Overblog Follow this blog
Administration Create my blog

Profil

  • 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.

Archives

October 22 2013 3 22 /10 /October /2013 12:06

Saturday, May 11, 2013 -- Padrón to Santiago de Compostela

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5508/10420515863_5fafce2cdd_o.jpgWell I guess it is time to finish up these postings on my Camino that I took in May.  I’m sorry for not writing more often but I no longer seem to feel up to the task of keeping The Baguette going on a regular basis.  I wish I knew why but I can’t figure it out myself—it has nothing to do with the material but perhaps I’ve been spending too much time writing about things that few people are really interested in.  Maybe I should just try posting very small articles with very little text.  In retrospect, I think I only started this blog because I thought it would be nice to look back on my many adventures someday in the future.  I guess only time will tell if that was a good idea.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3828/8989280894_74011024e5_o.jpgAnyway…  Woke up early to several people in the room of the albergue snoring loudly.  What actually woke most of us up during the night was a dog barking very loudly near one of the windows.  It took most of us very little time to get ready in the morning and some of us but we all wanted to make this last stage in the Camino a meaningful one by starting off together as a group and so none of us headed out without the others.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3720/8988081285_2fdab93fba_o.jpgWalking out of Padrón took us past the Colegiata de Santa María de Iria Flavia, the first cathedral in Galicia dating from Medieval times.  Ransacked in 997, it was later reconstructed and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.  The adjacent cemetery is where Rosalia de Castro was buried, according to her wishes, in 1885.  Although her body was later removed and interred in the Pantheon in Santo Domingo de Bonaval in Santiago, her gravestone still remains along the wall adjoining the main road.  Despite this being the last day on the Camino, everyone seems a bit reserved and quiet.  Perhaps we are all a bit tired of not sleeping well.  Perhaps we are all beginning to realize that our hike is coming to an end and we won’t be able to enjoy one another’s company for much longer.  Personally, I think some spiritual guidance has been missing from this trip—it just doesn’t feel like the Camino we all did last year.  That’s not to say we are all unhappy with the Camino experience—it’s just that there seems to be a different feeling this time around, a feeling that although we’ve conquered the bad roads and uncomfortable lodgings, the “joy” in accomplishment has yet to hit us full on.  Of course I could be wrong but that’s the general sense I have.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2833/8988080155_a4a3aeb49d_o.jpgThe number of horreos has also increased since we entered Spain a few days ago.  Now, every time I see one I count it like the the Sesame Street Count: “One horreo !  Mwhaa haa haa! Two horreo!  Mwhaa haa haa!”  I think I ended up with a total of seventeen.  It didn’t take long and we found ourselves walking along a busy road that led into the town of A Escravitude.  We stopped at a café that was absolutely deserted in order to have our regular cup of café con leche and a ham and egg sandwich.  The owner was quite happy to oblige but for some reason, he took FOREVER to serve our drinks and even longer to get our sandwiches ready.  It wasn’t until later we found out that he was waiting for his wife to arrive so she could cook for us.  While we waited we watched a program on his Hi-Def television about what it is like to walk the Camino in winter.  It was quite fascinating and full of extraordinary images—the kind of documentary you wish you could purchase on DVD but sadly do not exist in any of the souvenir shops in Santiago.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3766/8988079335_ab0ec044c5_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2845/8989275292_55bdb47312_o.jpgAfter leaving, we explored the nearby shrine and church built over a fountain, site of a miracle that took place in 1732.  Picking up the pace on this beautiful Saturday morning, we found ourselves passing more horreos and wayside crosses marking the pilgrim path into Santiago.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7378/8989272670_11fcc09506_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2824/8989272084_5bd0864a04_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2840/8988072687_b50895aa7f_o.jpgIn the small village of Teo we came across one of the oldest wayside crosses in Galicia called the cruceiro do Francos.  It was here that some of us decided to stop and have our photo taken in front of the 10km marker just before crossing the rio Tinto.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3756/8989282774_16764b66ac_o.jpgFrom here on there was a section of road that was not paved over and we welcomed it under our weary feet.  The scenery was quite amazing with old farms on every side and colourful bushes everywhere ablaze with yellow blooms.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7353/8988069617_845a42f0dc_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7359/8989266736_d2e8b205a2_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3709/8988066217_ca8074b797_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5341/8988066975_b4f9e6b70d_o.jpgWe all stopped at the Agro dos Monteiros, the high point of the Camino Portugués, to take our first look at Santiago in the distance.  It was a good feeling to see our final destination just within reach.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3784/8988064291_2304c72235_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7320/8988063353_47f600109e_o.jpgBefore long we were making our way through the busy streets of Santiago heading directly to the cathedral and the shell marker in the center of Praza Obradoiro—the photo ending of our long walk—five sets of feet of five good friends who despite all odds, made it to Portugal and Spain just to walk with one another’s company once again.  Although our arrival in Santiago wasn’t as uplifting and joyous as our first time last year, I am certain we all felt a great deal of relief that the journey was now behind us and that we could spend the next few days in Santiago doing some of the things that we failed to do last year.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2807/8988062317_2c284fdbf6_o.jpgAs for this moment, I think we all wanted to just sit and relax and take it all in.  The Praza Obradoiro was full of pilgrims arriving from all corners of the country—mostly from the Camino Frances.  Instead of heading to the Pilgrim Office to collect our Compostela we walked across town to the Seminario Menor where Santiago has its largest albergue and checked ourselves in.  Charly was the only one staying somewhere else—he booked a room in the city center and planned on staying in Santiago in a bit more style than the rest of us.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3756/8989990328_5ff45497d7_o.jpgThe albergue is a former seminary which not only has communal areas where pilgrims sleep in beds crowded next to one another but it also has individual rooms for the small price of 15 Euros per night.  Not a bad investment if you are looking for a quiet room to catch up on a few Zs after many sleepless nights in other cities.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3778/8988792851_6338e4fac6_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8420/8989259022_7805218804_o.jpgPlus, many of the wings surround elegant boxwood gardens.  Once we all settled in, it was time to go back into town and have ourselves some lunch.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7372/8989257846_8ca5f0e208_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5337/8988058387_e7bafa1cbc_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3764/8989996852_6a0a1e277c_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5332/8989997384_fcfafd6ea3_o.jpgWe found a cozy table in a small café across from the Fonseca Collegia and had several cups of coffee and multiple slices of tarte de Santiago.  I guess we could have spent the rest of the afternoon exploring town but we all thought it would be a good idea to head to the Pilgrim Office and get our Compostela.  Once we did that, we went to a grocery store and bought a few beers and some snacks to take with us to the Praza Obradoiro where we sat on the ground the rest of the day gazing up at the cathedral and watching other pilgrims arrive.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3772/8988053669_d6aaa996cb_o.jpgIt was a relaxing way to spend the day.  The traditional pilgrim rituals could wait until tomorrow.  For now, we were all grateful for our arrival.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8559/8988040539_449160fb89_o.jpgFor dinner we headed to a restaurant that we really liked from last year's Camino called the Restaurante Central.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3791/8989232796_1a2851b2fd_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8557/8989232246_665839b6fa_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8123/8988033107_88f495a588_o.jpgJust like the other restaurants in town, the many varieties of seafood are displayed in large windows that open up to the street.  It makes for an interesting menu to say the least.  Once again, the Restaurante Central was absolutely delicious.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7340/8988039517_f2020a496d_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3681/8988038477_80b024fcea_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7414/8988037677_97721cc153_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7346/8989234928_1037b14cd0_o.jpgSome of the dishes that we had were Caldo Galego soup, huge plates of paella, tuna salads, pulpo, squid and chicken with fries.  The best part was that the price was right and we were able to fill our bellies.

