Day 18, Grijó to Porto, 17 km

19 May 2014

This morning began just as strangely as last night ended. I had mentioned to the young woman carer that we would like to leave between 6:30-7:00 am and she said she would tell her colleague to open the gate for us.

Everything was still and quiet as we left the room and we wondered who would be round to unlock for us, but as we opened the front door, so the automatic gate started to creak open to let us out onto the street……very eerie.

I am very grateful to the kindness shown to us over the last couple of days, but I am so very glad I had company, it would all have been too weird to cope with on my own.

We were soon back on the camino and had probably saved ourselves a couple of km’s by getting a lift to the children’s home.

It was very warm with no wind, although there was a lot of cloud cover and the threat of rain.

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The first half of the day’s journey was a lovely walk through interesting towns and villages and a fabulous track through forest. I saw my first pavement sign for the camino before commencing a fairly smart climb into the woods. As usual I was striding ahead of Elly and I came to a point where there was a fork in the path and no sign to indicate the route. I decided I had missed a sign, and retraced my steps and sure enough I found an arrow that I had missed previously showing a right turn.

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All too soon we came to the long approach into Porto, through the suburbs where the Monday morning rush hour was taking place, and on and on into the city. As we got closer the modern buildings began to soar, right alongside beautifully proportioned period properties.

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We finally reached the bridge high above the river Douro and the cityscape that opened up to us across the river was incredible, even on a dull and increasingly cold day. We were overlooking the port wine lodges and could see some familiar trade marks.

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We walked across the bridge alongside the metro line and found our way to the cathedral to get our credentials stamped. As we were leaving I took a photo of the imposing main door of the cathedral and turned around to see this view of a line of washing hanging out to dry, exactly opposite the church steps. A great forward and backward pair of pics.

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We found our accommodation just as the rain started at the Poet’s Hostel In the heart of the city for a cost of 45 euros for a very spacious and stylish twin room with shared facilities. There are plenty of loos and showers and the whole place is very comfortable, with excellent lounging and kitchen areas.

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The rain became torrential so we were in no rush to leave the comfort of the hostel and I could finally post yesterday’s blog. When the weather eased, we followed the recommendation of the receptionist and had an excellent lunch at a nearby restaurant, our first proper meal in three days, and then did some sightseeing, including the fabulous Livraria Lello book shop, with the most incredible decoration and central staircase. One book made me smile, entitled ‘Wedding Knits’ – can’t imagine knitting a wedding dress! Photographs were not allowed in the shop, although that did not stop many people from ignoring the rule and taking them anyway, but I followed instructions so I have taken these pics from the internet.

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We weren’t hungry in the evening after such a good lunch, so just went out for a farewell drink. Elly has decided to take an extra day in Porto, and I am walking on. I came on this adventure to see how I would cope walking on my own. I met Elly through the forum and when we hit it off in Lisbon, we just naturally stuck together, enjoying each other’s company. Hopefully we will get together in Santiago, if not before. I have to admit to being a bit trepidatious about setting off on my own tomorrow, but that is really what this trip was about, so it’s about time I got on with it. Elly has been a great friend for the best part of three weeks and I really appreciate the time we have spent together.

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About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue http://www.magwood.me
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39 Responses to Day 18, Grijó to Porto, 17 km

  1. I’m sure you’ll do well. Might meet someone else to walk with?
    BTW, it occurs to me 45 euros is pretty expensive for one night. If you pay between 10 and 45+ euros a night and we average that out somehow (have no idea where to begin), your pilgrimage isn’t that cheap. I’m converting to Canadian $$ and even in U.S. $$ which isn’t a lot less, this must add up something awful. I don’t know what made me think of this part of the journey. 🙂

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    • magwood says:

      45 euros between us, Tess. But that is still a lot compared to albergue accommodation. From here on there will be many more options for less expensive places to stay. Not many people walk from Lisbon to Porto so they are not so well catered for. It’s a different matter from Porto to Santiago though. Most people start at Porto.

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  2. David Wolfe says:

    Buen Camino as a solo pilgrim my thoughts and love are with you. Good night sleep well David xx

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  3. Lyn says:

    Well done to you both!! Now it’s solo from here. BUEN COMINO …….I look forward to this part of your Camino , the pics and the people you will meet

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  4. Moira O'Malley says:

    Maggie, How are you getting stamps along the way?
    Moira

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  5. Moira O'Malley says:

    Maggie, I am posting again to hopefully receive comments via email. I lost you for about a week! I continue to be impressed with you and your lovely writing. Thank you for sharing! I can’t believe you have the time to do so.

    Like

    • magwood says:

      I’ve had plenty of time the last couple of days. I am making quicker progress on my own. Not necessarily a good thing, but am arriving at my destination very early.

      Like

  6. Janice Tyler says:

    Hope all goes well for your next section but I’m sure you’ll soon meet other new friends too. x

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  7. Keith says:

    That library is fantastic! Love it, Good luck to both of you now that you are setting off on your own

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    • magwood says:

      Many thanks. The book shop was amazing – could have spent hours there. I will hopefully return to Porto as a tourist sometime, and do it justice

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  8. Ann Derrick (OzAnnie ) says:

    Photos wow again ! But can never see enough. You didn’t post a pic of the Porto railway station Magwood. Did you have a bo peep? Walls decorated with those gorgeous Portuguese blue tile in fantastic panorama .

