We are approximately 30 km from Porto at the end of our first day. Rather than “slog” through the heart of Porto and its suburbs we took the Metro to the outskirts of town and began our walk.
Today was hot by Camino standards, sunny and nearly 80 degrees. Our “path” followed rural cobblestone lanes with occasional shade, the fragrance of lilacs, and the barnyard sounds of sheep and chickens. Cafes were pleasantly spaced every few kilometers.
We have ended our walk for today at the Mosteiro de Vairao. Once a Monastery, and built in the 11th Century, it has been repurposed as a classic Pilgrim’s Albergue (Hostal). Use is limited to pilgrims walking the Camino, and the charge is a suggested donation of 5 euros per person. There are beds for 50 divided among 12 rooms, but it appears that there are only 7 of us here this evening. The other Perigrinos are 2 ladies from Finland, 2 gentleman from Brazil, and one from Maine. Since there are no services here at the albergue, 5 of us have agreed to join and walk 20 minutes to a nearby restaurant. The pilgrim from Maine and the other Brazilian joined later. 15 euros each for 3 excellent courses each of us, plus beer, wine, and a Tawny Port afterwards!
Here are pictures of the Monastery:
The Finnish ladies and I walked to a mini-Mercado (store) to buy some breakfast supplies, and as luck would have it the store had a small bar that serves cold beer as 1.20 euro a glass. The “supplies” I purchased, 3 bananas, cream filled croissants, and a bottle of good Portuguese wine (to share tonight with the pilgrims) cost only 6 euros! One could really stretch the retirement income in rural Portugal.
Today Christine turned on the charm with the lady managing the Monastery Albergue and got us the only singe room and double bed! Pretty remarkable since the lady spoke no English and Christine speaks no Portuguese. However, they do share the common language of pleasant smiles.
Tomorrow looks to be a 20 km segment. We have called ahead and reserved a room in a private albergue.
Peace Everyone! Pete