteries.  It was abandoned for many years before it became the headquarters of the Porto Naval Brigade’s 1st Company and handed over to the Northern Commandos Association in 1975.  It now serves as a museum and exhibition space.  I didn’t go inside.  We had our pilgrim credencials stamped in the tourist office which had these interesting statues just outside.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7392/8983990769_171969345c_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3787/8983990221_c8f06e1612_o.jpgI’m not sure why they all seem so upset but it is supposed to be a tribute to the old fishing community.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5466/8983989457_b9e746582b_o.jpgThis is an outdoor chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Padrão.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3757/8983988143_0b539f58cb_o.jpgThis is the local indoor fish market.  After seeing everyone’s fresh catch, we all agreed that it would be nice if we could find a restaurant that served fish for dinner.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7335/8983987569_0733af0e3e_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3714/8985182520_35f470cf31_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3804/9116293794_ace135ffbb_o.jpgNearby, a friendly elderly lady gave us directions to the bascule bridge called the Ponte Móvel which began rising just as we arrived so we had to wait about 20 minutes as boats from the harbor filed past.  The rest of the day was pleasant walking along the beach across vast stretches of boardwalk which not only protected the ecosystem of the dunes but kept the sand out of our shoes !  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2890/8983985031_ee4cb40552_o.jpgThis is the lighthouse in Matosinhos called the Farol da Boa Nova.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7295/8983981289_f2c3d6cbfb_o.jpgBefore reaching the campground in Lavra, we had to walk past the Praia da Memória with its obelisk commemorating the 1832 landing of King D. Pedro IV from the Azores with his army of 7500 men (Liberals) who defeated the Absolutists.  There’s not much I can say about the wilde Ostern except that they all seemed to be pleased with today’s walk.  So far, no one has blisters.  By walking a little bit with each I was able to learn a bit more about them.  Michael works as a policeman along with his girlfriend, Caroline and both of them work with Robert and Claudia who are husband and wife.  Robert’s brother is also his twin and works in some capacity with computers and finance.  That’s Greek to me if I’m honest.  Finally, Kathleen works as a physical therapist.  Maybe she’ll give us all a massage or a foot rub at the end of each day’s hike.  Here’s to wishful thinking !  They are all exceptionally nice people and they speak better English than I do German, still, I feel that I haven’t managed to really “latch on” to any of them on a more personal level as I have with my fellow four—it’s only been two days…but I think the social boundaries have been laid and it looks like, for all intents and purposes, we will be walking the Camino in our own two separate groups meeting up only for meals and occasional rests along the way.  In the end, I guess that’s not a bad thing since I was hoping to spend more time with Frank, Tommy, Andreas and Charly and deepen my friendships there since we will be seeing one another again later this year when I join them in Munich for Oktoberfest.  More about that later…  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3739/8985176010_c8141c2b75_o.jpgAnyway, there are very few, if any accommodations for pilgrims along the coastal route out of Porto.  The Brierley guide is good at recommending NOTHING but fortunately, Tommy’s guide in German was full of excellent ideas and we ended up at a campground called the Parque de Campismo de Angeiras in Lavra where we were able to get two bungalows for only 10 Euros per person.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2889/8985174594_615770ea17_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3689/9116315582_80e71dcdbb_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3697/9116324068_8d21191dd3_o.jpgOur bungalow had three bedrooms, a kitchen / living room area and a full bathroom with shower.  We were all so glad to finally be at our final destination for the day.  I volunteered to stay behind and get my shower while the others went to the market to pick up some beers and some snacks which we all enjoyed before going down to the beach for dinner.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7315/8985172362_1f4228d818_o.jpgWe arrived just in time to see this beautiful sunset.  The restaurant we chose was called Café Maioral and it had an exhaustive selection of fresh fish which we could choose from and have grilled.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have what I ordered.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3808/8983975331_21a8b1528d_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2860/8983976515_33f31bce84_o.jpgEach time I would make a selection from the menu, the waiter would tell me that it was no longer available.  This began to be QUITE frustrating and in the end I said, “I really don’t care what you bring me.  You choose !”  He brought me salmon.  It was simply delicious.  If my calculations are right, we walked about 24 kilometers or more today.

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