day 19, Porto to Vilarinho, 28 km

I was awake early so quietly got myself ready and crept out of the room, leaving Elly asleep. As forecast, I could hear that it was raining so fitted my home made (well, not exactly home-made, but home ‘adjusted’) backpack raincover. As I was doing this in the hallway, Elly came to say goodbye and I was out of the door by 6am

It was still a bit dark and it was difficult to see the arrows. They are often on lamp posts, but can also be on walls or on kerb stones, so it is necessary to be really vigilant and pay attention at all times. It was a bit intimidating walking the city streets at this hour, but as it got lighter there were plenty of signs to show the way through the unattractive suburbs.

The rain stopped after about half an hour and I began to get a bit hot so as soon as I could find a place where I felt comfortable to stop, I took off my fleece and just wore my thin rain jacket.

My iPhone gps app has the option for a voice to announce the distance travelled at every km, giving time taken and split times. Mine has a woman’s voice and I have christened her Penelope Pocket (because that is where she lives). I’m sure some people would find her very annoying piping up every 10-12 minutes, but I find her quite reassuring – I like to know how far I have travelled and therefore have some idea of how far I still have to go. But I felt a bit anxious about her talking to me from my pocket this morning and turned her voice right down, so as not to attract any unwelcome attention.

It was easy but not nice walking. Nobody makes eye contact to say hello here, like they do at home in Spain. The spanish (in my area at least) are very polite and friendly and always acknowledge everyone they pass, and when entering a waiting room, or cafe will say a general hello to everyone, and everyone responds.

The exception was one old lady at a bus stop who asked if I was going to Santiago and wished me bom viaje. That was nice!

I was beginning to think about stopping for a hot drink but the only cafés I passed were dark blokey places. Then I noticed a scallop shell tile across the street and crossed the road to find a cafe which was bright and clean with a couple of female customers, so I nipped straight in, having walked 9.5 km. I ordered a buttered roll and hot water. I shan’t be influenced by Elly’s preference for sweet pastries now and shall try to cut down my sugar intake.

Thus far the rain has varied from fairly constant light fall to occasional brief spells of no rain and now and then a bit of a downpour.

The walking continued through depressing km’s of industrial area and eventually peeled off onto fairly quiet country roads. Don’t mistake the description of quiet for slow moving traffic. It seems the less traffic there is on the road, the faster the cars and lorries hurtle past. And for many km’s now I have been walking on cobbled roads. When I read of people complaining about how hard cobbles are on the feet I thought they were making a bit of a fuss. I hadn’t found them too bad until the last few days. But you can be sure that if you have any tender areas on your feet the cobbles will seek them out and press into those parts particularly hard.

After 19.75 km’s, sore footed and rather damp, I found a cafe in Mosteiró where I saw a basket of fresh eggs behind the counter and asked the elderly cafe lady if she would cook me an egg. Bless her, she went to fetch a frying pan and mimed breaking an egg into it. I confirmed that this was exactly what I wanted, and she disappeared, probably into her family kitchen and returned a while later with a perfectly cooked fried egg in a lovely fresh roll. Perfection. I followed it up with a pasteis de nata and was served hot water without any fuss, and was charged the princely sum of 1.50 euros.

As of today I am carrying my ipad hanging from my bum bag. I had to use my new pen knife to drill holes through the leather, which involved a few cuts to my fingers. Now I have to organise my own travel plans rather than rely on Elly who has planned our progress thus far, so I need to access the directions that I have downloaded to the ipad. So now I can also listen to my music or catch up on podcasts, and can write my blog as I go, right now whilst eating my egg roll and drinking hot water. I carried my ipad this way last year on the Frances route when I was using it as a camera and it worked well. I am glad to have it back at my fingertips, which, I have to admit, is where I like it to be at almost all times!

This was the most difficult day’s walking with cars and lorries whizzing by on narrow roads. Most pilgrims set off from Porto and this will be their first day’s walk, what a baptism of fire!

I was very glad when it was over and I arrived at my destination of Vilarinho after 28 km at 12:15 and wondered what on earth to do with myself for the rest of the day. I bagged the best bed of the seven on offer at Casa Laura, offering three bunks and a single bed, with only one shower room shared with another double bedroom, which was soon taken by a couple of guys. Then gradually the albergue filled up, first with a couple of Australian guys, then a family of three from the States and finally a Danish guy.

The afternoon soon turned into evening, with lots of very interesting chat, and progressed to dinner at a nearby cafe hosted by a Portuguese family who had lived in South Africa for many years and who had excellent English. All in all a very pleasant first day out on my own (other than the actual walking!)

Casa Laura is a very comfortable and welcoming private albergue, with lovely garden, which couldn’t really be appreciated in the rain. 10 euros for bed and basic breakfast, with bed linen and towels included. Laura also stocks her fridge with beer and wine for which there is a very resonable charge. Beware albergues that offer alcohol – unless you are strong willed – all the inmates were of a similar disposition yesterday, and between us we drank Laura dry.

When we returned from the cafe later in the evening, the lovely Laura had set out a bottle of liquor with sufficient glasses to go round, and left a tin of delicious home made fairy cakes for us to sample. A very thoughtful and much appreciated gesture.

It is still pouring with rain. Hopefully, the more that comes down tonight, the less will be left for tomorrow. I am planning a short-ish day of 20 km tomorrow, so I shall try not to get up too early in the morning.

No photos today, except for the accommodation, including a before and after photo of the room (with the permission of all involved).


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
This entry was posted in Camino de Santiago de Compostela, Camino Portuguese and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to day 19, Porto to Vilarinho, 28 km

  1. Marianne says:

    I will be very interested to ask you about blogging on your iPad when you get home, Maggie – ‘cos I’ve just bought one for travelling.

