So far, all is going well on the Camino! Here’s a little summary of our first three days.
On Day One we walked from Porto to Vila do Conde. We took a cab from our Air B&B rental house to the Matosinhos area of Porto where we picked up the coastal trail and started our walk. It was a windy day walking along the boardwalk.
We are always on the lookout for the yellow arrows. Along the route, yellow arrows are painted, sometimes in hard to find places, marking the route to Santiago.
We ate turbot, seabass, cod, and octopus.
Fortified by fish and wine, we continued on our way, walking part of the afternoon through the woods and small towns along cobblestone roads and sidewalks.
In the late afternoon we arrived at our hotel, a refurbished fort.
We had an amazing dinner, with lots of things arriving at the table that we hadn’t even ordered. We all had a good laugh over the English translation of a menu item. “Little puppies on a sword” is actually mini sausages on a skewer.
We finished off the night with 20 year-old port in 600 year-old fort, sitting up on the battlements watching the stars
On Day Two, we walked from Vila do Conde to Esposende. We left our amazing fortress castle hotel, jumped back on the boardwalk along the ocean and started walking north.
We entered the town of Fão and saw that the streets were covered in beautiful flowers. We learned that Fão was celebrating “Good Jesus Day” which happens every four years. We missed the morning procession through town but loved the flower-paved streets.
Uncle Denny, in considering whether the bumpy roads might be too much for Kevin in his stroller, noted, “We’ll know when Kevin has been churned too much when he starts spitting up sticks of butter.” Happy Kev didn’t seem to mind the roads, or much of anything really. He’s been just as pleasant as ever. We were excited about our hotel, a beach resort, with rooms and balconies overlooking the ocean. As soon as we checked in, we dropped our bags in our rooms and soaked our swollen and sore feet in the very cold ocean water. It felt great.
By the end of the day, we had walked 16.7 miles, taken 38,255 steps, and done the equivalent of 20 flights of stairs.
Day 3 was a long day, much longer than we had expected. We walked from Esposende to Vila do Conde. We stopped for short breaks at 10am and noon, and didn’t have lunch until 3pm.
We started with a nice walk along the water.
We crossed some rougher terrain, too tough for the stroller, so we collapsed it down. Denny carried the stroller and I had Kev in a carrier. Thankfully he was able to sleep just as well as he had in the stroller, though he missed the nice views of the forest and river.
After our late lunch we were pointed in the wrong direction by a local and we lost the Camino path. Denny consulted his Google Hiking app which said it was 1 hour 45 mins to hotel if we walked along highways. We decided that route was too dangerous due to the lack of sidewalks. Instead, we walked 2 hours along another road not far from the highway and checked again – app said 1 hour 37 minutes to hotel.
After walking two hours we were only 8 minutes closer to our destination. We made our way to the nearest cafe, enjoyed some vinho verde and decided to take a cab after learning we were still 30 km from the hotel.
Our hotel was called The Chocolate Factory and it didn’t disappoint. There were chocolate soaps, lotions, and body washes, lamps looking like chocolate, and fake chocolate dripping from the ceiling.
We walked 18.49 miles (29.61 km), did the equivalent of 75 flights of stairs, and took 42,152 steps.
All in all, things are going well. We’ve had fantastic weather (sunny and in the 70s a d 80s during the days, in the 50s and 60s at night). Everyone is healthy and happy and having a great time. The food has been wonderful, as have our hotels. Onward we go!