Repost 0
Published by The Baguette - in Chemin de St-Jacques
September 8 2013 1 08 /09 /September /2013 06:22

Friday, May 10, 2013 -- Caldas da Reis to Padrón

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3706/8989318160_6d345c05c6_o.jpgIt was a wonderful day for walking.  I was full of energy and walked alone most of the day until reaching Padrón.  In Carracedo we found a nice place called the Cafe Esperon where we had coffee and sandwiches.  The owner allows patrons to write on the walls and we each took a turn signing our names.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3742/8989322738_454e1c19d4_o.jpgI finished well before the others and decided to head out on my own since I wanted to visit the Convent in Herbón, something my friends didn’t want to do.  My guidebook says that the way is well marked in the town of San Miguel de Valga but I got lost once again climbing a hill that led to nowhere.  At the top, a man told me that I had to go back down in order to find my way back to the path.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2871/8989316124_eb69ebe3cb_o.jpgEventually, I found the path and walked steadily the rest of the morning all the way to Pontesecures.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3719/8989313310_d371aa0531_o.jpgStopped at this interesting place offering drinks and trinkets to pilgrims only to have the owner tell me that the Convent in Herbón was closed until June.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7308/8989310432_057f33e4e1_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7304/8988110649_207615e975_o.jpgI walked past the Iglesia de S. Xulián de Requeixo with its cruceiro and across the bridge into the suburbs of Padrón.  According to tradition, it was here that the Apostle Saint James first preached during his stay in Hispania.  Soon after his death, his disciples Theodore and Athanasius brought his head and his body to Iria Flavia (now Padrón) from Jerusalem in a stone boat. They moored the boat to a pedrón (Galician for big stone), hence the new name given to the place. The two disciples remained in Iria Flavia to preach after burying the Apostle in Compostela.  The legendary pedrón can be seen today at the parish church of Santiago de Padrón.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7460/8989308438_f84af640b8_o.jpgThere are several imitations scattered around town and used as flower boxes like this one just across the bridge from Pontesecures.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5348/8988108441_bfda006ed7_o.jpgThis is the Igrexa de Santiago.  It is a Romanesque church which dates back to the 12th century.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3715/8989292710_8dca2d6a36_o.jpgInside are some wonderful pieces of religious art including a fine 16th century pulpit with an image of Santiago Peregrino, and in a glass case, the image of Santiago Matamoros, slaying the Moors.  Perhaps the most popular tourist attraction inside is the original stone O Pedrón from which the town takes its name.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2832/8988088557_95075205b7_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3695/8989286036_452213137e_o.jpgIt is located beneath the altar and as you can see, people toss money at the stone hoping that if their coin lands on top their prayer might be answered.  In front of the church is a paseo lined with trees.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8274/8988092713_5e4bdb3b8a_o.jpgAt its center is this statue to famous Spanish poetess Rosalia de Castro who was born here.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7326/8989307590_a8e239591c_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3699/8988105683_e9503576f3_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8557/8989303482_e5521fbe7b_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2866/8988103531_2bc32a146f_o.jpgImmediately over the bridge on the western bank of the Rio Sar is the Fonte do Carme from the 16th century.  It depicts the arrival of the sarcophagus of Saint James with his disciples Theodore and Athanasius as well as a scene of the conversion and baptism of the pagan Queen Lupa.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3748/8988101445_ab7265a235_o.jpgStanding prominently above the city is the imposing façade of the 18th century Convento do Carme.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3720/8988098263_77c5800075_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5331/8989296238_45500c6f54_o.jpgThe albergure is beside the convent.  It has one large room lined with bunk beds and although it is well kept, it lacks a sufficient number of bathrooms and electrical outlets to charge camera batteries.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2828/9116284052_10479c1e0b_o.jpgOf course, I arrived in town before the others and the albergue had not yet opened its doors.  I waited for everyone at a small café nearby and ordered some beer and a pizza for everyone to share when they arrived.  After we checked ourselves into the albergue, we spent the rest of the afternoon taking in the sunshine along the paseo in front of the church.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3798/8988095381_9fd601dbe8_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7378/9114052979_e7d55a3601_o.jpgIf you are going to visit Padrón don’t miss out on their famous peppers served fried with olive oil and coarse salt.  Most taste sweet and mild, though some are particularly hot and spicy.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7404/8988085525_e5a73c6a6a_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5334/8989281072_79526c32dc_o.jpgAfter exploring the town, we took a hike to the top of the hill behind the albergue called Santiaguiño do Monte. According to the tradition, the Apostle James preached here. Every summer, this place holds a massive pilgrimage festivity with a Xacobean touch that begins at the fountain at the bottom of the hill and ascends through a staircase of 150 steps.  While we were trying to find a place to have dinner, we ended up going inside a cafe run by a man named Manuel.  Although he was especially kind and very interesting to speak to, his establishment was one of the filthiest places I'd ever seen.  He showed us many of his pilgrim guest books and asked us if we would please sign our names in the most recent one and pose for a photo with him behind his bar (where it was even filthier !).  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3681/8988086131_3a442bbc6c_o.jpgUnfortunately, I don't have a copy of the photograph but I did take a picture of what an earlier pilgrim drew in one of his guest books.  Padrón has its own pilgrim statue where we posed for a group photo.  I have to say that this is my favorite picture from the whole Camino.  I had such a great time with these four guys !  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7378/8988091335_a55b8bf13c_o.jpgWe then had our dinner at the same place in the plaza of town where we hung out all day--nothing special but at least it was a warm meal and not too expensive. 

Repost 0
Published by The Baguette - in Chemin de St-Jacques
August 20 2013 3 20 /08 /August /2013 08:44

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8271/8984415451_60947be14e_o.jpgThursday, May 9, 2013 -- Pontevedra to Caldas da Reishttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8544/8988159765_344f1cb631.jpgWe left town at around 07h00 and had a very nice walk over the Puente del Burgo and through the deserted town of Santa Maria de Alba.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5323/8988159501_1e1be839d1_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7414/8989355548_b1110c9a4b.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8264/8988153637_a2c824503d.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7339/8988151759_f17efeb572.jpgWe passed quite a few interesting old hórreos along the way.  In San Amaro, we took a break at the Cafe Don Pulpo and got our pilgrim passports stamped.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3799/8988153181_183f19b7f4_o.jpgI went over to another bar in town and got their stamp as well but it took up four spaces on my credencial.  I thought I was catching up with everyone but I actually got myself lost for about 20 mintues.  I was fine with that since I was enjoying the beautiful countryside.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7448/8988150903_75a8898cd9_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2854/8989347740_4bf57e9d59_o.jpgThe fields were either overcome with bright yellow flowers or lush with green vineyards.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3767/8988149799_c0475c284d_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7361/8989346372_d47528ceb1_o.jpgNear a small town called Tivo I came across the 50km marker and used the timer on  my camera to get these photos.  I was the last of our group to reach Caldas da Reis.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5336/8989344908_4ba38dbded_o.jpgThis is the first place you see before entering the town.  It is called the Igreja de Santa María.  Caldas da Reis is famous for its thermal waters.  Today, the town still benefits from its waters as a major health spa.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7404/8988142197_c26d8208e4_o.jpgThis is just one of the free thermal fountains in the town.  Many pilgrims like to stop and soak their feet here--we just stopped long enough to see how hot it was.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5456/8989331274_860971a515_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8408/8988133009_1b1da82a2c_o.jpgEveryone was waiting at the Cafe Thermas across the bridge.  A nice old lady on the street saw that we were having some problems finding our hotel and attempted to show us the way.  We thought she was very funny because it was obvious that we couldn't speak her language but she felt compelled to talk to us as if we understood.  Once again, we called ahead to make reservations at a place called the Hotel Lotus.  At 15 Euros per person, the accomodations were very comfortable.  The toilet in our room was not working but I played around with the handle and finally got it to flush.  I was also pretty tired so I took a nap.  About an hour later, the others woke me up and I joined them to explore the town.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7357/8988138163_5a6d3b08df_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3691/8988141231_163ca27f78_o.jpgThis is the main church in the city called the Igreja de Santo Tomás Becket.  It was built in 1890 from the stone salvaged from the medieval castle where Alphonso VII was born.  It seemd to me to be the most active part of the city because there were many people hanging out in cafes around the palm-covered park.  After some window shopping at the Chinese Bazaar we all went back to the Cafe Thermas and ate pulpo and drank a few beers.  Later that evening we found a restaurant that served a pilgrim meal for only 8 Euros.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3801/8988130849_003fb3b76f_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8396/8989329966_75d2650277_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5346/8989327432_5698eb9d84_o.jpgCharly, Tommy and I found this outdoor spa later int he evening and took some time to soak our feet.  The 40 degree water was so soothing I could have stayed in all night.http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8548/8988127223_6951bb00c9_o.jpg

