Camino Portuguese XII

When Rob discovered a pair of kid’s socks in his pack this morning he was surprised.

When I opened a small packet of butter to spread on our bread rolls this morning I was surprised to discover fresh yeast!

 As we were walking across this bridge we were startled to hear sirens start sounding. We quickened our pace and made it across just before the bridge rose behind us!

And more surprises were in store. We  were surprised (but pleasantly so) to be cold all day – this evening we’re even wearing longs and fleeces! 18 degrees is not tropical after mid-thirties.

IMG_4140   Rob thought someone was pushing his pack, but it turned to be the wind!

 We knew we were to spend a lot of the day on boardwalks; what we did not know was that they would disappear. So we scrambled along the beach and dipped fingers in the un-tropical water.


We were walking along the coast, but we did not know we would pass a wee fishing community. Although it was still early in the morning, a group of men were cooking fish over some coals. Others were dragging a boat up the beach with a tractor. Still more were laying nets out to dry.

After a morning of most people not returning our “Bom dia” greetings, we were surprised when an 81-year-old man started chatting and sharing his life story. Although he had never studied languages at school and only spoke “street language” as he called it, his English was impeccable. Born in this wee town, he had left it as a youngster, going to Rhodhesia and the Congo to work. Like his father, and his grandfather before him, fishing was in his blood. Eventually he returned to Vila Cha, where we were sitting in the restaurant he had opened. The curtains had sailing boats on them – the boat his grandfather had built. Half his teeth were missing, but he smiled generously as he talked. Another pleasant surprise.

Later, as we sat at the side of the road eating cherries, a pilgrim approached. He did not want to share our fruit and strode on by, but a couple of hours later this Frenchman, Sebastian, was offering to cook us dinner!  Here he is with the leftovers which ended up feeding three Colombians who turned up late.

 A day full of surprises!

Question for the children: What do you think these are for? Hint – they date back to Roman times – the second and third centuries. There are about thirty of them.

Matosinhos to Vairao  via the coast and turning inland at Vila Cha. 26.7km.

For anyone who wants to do this route, it is straightforward IF you have a map to follow. Turn right at the Pucinho Restaurante e Snack-Bar. Most of the way from Vila Cha is on cobblestones with the rest on footpaths or tarmac roads. Cars race by at speed, even on the narrowest roads so pay attention! There are plenty of little food shops and bars along the way.

Ending at the monastery at Vairao is fantastic! The rooms have just 3-6 beds and plenty of space. There is a fully equipped kitchen, no shortage of showers, a beautiful garden. Blankets are provided – and heaters in winter. Best of all is the time when Carla arrives. She breezes in, sharing her passion for the Camino in general and this restored monastery in particular – eventually they are even going to have a museum here. She willingly shared stories and brought the place to life. If every albergue was like this one you might never go home – and indeed you wouldn’t have to as they are open all year round.   Carla


6 thoughts on “Camino Portuguese XII

  1. Love the beaches in Portugal and the quaint fishing villages. Also loving travelling with you from the comfort of my armchair! 🙂

  2. You may have already planned your daily stages, but here are two suggestions of not-to-miss albergues:
    Casa Fernanda, after Barcelos and Quinta Estrada Romana after Rubiaes. Both are unforgettable! Fernanda is well known, the Quinta less so. It is a restored farmhouse, beautifully done, with a very warm welcome from the Canadian host who even does your washing. I stayed at both last month. Both are donativo and both have a private room if you want it.

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