    Do you carry a torch or have a light pinned on your jacket when you are on these narrow roads, if it’s still dusk/dark? (So you can be seen clearly by these fast vehicles?)

    Take care x


    • magwood says:

      I’ve not blogged any other way. It must be the same as using a computer. I love my iPad – I am a bit obsessed with it if I am honest!

      I haven’t walked in the dark on the road – only through Porto and there were pavements so it was quite safe.

      The Aussies from last night have flashing lights, as used by cyclists.


  2. annieh61 says:

    I’m also interested in how you use your I-pad Maggie. Any chance of a photo of your carrying arrangement? They’re also difficult to see in sunlight, so I wonder how you use it during the day. Do you have a waterproof cover?
    Trying to eat less sugar on any walking route takes determination. It’s so easy to grab the naughtiest carbs. You are one determined lady. Happy solo walking. Annie x


    • magwood says:

      I shall include details of my ‘arrangements’ in a separate post, probably when I finish the camino. This year’s effort is a bit of a bodge because I did it whilst here. Last year I made a much neater job of fixings, but unfortunately that poor bum bag has been completely worn out.


  3. Maggie Gardner says:

    One advantage of arriving early you get the best bed!! Hopefully the rest of the journey won’t be too lonely after having Elly with you for so long; we are all still with you every step of the way. x


  4. OzAnnie says:

    You get a lot for your €10 at Casa Laura! Included breakfast and towel! How good is that.
    Looks very clean too. Did you stumble on it or was it the planned stop. I hope you don’t get too much rain though.


    • magwood says:

      A planned stop at a stage end. It was mentioned in the Brierly guide. It was very nice with a good cafe/restaurant just round the corner. In good weather it would be particularly lovely because there is great outdoor space.


  5. Buen Camino, Maggie! I loved the pic of fellow pilgrims gathered round the table!! Brings back so many happy memories!


    • magwood says:

      When did you walk Susan? Which route?


      • Hi Maggie! I walked the Camino Frances in 2013 from St. Jean Pied du Port to Santiago from mid August to mid October at an average of 15 km per day. I met a wonderful woman from Denmark just outside Burgos and we walked together til Leon…Next May, we plan on doing the Portuguese hence my great delight in your blog…love your inventions!! Buen Camino!!


      • magwood says:

        Aren’t camino friendships great Susan. I loved walking with Elly and will treasure the time we spent together.


  6. kitkatknit says:

    Wow, what iPhone model do you have that you can keep it on while you’re walking without the battery dying in the first hour? I have to keep mine (iPhone 5 running 7.1.1) in the “turn everything to battery saving mode” just to keep it alive till noon, if that long. If I use anything as benign as listening to music the battery runs down FAST!! What GPS app are you using? Thanks and Buen Camino!!


    • magwood says:

      It’s an iPhone 5, modelMD663B/A if that’s any help. The batter lasts really well. I haven’t really been using it for music because I forgot to upload my music from my ipad. But I have listened to radio podcasts for hours whilst running the gps. If it does run down I’ve got an independent battery unit so that I can recharge the phone and my camera on the go. I am really pleased with the system?

      Sadly I dropped the phone yesterday and the screen is totally smashed.

      I’m using ‘map my walk’ which is fine for my needs.


      • kitkatknit says:

        Mine is the iPhone 5, model MD640LL/A. Interesting… And my battery stinks. If I lived closer to an Apple store I’d have them swap out my battery.


  7. Maureen Gillespie says:

    Loving the blog Maggie, and even though I’m looking forward to your return to Canillas, I’ll miss your daily updates. On the flower front, I have some of your lovely white roses in a vase (picked them when I walked past your house the other day!).


  8. The rain would tempt me to stay in. Hate being out in wet. I’m interested in the iPad blogging as well.
    Do you mind being on your own now? Keep well and happy walking. 🙂


  9. annieh61 says:

    Ouch! Hope your phone lasts the trip. Are you enjoying walking alone? It sounds like a very different experience to the crowded Frances.
    Drinking Cava with my husband and watching the Chelsea Flower Show on tele with feet up. Coping! Annie x


  10. Jo Bryant says:

    It sounds as if being on your own is going reasonably well so far.


  11. Moira O'Malley says:

    Hello Maggie,
    Do you think the advantages of having a phone outweigh not having a phone?


  12. lolalil26 says:

    I’m so glad to find your blog and read about your journey. I’ve decided to start at Porto instead of Lisbon due to time. 28KM or 17 miles, impressive. I’ve been so bad not walking everyday for training but will start walking long distance with a full pack. Question: are you wearing hiking shoes/boots? Because I developed toe issues on my walk two years ago and wore Teva sandals. They were good to my toes but I developed heel problem (plantar fasciitis). I just bought Ecco sandals which has great orthotics heels. I plan to wear them on my walk in September. Do you think they will work? Thank you. And continued safe journey.


    • magwood says:

      I wouldn’t want to wear sandals because I hate to have dusty feet, but they would probably be fine for most of the journey on the flat. But I would think some ankle support would be good on stoney and rocky ground. I am wearing Merrell Moab ventilators. No overheating problems and they stayed dry inside in the heavy rain. Whatever you wear, be sure to train long and hard in them with a few walks with your pack because that will make a big difference.


      • lolalil26 says:

        I definitely plan to train with my backpack, wearing this new pair of sandals. Actually, that is all I’m wearing now for a trip that I’m currently taking. Love reading about your journey.



  13. David says:


    I would like to know what software ou use to create photo’s such as this

    many thanks


    • magwood says:

      Hello David. Sorry for the long delay in responding to your comment. I use the PhotoGrid app on my iPad. It is very quick and easy. I would highly commend it.


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