Repost 0
Published by The Baguette - in Chemin de St-Jacques
August 20 2013 3 20 /08 /August /2013 07:23

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7376/8984420803_1e67eea248_o.jpgWednesday, May 8, 2013 -- Redondela to Pontevedra

The three guys in the top bunks snored all night long.  It was just awful.  To make matters worse, I had to keep getting up to use the bathroom.  Too many drinks last night ?  Although I could have slept a few more hours, I must say that I was overjoyed at the fact that I’d be leaving Redondela behind me !!!  The thought of never having to come back to this awful city made me smile.  Over anxious and eager to get out of town, I left the others behind and started walking.  There were no arrows along the cobbled streets and I had to rely on another pilgrim to show me the way.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3828/8985627326_d04a4ac97f_o.jpgPerhaps I should have kept walking with this lady because I ended up getting lost again and found myself going downhill into a small town by the sea.  Fortunately, a local farmer pointed out that I was going in the wrong direction.  The traffic in Arcade was horrendous but I managed to find my way to the Rio Verdugo where I had to cross the Ponte Sampaio.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3828/8985624330_4954c28284_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7395/8984426085_dc14187a25_o.jpgIt was built in 1795 over earlier foundations.  It was here that Galician forces defeated Napoleon’s troops during the War of Independence.  On the other side, I decided to wait for everyone else at a small café called A Romana.  It was nice to see everyone come across the bridge.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5533/9454698401_31a0abeba6_o.jpgOne unexpected pilgrim making the crossing on his bicycle was the Lithuanian man from last night—the one who was looking for a place to stay.  It turns out he was able to stay in a gymnasium in Redondela.  Lucky for him he had no one else in the place to keep him awake with loud snoring.  He told us that he was a student in Porto and was making a video of his pilgrimage to Santiago.  He was carrying a very small backpack covered with a yellow garbage bag to keep the contents dry.  I guess, all you need at his age is a video camera.  You can see part of his finished project HERE.  An entertaining video.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8534/8984419597_b2107e0243_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7293/8985608384_a8b9aaffca_o.jpgIt was very nice walking today and eventually the sun came out allowing me to enjoy it even more.  I walked most of the way with Tommy and together we met some interesting pilgrims along the way.  We met a guy from Canada who now lives in Sweden of all places and has done the Camino many times with his friends.  Later, we met some Canadian women who were walking the Camino for their second time.  Tommy and I had a humorous conversation about the German Oktoberfest in Fredricksburg, Texas.  He mentioned that the sign read, “Deutsche Gemutlichkeit!” and so for the rest of the day we kept referring to all the nice things we saw along the way has having “German coziness”.  We waited for the others somewhere around the Capela de Santa Marta near Figueirido and walked together into the beautiful town of Pontevedra.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8533/8984408569_28a1a1a68d_o.jpgI wasn't too sure it would be so nice after seeing all of the spray paint.  Needing a good night’s sleep we called ahead to book some rooms at the Casa Alicia—a very nice place in the center of town.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8263/8984407509_9048137971_o.jpgOnce we settled in, it was time to look for a nice place to have dinner and explore the town.  Whereas I was more interested in visiting all the sights, http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3763/8985589554_a110b586da_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7457/9116299332_55b726d9e9_o.jpgI think Frank was more interested in finding a place that served coffee and tarte de Santiago, everyone’s favourite treat along the Camino as you get closer and closer to Compostela.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3679/8985600544_32d3a13563_o.jpgThis is the Iglesia de la Virgen Peregrina, one of the most symbolic and important buildings in Pontevedra.  Its construction begain in 1778 and, according to tradition, is dedicated to the Virgin who led the pilgrims from Byonne to Santiago.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2838/8984403781_cec4fcc60e_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3737/8985597258_fd05fd6456_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3774/8985591412_3a954b29b6_o.jpgPontevedra is a delightful city with many old buildings and large open squares called “prazas”.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5335/8984379759_7f8814df9a_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7283/8984377773_c5705c6be9_o.jpgOne of them is the Praza de Ourense with the Convento de San Francisco overlooking the shops, cafes and restaurants.  The Convento de San Francisco dates from the 13th century but all that remains of the original construction is the Romanesque façade.  Inside are sarcophagi from the 15th century and those of Paio Gómez Chariño (poet and admiral of the navy) and his wife.   http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5448/8985585948_309bc033a9_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2835/8984389303_722abec576_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5452/8984385569_558657738d_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7355/8984383583_da2f87e59e_o.jpgThe Ruínas del Convento de Santo Domingo was a very interesting place to visit with all of its old tombs and statuary.  We found a good placet to eat dinner but we were quite taken back with the portion size (very small) and the unbelievable price (very high).  Something has to give...we've been hiking for almost two weeks and we've yet to find an restaurant with reasonable prices.  Spent the rest of the night having drinks and eating tapas in quite a few different bars around town.http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7413/8984374169_eafffe05fa_o.jpg

Repost 0
Published by The Baguette - in Chemin de St-Jacques
July 31 2013 4 31 /07 /July /2013 09:07

