Friday, June 16, 2017

Camino Santiago Portuguese, 1: Vila Nova de Cerveir to Tui

Where to begin? How to account for the past ten days? We drove from Gaia to near Vila Nova de Cerveir and the Convivio Campismo campground. Monday, June 5th, we spent packing and planning. On Tuesday, June 6th, we left the camper at Convivio, and the campground co-owner, Gea, drove us to the nearest Camino intersection, and we set forth on our Camino Santiago Portuguese, entering about where the coastal Portuguese Camino links up with the central (main) Portuguese Camino, about 8 miles south of Valenca. 85 miles to Santiago de Compostela, our goal, by Vicki's reckoning. En pied.

Why do the Camino, you ask? And why the Portuguese variant? Several reasons. We do treks...Everest, Mount Blanc, Abel Tasman, Milford, Routeburn, Kepler, the W, the Inca Trail, not to mention a number of multi-day hikes in the US. The Camino Santiago, once among the great Medieval pilgrimages, is now one of the great 20th and 21st century (recreational) treks. We like trekking, hiking, seeing things on foot. The Camino, in its many variants, offers the opportunity to hike, but then to shower, dine, drink, and rest comfortably; for a price. Expiation for the Sin of Gluttony is another reason, although neither of us at length got expiated very much. Another reason is just the visual and intellectual stimulation of the trail, the Camino, the history, in Portugal and in Galicia. Another still is the sharing of the experience with others, fellow Caminantes from all over the world. Some we hope to see again in future travel. Some people do the Camino for religious reasons, we understand, and I was among them, imbibing spirits all along the way, whenever possible. Did you know that on the Camino the proper way to fix a carajillo is to flame the brandy before adding it to the coffee?

And why the Portuguese Camino? Because a) it's more scenic, cooler, and less crowded than the French variant (from St. Jean Pied-in-his-Pants) and b) we were in Portugal, not France. We may yet do the French variant, but not before we do the full Portugueser, at least from Porto, along the coast.

As the next nine or so posts appear, I'll have further observations and reflections, in passing. As will Vicki, on practical matters, on the website or elsewhere.
At the outset

Follow the yellow-blazed road...the blazes get more elaborate in Spain and
especially as you near Santiago; the blue arrow points the way to Fatima;
we're still boggled at the number of port-a-potties required to service the
million devotees who came to see the Pope a few weeks ago

Granite...everywhere...the principal building material in this part of the world...
buildings, houses, barns, fences, trellises, etc. 

Plants and fruit everywhere as we walk through village after village

Principal among which are grapes...everywhere; even the most humble hut
has a little vineyard

Early June, everything in bloom, or beyond

Nice suburbs of Valenca

Ancient irrigation

For nine days, never very far from a church or chapel

On the trail

On one of dozens of Medieval bridges (usually reconstructed Roman bridges)

In the (star-fortress) walled city of Valenca

Pretty place

Roman military mile marker; much of the Camino Portugese
in Spain follows Roman road XIX--interstate 19; seriously

In the cathedral at Valenca

Last bar/cafe on Camino before Espanha

Tui, Spain, across the river

Bridge over the Minho

Bye, Portugal!

Crossing the Minho


Up river

Vicki, right foot in Portugal, left foot in Spain


Looking back to Valenca and the fortress

Welcome to Spain

The scallop shell becomes the principal blaze, now; and below it,
the mileage to the cathedral in Santiago; it took us some days to
figure this out

Tui cathedral

Main plaza Tui

Very nice boutique hotel Villa Blanca where we crashed for
the night 

1 comment:

Tawana said...

So excited to finally read your blog. So jealous!