9/27 – 17 miles today will get us to Barcelos.
Many pilgrims start their journey in Porto, and today, for the first time, we met others walking the same path; Martin from London, a couple from Poland, a man from Hungary, a girl from Germany, and a couple, Patricia and Ray, from Sacramento! We walked with Patricia and Ray into the city, and met for a drink in the evening. So nice to share experiences, and to communicate in English!
For lunch, we stopped at a pilgrim-friendly restaurante where the proprietor’s picture was in our guidebook! We asked him to autograph his photo, and he was happy to oblige.
By 3pm we walked over the bridge into the city:
Throughout our travels in Portugal, we have encountered the image of a colorful rooster on many shops and souvenirs. Now that we are in Barcelos, here is the story of The Cock of Barcelos:
If you look closely at the cross, you will see St. James holding up the feet of the hanging man.
Tomorrow, a day of rest.
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.