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 -- Valença to Redondela

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3756/8984449145_1cac3968e3_o.jpgIt wasn’t yet raining and I desperately wanted to arrive in Tui, across the bridge separating Portugal from Spain before the skies opened up. I don’t think this was on the minds of my other companions as they were not ready to go when I was. The only other people ready to head out this morning were Charly and Tommy. Charly was ahead of everyone the entire day and I’m sure he had the right idea leaving so early since there was going to be a time change once we entered Spain and the distance we were supposed to travel today was exceedingly long. Tommy and I left a few minutes after Charly and took the alternative route through Valença promising everyone that we would wait for them on the bridge so we could cross together. It’s a shame the weather wasn’t more accommodating because Valença was such a beautiful town and I would have liked to spend some more time there wandering around. As it was, I still got a pretty good look at the city since it was early in the morning and there were no tourists crowding the cobblestone streets. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3782/8985675318_16203a0463_o.jpgValença is surrounded by the ramparts and ruins of massive walls called the Fortaleza which is a 17th century fort built on top of two small hills and formed by two polygons. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3685/8984479547_0584dc6e17_o.jpgThere are many places to visit within the city walls including the tiny Capela de São Sebastião. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7403/8984478745_a7b76d61fe_o.jpgThis is the Capela do Bom Jesus with the statue of Teotónio (Portugal’s first saint) in front. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3774/8985672582_91c0ee6e29_o.jpgI was most impressed by the buildings that were covered in azulejos as well as the window and balcony decorations that were still up from the May Day celebrations. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7366/8984476437_dfbb3d6c70_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8262/8984474091_0c835e314d_o.jpgIt is customary for people to decorate their homes with wildflowers on the first of May but it seems that some people like to take it to extremes as this floral-patterned butterfly attests. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3780/8985669934_61b5c5b2ce_o.jpgThis is the 12th century Romanesque church of Santa Maria dos Anjos. Beyond it is the Baluarte do Socorro with its cannons facing Spain. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7363/8984472683_d950a71907_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3733/8985666702_6822206247_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3764/8985665494_525819a8a5_o.jpgFrom here there is a wonderful view over the Minho and in the distance, the Spanish city of Tui. Before crossing the Valença International Bridge, Tommy and I waited for the others. Of course, it began pouring down rain and we had to wait for it to stop before crossing. http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8408/8984469655_87c2d07592_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2893/8985663950_91a3e7e22a_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7353/8984468065_83741d44b9_o.jpgOn the other side we all changed our watches to Spanish time and walked to the Catedral de Santa Maria de Tui in order to have our credencials stamped. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3762/8984467093_20b338c1de_o.jpgThe cathedral is from the 12th century and has a very ornate interior. I wanted to take some photos but there was a guy running around telling people that they were not allowed. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7372/8984465013_d24ffccc94_o.jpgI did manage to get this picture in the chapel dedicated to Santiago Matamoros. I was interested in visiting the treasury and the (reputedly) only remaining example of a medieval cathedral cloister in Galicia but I didn’t want to dish out five Euros. Besides, it was almost 10h00 and we had so many kilometres yet to walk. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7336/8984466227_e95cdcae1d_o.jpgThe cathedral is mostly known for its Gothic façade which dates from 1225 and was created by French stonemasons. Its sculptures depict scenes from the life of Christ and the life of the Virgin. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7411/8984463823_0accb050e1_o.jpgLeaving town, we had to walk the Rua das Monxas or Nun’s Way past the Convento de Clarisas with its huge walls and grilled windows enclosing the order of nuns of St. Clare. Further on was the 14th century church of Santo Domingo. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7323/8984462771_cb4dc8b85a_o.jpgLike most places in Spain, you have to pay 1 Euro to have the lights illuminate the altars and of course, the machine ate my coin. While the others continued walking without me, I decided to explore the gardens behind the church. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3710/8985656678_f08b6efa3f_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2821/8985655884_4174c60169_o.jpgFrom here there was another stunning view over the Minho River. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5350/8984459163_4cdcb71094_o.jpgThis is the 11th century Romanesque monastic church of San Bartoloméu de Rebordáns. I wanted to take a photograph of the very old fresco painting in the apse but a very angry lady stopped me before I had the chance to focus my camera. From here one leaves the town past the pilgrim statue and crosses the Ponte da Veiga over the rio Louro. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3805/8985652886_0ae7f05339_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3696/8984460179_ff8157ae03_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7289/8985651002_f45d3aa481_o.jpgThe ancient Via Romana XIX winds through here and crosses over the new motorway. The rain began to pour again and I slowly made my way down the highway wondering if I was ever going to meet up again with my friends. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3723/8984455389_3761046d49_o.jpgThis is the Cruceiro San Telmo with a cross marking the mournful spot where San Telmo (Blessed Peter González ) fell sick and died of a fever in 1251 on his way back from a pilgrimage to Santiago. I think it was around here that I started counting hórreos. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5443/8985647962_510b48d5de_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3789/8984452217_039c8e30e6_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7300/8984447715_f9207b0efa_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7306/8985640980_88a9a639ac_o.jpgThese agricultural constructions are used to dry, cure and store corn and other cereals. They are quite unique to Galicia and consist of an oblong storage chamber with narrow spaces on the sides to allow air to pass through. They are raised off the ground to keep out small animals. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5343/8985645028_7ed01b3689_o.jpgThe path is quite scenic for about five kilometres but before long the way leads to Porriño with its huge industrial park that one must traverse for more than six kilometres—it is truly one of the most awful places along the Camino Portugués—soulless and unsightly. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7338/8984445741_86c296e26a_o.jpgI must have walked what seemed a lifetime while cars and trucks spewing carbon monoxide fumes drove past honking their horns or trying to run me down. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5456/8985639304_5e72187349_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5335/8984444311_423fcf6586_o.jpgFrom here on in there was absolutely nothing of interest to see along the camino. I caught up with Frank and we walked together in the hope that we would eventually catch up with Tommy and Andreas who were somewhere ahead of us. At this point, I lost all hope of ever reaching Redondela. http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2870/8985637544_1366236efa_o.jpgThis is the Capela da Virxe da Guía somewhere along the road going through Porriño. After a few wrong turns, we stopped at a bakery and bought some cookies that we planned on sharing with the others once we caught up with them. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7444/8984441349_9126470a7b_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7347/8985634638_4c6b5aaf50_o.jpgOnce we reached the Casa Consistorial, the ornately decorated town hall built in 1924 and designed by Antonio Palacio (the statue in front of the building), we got a phone call from the others asking us to find a taxi and pick them up. I guess there was no way in hell we were going to finish the next 12 kilometers to Redondela on foot—we were all so tired and the chances of finding a bed at the albergue were quite slim. Apparently, even in May the beds fill up fast since accommodation in Redondela is questionable. I would have felt guilty for taking a taxi but this wasn’t like my camino last year where I insisted on doing everything by the book and walking every inch of the way. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3730/8985633124_ee70569a5d_o.jpgNot far from the Fonte do Cristo we hopped a taxi and used our few words of Spanish to tell him that we wanted him to pick up our friends and drive us all the way to Redondela. It was a tight fit but we all managed to fit inside. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING good to say about Redondela except that it has roads that lead OUT of it—this way you can leave if you want to. My God, did I want to!!! Redondela is a dump without any redeeming qualities whatsoever. There is nothing to see and nowhere to eat a nice meal. Once we reached the albergue, Tommy went inside to secure our beds but was turned away since they were already full. http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5447/8984437095_fb8386bdb8_o.jpgFortunately, our guidebook said there was another place we could try called the Albergue el Camino. Once we found it, we had to call the owner and see if he could let us in. He said that he had some beds left but that we had to wait until he arrived before we could rest our weary bones. While we were sitting in the stairwell waiting for him to arrive, another group of pilgrims arrived and they insisted on letting them pass by so they could get to their room. I was in no mood to argue with them but Frank wasn’t about to let them skirt the rules and told them that they had to wait just like everyone else. Of course a huge argument ensued and I was afraid that fists were going to start flying. I must say that Frank was in the right but I think we made an enemy and staying in the same albergue wasn’t going to make our night enjoyable. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3742/8985630190_6f4a7fe824_o.jpgThe rooms were cramped with barely any room between bunks to store our belongings or to even move around but we were all pretty happy that we could stay together in one room. Charly finally arrived (doing the entire distance on his own by foot) around 18h30. Once I had my shower, I collected everyone’s dirty clothes and sought out a laundromat. The lady was nice enough to do our clothes but I would have to come back and pick everything up later in the evening. I was pretty disappointed when one of my shirts came back covered in rust stains. As we were leaving the albergue to find a place to eat, we came across a guy from Lithuania travelling on bicycle who was trying to find a place to stay the night. It seems our albergue was now full and the only option left to him was to find a fire station or gymnasium. I hope that he found something! Finding a place to eat was a complete nightmare. The town is full of cafes and bars but none of them served inexpensive pilgrim meals. We did find an Italian restaurant but the hostess refused to let us all sit together at one large table. There was no one in the entire place so we started to put tables together but this only upset her even more. At this point, I wasn’t about to sit and have some pushy, impolite waitress (who obviously didn’t want our business) to ruin my meal. We all agreed to leave and find something else. After some thought, I guess she had every reason to be uptight. When you go to any other country, you need to conform to their unwritten rules of restaurant behaviour. Here we were rearranging tables and chairs to suit our needs. What a terrible day. What a terrible evening. What a terrible town…everyone’s feathers were a bit ruffled I guess. We ended up eating slop from a menu that none of us could interpret. Even the waiter was clueless. He showed us that we could order hamburgers and fries but when we got our plates we did not have anything resembling a hamburger. http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3667/8984438273_e332450075_o.jpgAfter we ate, we found a place to have a few drinks then Tommy and I went back to the room while the others decided to hit the town and find some more places to drink. Our room had three new pilgrims who weren’t there when we left for dinner and they were all wet from biking in the rain. They snored all night long. Stay away from Redondela if you ever plan on walking the Camino Portugués. Without any regrets, I am warning future pilgrims of this unsightly and ungodly horror NOW.  This place is the armpit of Spain—something they should truly be ashamed of in every way. Most people would say that if I couldn’t say anything nice, I shouldn’t say it at all but that would mean that future pilgrims reading this would not be completely informed about what they are getting themselves into. If just one person heeds my warnings about how truly awful Redondela is, then I’ve done my duty.

