Camino Portugues Portugal

Day 11: Sernadelo to Mourisca do Vouga

I’ll remember today for how an 8 minute train journey lasted for over 2 hours.

There was no breakfast at the hotel and when I left, my Camino friends had already left. I walked down to the supermarket for a coffee and croissant and bought some bread for todays stage to Agueda. It is a fairly short stage, 25 kms and I was on on my way by 8.30 am.

The stage was primarily along roads, through small villages and with a few kilometers through an eucalyptus forest. It was OK until the last 8 or so kilometers into Agueda, which passed through an industrial zone – very boring.

The first 10 kilometers were heavy going, so I was looking forward to a break. The blister under my foot was padded up, and it wasn’t really that much of a problem. Just an occasional jolt of pain to remind me that I have a blister.

I have a rule that I never stop for a break before 10km and preferably not before I have walked a third of the distance. As today was 26kms, I stopped at a bar called Caminho in Avelas de Caminho after 12 kms. Normally I buy a cake and coffee, but with no cakes on show, I bought an espresso and cola. Wow, what an impact. The first 10kms I walked, I’d averaged 4,76 km per hour, but after the coffee and cola, I walked 5,55 km per hour on average, and for the last kilometers into Agueda, 5,4 kms per hour – I also felt that I still had tons of energy when I arrived at the hotel at 2.30.

I passed through an area where the houses were bigger than I so far had seen on this trip. Whilst taking a picture of an estate, the owner turned up. He told me it was there summer residence, but people lived there all year round due to the wine production.

I passed through Aguada de Baixo and admired the tile covered church.

Agueda and its surroundings is the centre of two-wheel production – both bicycles and motorcycles, scooters etc., but being in the middle of an industrial holiday, pretty much everywhere was closed down, so the traffic was light.

Agueda is also known as an art town with many artistic installations spread across the town, including a street covered in umbrellas – the same street as the hotel is situated. But alas there were no umbrellas, they are only set up during summer. I called the number on the door and spoke to somebody who could let me in. He arrived within a few minutes.

I dropped off my gear in my room, picked up a sandwich at the local bakery and walked to the train station. Tomorrow’s stage is 38 kilometers, so my plan was to take a train one stop north and walk back to Agueda, saving 5 kilometers on tomorrow’s trip. Tomorrow morning I can then take the 9.15 train the one stop north and start walking from there. If only it had worked out like that.

As the track between Aveiro and Sernada is single track, the trains going in each their direction, meet in Agueda, and both trains are therefore on the platform at the same time. There wasn’t any sign, neither on the platform nor the trains themselves, indicating which of the trains went where, so I asked a man, on two occasions, and got on the train he indicated.

The problem was that it was the wrong train – the train I was told to take, was going to Aveiro, not towards Sernada, which became very clear when I tried to pay. There was no use getting off, as the next train back was the same train I was sitting on. So best was to sit tight to Aveiro, and take the train back to Agueda- which is what I did. By the time I arrived at Mourisca do Vouga, it was 17.31 instead of 15.45. I have visited Aveiro several years ago with my wife and kids, and recalled that it had a beautiful station building, so I spent the waiting time for the return journey to see if I remembered correctly. Some contrast between the stations at Aviero and Mourisca do Vouga.


Exactly the same had happened on my second walking trip to Japan, where I jumped on the wrong train whilst talking to my wife on the phone, got off and had to wait a couple of hours for the next train. That time it was my fault, this time I got bad advice.

I walked the five or so kilometers, again mainly along roads with industry or houses (often both) before getting back to the hotel just before dark. It was great walking without a backpack, one’s step seemed so much lighter. It was steep downhill into the town, so I saved a heavy duty uphill start to the day tomorrow, by taking it in the wrong direction.

Agueda is famous for its art installations during summer, a few are fixed all year round.

I saw Juan Carlo ordering food in a cafeteria, but he was occupied and didn’t see me. Later I went for dinner at a steak restaurant where the food was a disappointment and service non-existent- the soup came immediately after I ordered, lukewarm at best, and the steak was served before I’d managed to finish the soup. I walked back to the hotel and watched Liverpool get disassembled by Real Madrid.

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