12 April. Finally! We had a good flight. Played a bunch of Yahtzee until I dropped a die. As we all know, budget airlines don’t have that much space, so I couldn’t exactly bend over and grab it, so I just asked the people in front and behind me, but they couldn’t find it either. Thankfully the die rolled back to me while we were landing so the guy in front of me was able to pass it back. Thank god, otherwise me and my mum wouldn’t be able to play Yahtzee for the rest of the trip.
Upon arrival in Porto, we took the metro to the city centre and walked to our hotel. After we (apparently) walked past it 3 times already and crossed off our first up- and down-hill kilometres, we could finally check in. Quite alright for mini-people…if I was 10cm shorter my feet would’ve probably fit in the bed too.
13 April: From Porto via Nine (a layover of an hour so we obviously played some Yahtzee) to Barcelos. We all recognize the rooster of Porto. But did you know this rooster comes from Barcelos? As the legend goes: “One day in the 17th century, someone stole a landowner’s silver. A pilgrim on his way to Santiago de Compostella was found guilty. He denied it, but is still sentenced to death. He asked to visit the judge at his home. While the judge was having a meal, the pilgrim pointed to a roasted rooster on the table. He says that the rooster will start to crow at the exact moment that he will be hung and will thus prove his innocence. The judge decided to no longer eat the rooster. When the pilgrim was hung, the rooster started to crow. The judge realizes his mistake and runs to the gallows only to realize it’s too late. Yet, the pilgrim survived merely because the knot in the rope wasn’t strong enough”. (Source: Wikipedia)
We got our stamps at the pilgrimage office and went on our way to Valença where we looked for a Albergue (hostel a.k.a. a squat house). We saw the Albergue, and once we were 5 meters away, we were quickly taken over by a very rude a**hole. He shouted at 2 girls that were apparently traveling with him that he had found a place to sleep, and we quickly noticed that he had run ahead of us to get a spot. WTF? I thought he was kidding until he really went in before me and my mum and asked how many sleeping spaces were still available. After he heard there was enough space, he told us we could go in first. Seriously, I should’ve given him an elbow so that at least his eyes would be the same colour as the Camino symbol (blue/yellow) but apparently that doesn’t follow pilgrim-rules. If I were those girls, no way would I want to travel with such a twat.
Anyway, we quickly selected a bunkbed, dumped our stuff and looked for a place for dinner. We were sitting very close to the fort of Valença where there just so happened to be a food festival. We walked around a bit, had a sandwich (without the top part of the sandwich, it just managed to fit in my walnut-stomach) and headed back to the Albergue for our first night in a hostel. Except for the scent of smelly feet, the snoring, and the constant fight with my sleeping bag, I slept pretty well.
14 April: We had to leave the Albergue by 9am, so we quickly got our stamp and headed out early for the day. The route is pretty easy to find because all you need to do is follow the yellow arrows. A kind of scavenger hunt for pilgrims 😃 This guided us through the fort where we had our breakfast. After that, we followed the route and eventually left Portugal and arrived in Tui, Spain. Time for a quick break, so we got another stamp and continued with the rest of the scavenger hunt, a.k.a. follow the Camino arrows.
The route consisted of light up- and down-hill paths which was pretty doable, which is how we ended up in O Porriño, about 20km further on. A quick coffee and a stamp and found a place to sleep via booking.com.
We spent the night in Hostel Expo where the owners were extremely friendly. They kindly cooked for us, and the rooms were very clean, and the shower was great, a little small, but great. If you want to shampoo your hair, you hit your elbows against the wall/door. Safe to say shaving your legs was impossible.
15 April: Got ourselves a quick stamp at Hostel Expo and hit the road bright and early. We walked from O Porriño via Mos to Redondela. This was not easy. The route was completely uphill which was pretty tough, followed by an even steeper downhill road. My foot really started to hurt, and my blister had turned into the size of China. Just when I thought I couldn’t take another step, we found an Albergue along the way with the most fantastic bunk beds. But maybe that’s just because we were totally wiped, so even a bed of nails would’ve been comfortable.
Up till now, we’ve had a great trip. The only thing you need to think about is where you’ll sleep for the night, how big the blisters are, where I should put my foot and that we eat and drink enough. The only “stressor” is making sure we get enough stamps. You have to get a minimum of 3 stamps per day, but if you’re tired and grab a quick coffee somewhere it’s pretty easy to forget to ask for those damn stamps.
Yet, I’ve become very Zen during this trip and I’ve definitely deserved my halo and wings.
That’s our Camino so far. More next week! ☺