 

Repost 0
Published by The Baguette - in Chemin de St-Jacques
July 24 2013 4 24 /07 /July /2013 15:28

Monday, May 6, 2013 -- Ponte de Lima to Valença

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2852/8984511903_d4210bdae5_o.jpgThe path out of town was nice and fairly easy to follow but I still managed to get turned around several times—almost walking over a bridge that wasn't even in the guidebook before I realized that I was no longer on the Camino path.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2890/8985704878_8244d1238a_o.jpgThis is the church in Arcozelo.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7354/8984507917_b11e96fc3f_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8408/8984505159_d8d66940ee_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7427/8984504167_7e790fba0e_o.jpgFrom here the way meandered along lanes and earth tracks through the beautiful scenery of the Labruja valley.  Yes, those are huge piles of cow dung ready to be spread across the fields.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7339/8985700998_0d48ce7f37_o.jpgThis is the medieval Ponte Arco da Geia which used to be part of an important military route between Braga and Astorga.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2857/8984502961_9e868aae52_o.jpgFortunately, my friends waited for me at a café near Revolta and we all enjoyed a nice breakfast of fruit and coffee.  Some of them took in a game of Tischfußball before we all headed out toward Revolta and started the uphill climb to the Alto da Portela Grande.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2825/8985695290_2c767d5740_o.jpgThis is the Capela de São Sebastião in Revolta.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3707/8984498025_dd3c5aa40d_o.jpgNear the Fonte das Três Bicas, Frank and I saw these pointed stacks of old corn stalks.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2850/8984495431_756c78f1b7_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3701/8984494261_15dafc0ca2_o.jpgTogether we walked up the hill and passed the Cruz dos Franceses before reaching the top.  There was a short break in the drizzle that we started to experience earlier in the day but that didn't last long and we carefully climbed down the hill and into the town of Rubiães where we were all planning to stay at the albergue and eat dinner at the restaurant Bom Retiro that was supposed to be very good.  Well, the albergue was closed and we didn’t feel like waiting around all day for it to open so we just took a nice break at the restaurant.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7352/8985686794_4ba82fd92c_o.jpgSince we hadn’t walked very long (only about 18km), we decided to keep walking until we reached Valença, about 16 kilometers away.  I was already tired but I agreed with everyone else and after several bowls of delicious vegetable soup, we headed out in the rain.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7306/8985682478_65debc56f4_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7337/8984486499_7fe7cb9df8_o.jpgThe Via Romana runs through Rubiães and it is just as awful as the rest of the Camino with cobblestones and loose rocks everywhere.  At times it felt like I was walking through an old riverbed and not a path.  The heel on my right foot was giving me some pain and I ended up walking very slowly behind everyone else.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2859/8984484233_a8d5eb2942_o.jpgI thought I’d be alone until Valença but when I reached Fontoura Fuente, I came across Frank trying to buy some ice cream at a small market.  Of course, the old man didn’t have the flavor Frank wanted but we both settled for something nice and sweet and covered in chocolate.  From then on we walked together in the pouring rain until we met up with the others at the Café St. Martin in Arão.  From here onward I have no more photographs of the day--it was raining too hard outside and whenever I was indoors I was too tired to take any.  There we decided to go to a hotel in Valença called Val Flores because we called ahead of time and reserved some rooms.  I coughed up 25 Euros for a single room.  The manager said that the rooms had heaters so we would be able to dry our wet clothes but he lied.  The heaters were not working.  You know, it is one thing to NOT have something and it is another thing to lie about it just to get people to stay at your hotel.  The people running the hotel were not very helpful either.  They grudgingly dried my wet things in their dryer in the basement but when my friends wanted to have their things dried too, the dryer was suddenly not an option anymore.   The forecast calls for more rain tomorrow so I am not too happy about that.  In order to find a place to eat near the hotel, we had to get wet again.  We ended up eating in a cantina that had nothing good on the menu.  There were some other pilgrims in the cantina who were eating a huge plate of sausages that looked simply delicious.  Even though we asked to have the same thing, the waiter brought us a beef stew that looked nothing like the food others in the restaurant were eating.  It was a huge disappointment.  I can’t remember who it was who found a place to buy some beer but we ended up going back to the hotel and drinking in the empty restaurant.  We also played a fun card game called Der Große Dalmuti which is similar to an American card game called A--hole.  I’ve never heard of either game but it was fun to learn nonetheless.  The object of the game is to get rid of your cards by playing groupings of the same rank, such as three 4s. The rules seem easy enough but I wasn’t too sure about what I was doing even after about an hour of playing.  I just went along as best I could and ended up being 3 out of 5.  Learned a new phrase today from wilde Ostern: “Auf die kakahauen” which is slang essentially meaning “Let’s Party!”

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2827/8984512801_fabd16f88f_o.jpg

Repost 0
Published by The Baguette - in Chemin de St-Jacques
July 13 2013 7 13 /07 /July /2013 07:56

 http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3692/8984165593_3410642f83_o.jpg

