Camino Portugues Portugal

Day 14: Vila Nova de Gaia to Porto

I woke fairly early, showered and packed my stuff. Today is my last day in Portugal, at least for this time, and I am scheduled to fly at 16.00 from Porto, via Lisbon and home to Copenhagen.

Breakfast was until 10am, so I went down around 9 am, and ate a leisurely breakfast. I have plenty of time. Or so I thought. At 10.03 I received a mail with my boarding pass from TAP. Some days I wouldn’t have bothered opening the mail, as I knew what time I was flying. But for some reason I opened it, and to my surprise I was checked in on the 2pm flight. I re-checked my reservation and it certainly stated that I was booked on the 4pm flight to Lisbon.

I went back to my room, packed the last bits and pieces, checked out (the receptionist just smiled when I told he about what TAP had done) and started to walk the last 3 kms from Vila Nova de Gaia to Porto Cathedral across the iconic Ponte D Luis I crossing the River Douro.

Over the bridge and a left turn and I’m in front of the Cathedral, the end point of my journey.

I walked to the metro station, it’s 11.30 am, so I have some time to make it out to the airport. The first problem I encounter is buying a metro ticket. Again, no explanations and I end up buying a ticket for 2 zones instead of 4. A young guy from Porto can see I’m confused and helps me buy a 4 zone ticket and as he’s also on his way to the airport walks with me to the correct platform. The next problem is that the metro has broken down and they have no idea when it will be up and running again. At 12.15 a train to the airport rolls in and at 12.45 I’m at the airport. At check in they have no idea why my flight was changed, nor why I wasn’t informed until 10am this morning.

The plane is delayed 30 mins, but as I now have almost 4 hours in Lisbon, it doesn’t really matter. The flight from Lisbon to Copenhagen is delayed by over an hour, so I don’t land until 00.40. I take the metro from the airport, and my wife meets me at the metro station – she was out with friends, so an hour later didn’t matter.

To sum up, it’s been a great three weeks in Portugal. The first week stands out for the spectacular scenery along the Atlantic coast. After Lisbon the stages between Tomar, Fatima and Coimbra were pleasant and the scenery varied. Many of the other stages have been far too often on roads and through uninteresting agricultural landscapes – of course partly due to the time of year. The towns of Tomas, Fatima and Coimbra were all worth a visit, and I’m happy I spent a day off in each. Accommodation has been fine throughout as has the food. It’s been good to also walk with and meet some people along the way, but I’m still happy that the stages weren’t overrun with pilgrims, as is often the case on some of the other Camino’s. The biggest downside were the problems with my shoes and having to break in new shoes, that caused some problems. Added to that, as mentioned above, not all stages were equally interesting.

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