9/26 – I loved Porto, but it was time to move on. Today we walk 16 miles, taking 5 hours to actually get out of the suburbs of Porto and back to small towns, cornfields and cobblestone streets.
Our guidebook said that today was a good day to contemplate our mortality (because we had to cross a busy highway), and I guess we did. We stopped for a break at a cemetery, busy with workers and family members attending to the memorials on the graves. The custom here in the cemeteries we’ve seen is that bodies continue to be added to the original family plot, commemorated with small frames with pictures and details of each deceased. It reminds me of all the family pictures clustered on my mother’s piano…
Our goal today, Vilharino, is a mystery town, in that it is not listed either on a Google Maps, nor on the signs as we walk. When we get near, there are signs offering three choices of lodging: a monestary, and two hostels. One hostel offered free wifi, sheets, towels and a swimming pool! Guess which one we chose?
The Amadeu Vidal hostel is a private home, and not only did we get to swim in a crystal pool, our host also ran our laundry in his washing machine and hung it up to dry for us! We slept in a suite that contained a full kitchen and dining area, and the charge was ‘donativo’ – whatever we wished to pay. A lovely evening.
9/24 – Porto, on the Rio Douro, is a beautiful, vibrant city with lots of blue tile murals depicting its history. Here are some pix from our day.
The open air market:
The train station Estacio de Sao Bento:
The iron bridge was designed by Gustave Eiffel, who also built the Eiffel Tower.
And Jim and Karen out on a beautiful day:
Tomorrow, back on the trail!
9/23 – 10 miles to Porto, 2nd largest city in Portugal, and full of neat stuff to see. After only getting about 5 hours of sleep, thanks to the mosquitoes, I was feeling a little rocky this morning, but the sun promised to come out today, so off we went.
Everything was a little soggy, but the old roads were passable, and soon we were approaching the city: .
I loved seeing the ruins covered in morning glories!
Our hotel is right in the center of the city, near the Torre Clerico:
We get free espresso in the morning, and free port wine all day long. Too bad I don’t drink wine!
We walked a little as the sun was setting:
…and visited the world’s most beautiful bookshop, the Lello Livraria:
Tomorrow, we’ll rest and see the city!