Sunday, May 5, 2013 -- Tamel S. Pedro Fins to Ponte de Lima

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7322/8984175599_5271c85972_o.jpgI started walking with Andreas and Frank this morning but I parted ways with them at the Ponte das Tábuas along one of the most awful parts of the Camino path in order to visit the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora da Aparecida in Balugãeshttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8398/8984169859_c49f7433fa_o.jpgOn August 15 each year, there is a pilgrimage to this shrine where a miracle happened in 1702 and a young shepherd who was deaf and dumb regained his hearing and speech after an appearance of the Virgin.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7448/8985365904_c0d3f1a516_o.jpgA chapel was built on the spot where she appeared and according to tradition, if you want to wash your sins away forever, all you need to do is climb through the narrow tunnel left beneath the chapel.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2866/8984167411_b0bfca29f6_o.jpgBetter said than done since both sides of the tunnel were fenced off and locked; I was able to stick my camera inside the metal railing and grab a photograph but I’m not sure what I was supposed to see.  Walking around the property, I was pleased to find several water fountains to fill up my drinking bottles before heading out of town to rejoin my comrades.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5470/8985364204_968469dec1_o.jpgThere were no arrows showing me how to get back to the pilgrim path and the directions in my guidebook were practically in Japanese so I just kept walking in the direction that I “thought” I should go until I reached (completely by chance) the old Romanesque church of Balugães.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3754/8984166727_376b402030_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5338/8985361054_877835bf84_o.jpgThe waymarked route opened up to me there and led through a small woodland of pine trees before reaching the Capela São Sebastião near Lugar do Corgo.  I heard the bells ringing for Mass at the church in Vitorino dos Piâes and walked through the busy parking lot filling with church goers.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5447/8984164679_799a270993_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7411/8985359154_95a2ffa345_o.jpgI wanted to stay and attend but I wasn’t sure how much that would put me back so I just explored the local cemetery and the interesting collection of carvings and sarcophagi in the forecourt of the church before moving on.  The pilgrim path is just awful.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3782/8985358174_bbb00e5f52_o.jpgIf it isn’t mud and rocks then it is bumpy cobblestones or asphalt.  It’s hard to complain when surrounded by such nice scenery as eucalyptus trees, vineyards, orchards and fields of drying hay.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8122/8984162069_a239ee671a_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3744/8984157593_e10d65909b_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5347/8985345406_c277dd82de_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8413/8985343290_9cc640f24d_o.jpgStill, I was very hungry and unsure if my companions were ahead of me or somewhere behind.  I ended up stopping at a restaurant called the Café Lotus in Seara where I sent a text asking them where they were.  Since they were not far behind I just sat down and ordered a beer and a sandwich.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2808/8985341094_d43fcefe77_o.jpgThis is a busy place with not only thirsty and hungry pilgrims but many locals who crowd around the bar and try to outdo one another by seeing who can talk the loudest.  Such a noisy bunch !  When the rest of my group showed up we each had a beer before heading out once again for Ponte de Lima.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3712/8984151293_a803ff8694_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7442/8984142787_24d6d650d7_o.jpgThe remainder of the pilgrim path winds its way through small farming communities and hamlets such as Pedrosa with its famous Cruceiro erected in 1636.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7368/8984142133_b55ed8c871_o.jpgThis is the medieval Ponte de Barros which crosses the Rio Trovela just before reaching the Capela da Sra. Das Neves outside of Ponte de Lima.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5450/8984140479_cf88ec861b_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3684/8985334716_7c85358059_o.jpgThe farms along the way were all so nice with their fields rich with green grains and hanging grapevines.  There was a spring in my step after lunch and I found myself walking a lot faster than the others.  Nearing the Capela de Nossa Senhora da Guia just before Ponte de Lima, I came across several pilgrims who were walking in the opposite direction.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7405/8985332708_2c68b93028_o.jpgWhen I asked them where they were going, they told me that they had already been to the albergue in town and it wasn’t going to open for pilgrims until 17h00.  They didn’t want to wait around all day so they were going to the youth hostel where they could get a bed, a shower and wash some clothes.  In hindsight, I should have done the same thing since I really needed to do some laundry and I really needed the sun to dry everything.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8416/8985329302_b2402f983b_o.jpgIn a bit of a quandary, I just sat on the steps to the Igreja de S. Francisco e S. António dos Capuchos, a 16th century church turned museum called Museu dos Terceiros with its impressive baroque façade.  Although I wanted to go inside, I feared that my friends would pass me by so I decided to wait and go inside later (I never did).  Once they showed up, we walked together into a very crowded town filled with visitors.  We asked if there was something special going on like a fair or a festival but we were told that it was just a normal, busy weekend.  Many of the main sites and buildings of interest are clustered around the town center and were easy to visit on our way in before crossing the medieval bridge to the new albergue.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5330/9116307788_05bdf39064_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7303/8985323916_7ea45551b9_o.jpgThis is the Monumento às Feiras Novas (the new fairs), a tribute to the ethnographic history of the local people who were given royal provision by king Peter IV of Portugal to hold a large fair here every September.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7441/8985321992_4fb7ba22d1_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3750/8984132079_519c753aaf_o.jpgTo the left, looking across the Rio Lima, is a legion of Roman soldiers a reminder to everyone that Ponte de Lima was historically significant as a Roman settlement along the road from Braga to Santiago de Compostela and Lugo.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7345/8985323058_41d07ca38a_o.jpgThis is the Torre da Cadeia Velha, a 14th century prison tower which now houses a public library.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2851/8985302192_24ea5ebcf5_o.jpgBehind it is an evocative 18th century statue of a local woman carrying a water jar called the Estatueta uma Cantareira.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7361/8985304616_662434dd2f_o.jpgThis is the Igreja Matriz, a 15th century parish church.  Since we had so much time on our hands, we stopped at an outdoor café called the Restaurante Parisiense to drink some coffee and watch the tourists walk by.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5322/8984123071_df4ec168fb_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8136/8985317422_b893414bfd_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3760/8984121987_a75943458e_o.jpgThis is the Torre de S. Paulo, part of the original 14th century defensive walls of the town.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7410/8985315052_bc30200eca_o.jpgOccupying the center of the main square is a beautiful fountain called the Chafariz built 1603.  It is surrounded by many pleasant cafes and restaurants--a great place to hang out if you want to watch people.  We decided that we would come back later in the evening and have a few drinks.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5449/9114058353_93df371fa9_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2866/8984125075_e213e435b7_o.jpgThe medieval stone bridge was rebuilt in 1368 on Roman foundations.  This handsome bridge is 300 meters long and only 4 meters wide forming a pedestrian link between the busy side of town and the quieter northern quarter.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3702/9114047303_04fb3ccd4d_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2860/8985306600_e97dc2b3e2_o.jpgWe had so much time before the albergue opened up we decided to spend the afternoon lying on the grass in the Jardims Temáticos, a beautiful arrangement of small themed gardens nestled just behind the albergue and the nearby Capela de S. António da Torre Velha.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5342/8984116541_a054abe333_o.jpgTommy found a bar nearby and bought several bottles of beer which we drank while waiting for the albergue to open its doors.  We were the first ones in line to get our beds when the albergue finally opened but it took almost an hour to sign in as the check-in process was exceptionally slow.http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7331/8984118051_d61529a94e_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3779/8984110923_b2a66d81e7_o.jpgThe volunteer hospitalero took so much unnecessary time and unimportant information from each of us that by the time we got to our beds and took our showers, it was already past 18h00.  I wanted to spend whatever amount of daylight that was left exploring the town so I headed off without everyone else and told them I would meet them on the bridge when they were ready to go to dinner.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5348/8985305194_3c7be2c175_o.jpgThis is the Capela do Anjo da Guarda or outdoor chapel of the Guardian Angel which sits beside the Lima River.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2880/8985304062_02bb07a8e8_o.jpgThis is the statue of Dona Teresa holding out a scroll of paper (Carta de Foral) which is meant to be the town charter given on March 4, 1125, officially making Ponte de Lima the oldest chartered town in Portugal.  I must say that Ponte de Lima is one of the most delightful places I’ve had the pleasure of visiting along the Camino.  It is rich with beautiful old buildings and maintains a sleepy medieval atmosphere.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5324/8984108213_8ea19ca072_o.jpgPalácio dos Marqueses de Ponte de Lima  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3746/8985301330_f91626f885_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7308/8984106639_99ecff87b9_o.jpgThis is just another church located along the river called the Igreja de São João Baptista.  I met the others sometime around 19h00 on the bridge and we all headed to a restaurant called Gaio where we all had the pilgrim menu for only 7 Euros.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3676/8985300418_9e4f6a7cc6_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8279/8984102355_0786feb6f7_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2867/8985297176_b13ae93c82_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8400/8984101555_8f8f51fe60_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7453/8985295706_4578de558f_o.jpgAfterward, we went to the town square and had a few drinks in a small café.  By this time, it was getting dark and the tourists had all left for the day.  It was a perfect opportunity to get some nice photos of the sunset and more statues dedicated to the local peasant farmers.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3681/8984103967_22e671f1e7_o.jpgIn front of the Torre de Cadeia, our shadows stretched long and we thought this would make a nice photo opportunity.  I think if I ever do the Camino again, I’d like to spend a lot more time in Ponte de Lima.  I never did get to visit the museum or go inside some of the old buildings.  Oh well, that’s just how it goes sometimes along the Camino—you don’t get to see everything despite your best intentions. 