    You will be fine on your own (never alone tho are we?). Glad to see a picture if the mythical Elly too.

    Thank you.

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    • magwood says:

      I didn’t see the station Annie – should have read the book! We didn’t do much sight-seeing because of,the miserable weather. Another time hopefully….

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  9. Rich Cooper says:

    Thank you for your complete and thoughtful (and often pretty) blog and pictures. There is lots to digest as I ready for the late summer / fall journey in your footsteps.

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    • magwood says:

      Are you starting to Lisbon of Porto Rich?

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      • Rich Cooper says:

        Lisbon, I believe. I’ve had several changes in plans which caused me to consider a variance…. but almost 100% Lisbon, now. I’m sorry I missed it if you said, but what is your pack weight? I know some pilgrims don’t like to discuss that so if you wish to not say, that’s fine. I ask because I’m interested about the additional 2 lb (1 Kilo) for a sleeping bag. You seem to not need it.

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      • magwood says:

        I haven’t needed my sleeping bag often, but would not travel without it. For example in the municipal albergue in Tui, and I guess it will be the same throughout Galicia, there is no bedding provided other than a disposable sheet and pillow case. I have bought a very lightweight feather bag and am loving it, it is so cosy and can be opened up to use as a duvet. A huge expense but I am very glad to have it – and half the weight of the synthetic one I took last year.

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  10. Eric Redeker says:

    I am looking forward to the rest of your stories. Are you doing the coastal route?

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  11. Marianne says:

    Did you get to look at the railway station in Porto, Maggie? It’s a great city, isn’t it? Glad you got to see the bookshop – it regularly features in the most beautiful bookshops in the world, list.

    Good luck striding out on your own 🙂

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    • magwood says:

      No Marianne, I didn’t know about it – that will teach me to RTFM! I’d like to go back some time, maybe fly to Lisbon and get the train to Porto, stopping en route.

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  12. Jo Bryant says:

    that bookshop is heavenly Maggie and I loved the shots of the cityscape. Good luck with your solo progress

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  13. Walking alone is a very different matter to having a companion to set off with every day and yes, you do need to be braver. But it’s exciting too and you look at the world in a new way. Good luck. Look forward to hearing how you get on.

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    • magwood says:

      Hi Nancy. It’s not the starting out at the beginning of the day that I find challenging, but the down time at the end of the day. But it is easier than I imagined. I have the blog to keep me (very) busy!

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  14. Georgie Day says:

    I will be walking from Porto to Santiago this coming October. I stumbled upon your blog and really enjoy it. I have just started reading (from Porto on). I am interested to know what the footing is like. I’ve read from others that it is a lot of pavement and cobblestone which will determine my footwear. Also a lot of walking through municipalities which will be disappointing. However your comment about wind/rain on the coastal route bears noting.
    Buen Camino and I look forward to following your journey

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    • magwood says:

      Hi George, you are correct, there is an awful lot of cobbles and asphalt, and it is hard on the soles of the feet. My boots (merrell moabs) were quite worn by the end of my camino. The cobbles are particularly hard on the feet. Nothing feels too bad hen you set out in the morning, but towards the end of your walking day your feet are likely to be a bit tender. I purchased replacement insoles but because of their construction these caused their own problems (albeit minor ones). I would recommend boots or shoes with sturdy soles and good supportive cushioning insoles.

      My com

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      • magwood says:

        My comments about the coastal route are not from direct experience, just supposition. I know a lot of people really enjoy the coastal route. Some of the inland stages are through beautiful and interesting villages but there are also a fair amount of unattractive towns to slog through. Overall though a very positive experience.
        Bom caminho to you

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      • Georgie Day says:

        Thank you so much for your advice. You certainly are well travelled! I and two other friends are setting off in October for two weeks (walked two weeks last October and just had to go back). Two weeks is not near enough but it is all each of us can spare right now. Cobblestones and all, we are looking forward to it.

        (Ms) Georgie

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      • magwood says:

        Sorry Georgie! Two weeks will be plenty of time from Porto, you could even continue to Finisterre perhaps.
        Bom caminho to you and your friends.

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      • Georgie Day says:

        No Problem – I have corrected all my life and think nothing of it. I wouldn’t bother but don’t like to get into a possible running conversation with someone and have them discover I’m not a guy some time down the road! I was named after my grandmother whose christened name was Georgie.

        I could walk to Finisterre and back if on my own, but my friends and I have booked accommodation along the way on this trip so our distances between stops is predetermined. Some time I will venture off on my own with nothing but a backpack and a destination.

        Buen Camino.

        Georgie

        Like

      • magwood says:

        I have to say, I did enjoy stepping out on my own and putting more thought into my journey. I will be much less ‘trepidatious’ next time!

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      • Georgie Day says:

        Perhaps I will as well.

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      • magwood says:

        I’m sure you will Georgie, once you take that first step….

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  15. Rufus de Silva says:

    Hi,
    i plan to do the Camino from Porto to Santiago in May 2016 solo. I live in Scotland. Your blog is lovely. Just studied your equipment list. Did I read right that you carried a 35 litre bag?

    Like

    • magwood says:

      Yes, the body of the pack is 34 or 35 litres, and I believe the ‘lid’ has the capacity for a further 12 litres. Quite adequate for a spring camino. Enjoy your planning and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any further questions.
      Bom caminho!

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