Friday, October 20, 2023

Porto Portugal

    We left Muxia on a crowded 6am bus to Santiago.  From there we caught another bus to Porto, Portugal.  I was hoping to get a good view of the landscape, but it was pretty foggy and rainy.  When we got to Porto, we had quite a hike to our apartment which was quite a distance from the city center.  We sloshed our way there with backpacks, looking like some lost pilgrims.

     The afternoon cleared up for a beautiful walk down to the Dom Luis bridge and the iconic Douro River canyon.  The riverside was crowded with tourists, and for the first time in months, we felt like normal tourists rather than Camino pilgrims.  The slopes of the river were covered with colorful buildings, and the river bustled with classic Porto river boats.  After crossing the lower bridge and walking the southern waterfront, our Camino legs cried for some strenuous movement, so we followed our gps routing to the fortress and upper bridge.  It led us through the famous port wine cellars and a dead end at some winery headquarters.  Rerouting gave us an even longer route which eventually brought us to the fortress and upper bridge which gave a marvelous view of the city and river.  After heading back to our apartment, we found a cafe and had beef stew and cod and potatoes with cream sauce.  

      We had to change accommodations for the second night in Porto.  It was close to the center of things, but we couldn’t bring our backpacks there until 3pm so we had to store them in a locker at the metro station.  The weather was horrible, with torrential rain at times.  We tried to salvage the day by shopping for a duffel bag and touring the cathedral.

       When we tried to find our booked lodging, all we found was a graffiti covered door between a Tobacco shop and souvenir shop.  We could not get in touch with management for the lockbox code.  We stood with our backpacks in the pouring rain, trying texting, phoning and email, all to no avail.  In desperation, we went across the street to a tourist office where a very kind and patient woman helped us contact the manager who wouldn’t give us the code unless we sent him photos of our passports which we had tried twice to do.  The tourist shop lady finally used her phone and he gave us the code.  

     The room was nice and very conveniently located.  In the evening, we donned our raincoats and went back across the river to the port food market for dinner.  We decided to fly to Barcelona and get away from the soggy Portugal coast.  So the next morning we were on our way to fair weather.

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