Repost 0
Published by The Baguette - in Chemin de St-Jacques
July 2 2013 3 02 /07 /July /2013 12:11

Saturday, May 4, 2013 -- Sâo Pedro de Rates to Tamel S. Pedro Fins

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5467/8985421586_aa7d716a87_o.jpgWell, none of us slept well last night.  The beds where too small and my feet kept touching the end, cars drove up and down the busy street just outside the albergue and several people in the room snored all night long.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7397/9114081107_544d84509d_o.jpgI was pretty miserable and grouchy all morning although I tried not to let it show.  At one point along the way, Tommy and I stopped to listen to church bells ringing from three different churches in the distance—it was like THX surround sound.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7387/8985421216_d2c9e3f833_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8120/8984224557_fa1c09f6d6_o.jpgThere was a beautiful sunrise over the eucalyptus woodland which we walked through for about 7km before reaching Pedra Furada where we stopped at the famous café and had ham and cheese sandwiches with freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8395/8984218033_e252ebe002_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2833/8985414932_1d39abd00c_o.jpgAndreas got a text from Frank telling us that he had gotten lost and needed directions so we all sat around waiting for him.  By the time he arrived I was already finished with my food and drink and ready to go so I told everyone I was going to take the alternative route to Monte Franqueria and visit the 18th century chapel, a pilgrimage site in its own right.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3680/8984217609_d1f382d6f8_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7305/8985411222_99edcab33c_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7441/8985407602_552dc18aaa_o.jpgThe road climbs up a steep hill for about 2km which is quite exhausting but one is rewarded at the top with a viewing balcony with great views over Barcelos and the Cávado Valley.  Inside the chapel I was able to have my credencial stamped by an elderly lady who was busy sweeping the floor and getting the place ready for a wedding.   Going down the hill, I thought I’d be able to visit the Castelo de Faria and the remains of a medieval tower but despite my best efforts I was unable to find signs anywhere.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5324/8985405014_8b62546cd6_o.jpgI eventually came to the Convento dos Frades which I guess is also called the Convento da Franqueira and serves as a hotel for pilgrims willing to dish out 50 Euros or more per night.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3719/8985402270_a78c0ff8d1_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8550/8984206881_6c9e4b5606_o.jpgIt was here that I met up with my friends again and together we walked through the sweet-smelling eucalyptus forest past the parish church in Carvalhal and past the Capela da Santa Cruz into the industrial area of Barcelos.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8114/8985401192_e709b875b2_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3737/8985400610_2ae819041c_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7282/8985398404_17b0523774_o.jpgBefore entering the city, we had to cross a medieval bridge over the Cávado River.  Just in front of us was the 15th century Solar dos Pinheiros manor house and the remains of the 15th century Palace of the Counts, Paço dos Condes now an open air archaeological museum with the pillory (Pilourinho) portraying the legend of the Galo de Barcelos that rose from the table of the judge who had wrongly condemned a pilgrim to Santiago to hang from the nearby gallows.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7281/8985397940_71017d9c46_o.jpgThe pilgrim had proclaimed his innocence and stated that if he were wrongly condemned to hang then a dead cock would rise from the judge’s table in proof of his righteousness.  The innocent boy was hanged and sure enough a roasted cock stood up on the judge’s plate as he sat for dinner that night.  The bewildered judge hurried from his table to find the pilgrim alive on the gallows—saved by the miraculous intervention of Saint James and the Barcelos cockerel, a colourful symbol for Portuguese identity.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8263/8985399510_8ac35488f2_o.jpgNearby it is the 14th century parish church, Igreja Matriz with its fine display of glazed tiles.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3665/8984202545_0de536ebe4_o.jpgOn the opposite side of the square is the sumptuously restored town hall and council office Paços do Concelho formerly a hostel for pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5332/8985396860_31e72ee414_o.jpgJust behind it is the Largo do Apoio the original town square around which the nobility built their houses with its central fountain.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5452/8984189093_3a94e71a8f_o.jpgBarcelos was packed with visitors and locals who had gathered for one of the most important religious festivals around, the Festa das Cruzes (Festival of the Crosses), which is held at the beginning of May.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7400/8984200597_6faf8c7dcf_o.jpgThe festival revolves around the Igreja do Senhor Bom Jesus da Cruz and is related to the mysterious appearance of a cross made of black earth on the fairground in December 1504, and where a small chapel was immediately built in recognition of this divine signal.  Two centuries later, in 1704, work began on the building of a new church on the same site, designed by João Antunes.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2813/8984199293_8abcf63293_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7400/8985392064_9854453cb0_o.jpgIts most notable features are the carved and gilded woodwork of the altars of Senhor Bom Jesus da Cruz and Nossa Senhora das Dores dating back to the 16th century and the 18th-century, and the azulejo panels by João Neto, a prestigious Lisbon tilemaker.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7365/8984196223_1005a41694_o.jpgThe flower carpets which are made in front of the altars each year are a huge attraction to thousands of devotees who visit the temple at the time of the Festa das Cruzes.  Other sights within the church include decorated floats with religious icons to be carried during parades.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5461/8984197723_0df7a8b8e5_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5454/8985389026_b6aa917ef7_o.jpgAs a group, we all sat outside near the fountain and watched musicians and performers gather for the parade of gigantes y cabezudos (giants and big-heads).  I thought we would sit here most of the afternoon and head for the albergue after lunch but I was wrong.  No one wanted to eat and no one wanted to stay in Barcelos except me.  I wasn’t upset but I did want to hang out a little while longer so when they headed out for Tamel S. Pedro Fins, I told them I would catch up later.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7357/8985386536_c3f0866d5b_o.jpgI proceeded to the fairground with its food booths, carnival rides, games and market with local products including pottery and thousands of Barcelos roosters.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7311/8984190775_d9c13312ae_o.jpgI thought of my friends and bought each of them a small rooster and a set of hors d'oeuvre picks for me.  The long haul out of town stretched for a gruelling 10km through city suburbs and then more forests and farms with no water fountains in sight.  As usual, I forgot to fill up before leaving and suffered for a long time without anything to drink.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7432/8985383228_546d68c22e_o.jpgIn desperation I prayed that there would be a water fountain near the Igreja de Vila Boa and wouldn’t you know it?  God heard me and I drank my fill before continuing over railroad tracks near Ribeira.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7443/8985378194_ba9eaa6898_o.jpgThis is the Capela de Santa Cruz in Ribeira built in the 19th century to honor a miracle that happened here in 1843.  Reportedly, on a Sunday, June 11, 1843, the parish was having their annual procession of São Sebastião.  On their way to the São Sebastião chapel, they came upon a cross formed on the ground.  The following Sunday, some parishioners who had knowledge of this were at the scene and surrounded the area with a simple fence, so that the animals could not touch that ground.  I’m still a little unclear as to what the miracle was…anyone could have put the cross there…  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3744/8985378678_0ec6aba391_o.jpgThis is the chapel of São Sebastião in Lijó where all of the parishioners were headed on the day of the procession.  The albergue in Tamel S. Pedro Fins is located in a renovated building called the Recoleta da Portela which used to be a residence for hermit monks who made their home here in 1720s.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3778/8985372590_239a720dc0_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5330/8985373354_1321cfab36_o.jpgIt was quite nice but I wasn’t too pleased with having a top bunk on a bed that shook every time I moved.  In order to get a good night’s sleep, I took the mattress down and slept on the floor.  This was definitely the right thing to do since I ended up getting up several times during the night to pee.  My bladder must be the size of bean !  Right beside the albergue is the Capela Sra. da Portela whose interior is decorated with several statues to Our Lady including the Fatima statue and Our Lady of Lourdes.  My late arrival meant that I would miss evening Mass which was packed with people—many were standing just outside the main doorway.  I did get to go inside after the service and take a few photos.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3782/8984182675_f4788edc27_o.jpgFor dinner, we all went to the Restaurant 2000, a nearby café that had a pilgrim menu for 6 Euros.  I ordered from an 8 Euro menu and had the seafood spaghetti and vegetable soup.  Pilgrim menu or not, each of our meals came out to nearly double what we expected because we ordered ice cream (way overpriced) for dessert and an after dinner drink (even more overpriced)—be warned, this is how they gouge a pilgrim’s wallet.  Total distance walked today was about 27 kilometers.  

