Camino Portugues Portugal

Day 15: Porto to Matosinhos

Today I am back on the road, continuing where I left off in February, when I walked the first part of the Camino Portugues, starting outside Lisbon and ending in Porto.

It was a stressful start to the day. Up early at 5am, my wife drove me to the airport. However, roadworks closed the slip road to the airport motorway and inadequate diversion signs meant that I just made it to check-in on time. The flight was full and uneventful (a good sign). At Porto airport I waited in vain for my backpack, which, together with another families baggage, didn’t arrive. After queueing at the lost baggage counter, they told me that it had turned up at the oversized baggage carousel – a bit odd for a backpack weighing less than  10kg. But no matter, relief that it had arrived.

When walking the Camino Portugues from Porto, one can follow an inland route (which actually passes by the airport) or the coastal route, where as the name suggests, one walks along the coast. I had decided upon the coastal route. As the coastal route passes through Matosinhos, which is only a few kilometers from the airport, I decided to take a bus from the airport to Matosinhos, 12kms north of Porto, and walk south into Porto – a nice easy (re-)start along the beach. Matosinhos has a wonderful fish and vegetable market, in an equally fantastic building with a curved roof. I celebrated the start of my walk by immediately stopping in the market for a coffee and pavlova (cake). A good start! The restaurants in the market are supposedly excellent, but at 11.30, it was early for lunch.

The weather was great, 25C and the sun was shining. A lot of people were on the beach or walking along the beach promenade enjoying the sun. I met a few pilgrims walking north, whilst I was walking south towards Porto. I passed the Fort of San Francisco Xavier, one of a number of forts built to protect the coast and entry to Douro River.

After 6 kms I came to the point where the Douro River runs out into the Atlantic. I walked east along the river into Porto, the famous Porto trams passing me by every now and then. The “D” in Douro seems to be missing on the above picture.

As I came closer to Porto, the iconic Dom Luis I bridge came into view, the port wine houses and old Porto. My hotel was in the old part of town on one of the walking streets. After I checked in and washed, I spent a pleasant afternoon, with many, many tourists, at the Cathedral, market and walking around the old town. Being in Porto, downed a glass of port. At the Cathedral I bought a stamp book where I can collect stamps along the way. I need two stamps everyday, to get the certificate of completing the Camino.

I was recommended a restaurant, but unfortunately it was closed for the summer vacation, but I found a small local brewery and a restaurant close by. A pleasant end to a good first day back on the road.

And finally today’s best quote:

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