Repost 0
Published by The Baguette - in Chemin de St-Jacques
June 24 2013 2 24 /06 /June /2013 15:04

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3813/8985170436_519a6ed444_o.jpgFriday, May 3, 2013 -- Lavra to Sâo Pedro de Rates

I think all of us slept very well last night.  Tommy was nice enough to go into the village and buy all of us croissants for breakfast.  It’s always good to have something to eat before hiking.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7363/8983973653_196a70ce39_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3715/8985168680_4520d32080_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7306/8985166964_a850b6b467_o.jpgTogether, we continued walking the coastal route past a spot along the beach called São Paio where we all stopped to remove some layers of clothing and take a small break before going on.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2845/8983967199_feaa8cbbe9_o.jpgI wasn’t in the mood to just sit around after barely getting started so I left before everyone else and stopped briefly near the Capela de São Paio to see if I could find anything relating to the Iron Age settlement that my guidebook said would be here.  I didn’t see anything.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3686/8985161622_7b59e8da71_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2863/8983964341_63eb026d8f_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2839/8983963853_769469ba6b_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8549/8985161188_7b37224fe6_o.jpgThe others caught up with me in the fishing town of Vila Chã where we stopped to have some coffee.  Just beside the café was the community lavoir with several women doing laundry by hand and exchanging gossip.  After walking several hours through roads that led through dunes and marshes of Mindelo, I finally reached the town just before Vila do Conde called Azurara where I came to a church called Igreja de Santa Maria de Azurara.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8277/8985155888_6c4e232e73_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3703/8983961619_0c99278b54_o.jpgI wanted to go inside but the doors were closes so I started to walk around the exterior until I saw an elderyl  lady with two buckets of flowers unlocking the doors.  I asked her if I could come inside and she graciously took me by the hand and led me around the interior of the church.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2873/8985153750_4f06d7ebf9_o.jpgAt nearly every side chapel she would stop and point, speaking to me in Portuguese about what I was seeing and giving me the names of several religious statues.  I didn’t understand much at all but she kept talking anyway.  Eventually, I left the church and the old lady wished me a “Bom Caminho” (the traditional Portuguese greeting and farewell to Camino pilgrims).  From one side of the River Ave before crossing the bridge into town, one is greeted by the imposing walls of the huge convent of Santa Clara, one of the biggest and richest convents in Portugal, founded in 1318, by Afonso Sanches and his wife, Teresa Martins.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5467/8985153074_05f8ef8853_o.jpgThe views entering the city are so breath-taking that I almost failed to see my friends who were waving at me to come and sit with them at a nice restaurant on the village square called Le Villageois.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3698/8985151646_e8ce756a3a_o.jpgI had fish soup and a smoked tuna salad.  While the others left Vila do Conde without exploring, I decided to stay and have a good look around.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5459/8983951869_5ab93fd689_o.jpgThe park along the river is shaded with trees and lined with monuments to the city’s past like this one called Rendilheira, a tribute to the town’s lace making history.  The medieval part of town is famous for its 17th century Capela de Nossa Senhora do Socorro and its white dome implanted on a rocky escarpment over the Ave River and overlooking the harbour.  http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7400/8983949559_9288cac07d_o.jpghttp://farm6.staticflickr.com/5464/8985144246_10f93b8dbe_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7334/8983947571_dd0daa35b3_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3667/8983946905_984b612107_o.jpgThe interior is quite small with a square plan and covered in 18th century azulejos which show the life of Christ.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2824/8985147024_028f181d65_o.jpgIn the nearby park is a replica of a sixteenth century Portuguese sailing ship, a tribute to the carpenters and master naval builders who contributed throughout the centuries toward placing Vila do Conde on the map.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3725/8983944981_9f93f24179_o.jpgThis is another park along the river called the Praça D. João II.  At the top of the hill leaving the town is the Convento de Santa Clara with its imposing church.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2826/8983941731_797617bc2e_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7358/8985139894_0b9b52896c_o.jpgBeside it are the remains of the Aqueducto de Vila do Conde -- initially constructed between 1705 and 1714, it had 999 arches and ran for four kilometres.  It is the second longest in Portugal, connecting a spring in Terroso, Póvoa de Varzim, with a fountain inside the Convento.  http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5456/8985135498_7dd9497fde_o.jpgThe way out of town was very hot (I had very little drinking water left, and nowhere to fill up my canteen) and along asphalt or cobblestone streets which were just awful on my feet.  Nearly a third of the Camino Portugués is along roadways like this while another third are on extremely dangerous, uneven and rocky paths.  (On a personal note, I don’t think I’ll ever walk this route again because it is so poorly maintained.)  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2806/8985132968_49ea2fd7de_o.jpgI eventually caught up with my friends at the monastery church, Igreja de São Simão da Junqueira founded in the 11th century.  It’s a shame we couldn’t go inside and take a look.  Most churches are closed in the afternoons.  http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8538/8985131586_edd28b1837_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8120/8985130144_5aee9b0f2a_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3735/8983930471_eebb17c3e8_o.jpgFrom here we walked through vast fields of bright yellow flowers, freshly cut hay and grapevines trained to grow in right angles high above the ground.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3793/8983928919_39cefe077a_o.jpghttp://farm4.staticflickr.com/3795/8983926031_092884a4ff_o.jpgSâo Pedro de Rates is most famous for its Romanesque church begun in the 12th century and the holy relics that once were kept inside.  Saint Peter of Rates is traditionally considered to be the first bishop of Braga between the years 45 and 60.  Tradition says he was ordered to preach the Christian faith by Saint James the Great.  He was beheaded in Rates due to converting pagans to Christianity.  Centuries later, around the 9th century, Saint Félix, a hermit, discovered the remains and had a monastery built on the spot.  The relics of the saints were kept here until 1552 when they were transferred to Braga cathedral where they have been ever since.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3822/8985422472_d42740f502_o.jpghttp://farm8.staticflickr.com/7370/8983922343_07792857d3_o.jpghttp://farm3.staticflickr.com/2891/8983921783_18e25c130e_o.jpghttp://farm9.staticflickr.com/8123/8985118648_e54b8c1f21_o.jpgI don’t believe that any of us were pleased with the albergue; even the wilde Ostern turned around and found a different accommodation.  The property has a large courtyard for drying clothes and relaxing and also provides access to a small museum displaying objects typical of rural life in the area.  An interesting building called the Casa de Lavrador can also be found on the property next to the large windmill.  http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2877/9114061099_9bc201a842_o.jpgI claimed a bed in one room but had to change when I realized two small children, undisciplined by their parents, were screaming and crying uncontrollably.  http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3815/8983923735_7d9a920d9c_o.jpgWe were all pretty hungry and headed out for dinner at the Café San Antonio where they only served a few dishes—all of us had fish and caldo verde for about 9 Euros each.  Distance walked today was about 29 kilometers.http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3753/9116311256_5324282085_o.jpg  

Repost 0
Published by The Baguette - in Chemin de St-Jacques
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.

Repost 0
Published by The Baguette - in Chemin de St-Jacques