Day 2. Porto to Labruge
We slept well in our little room for three. There was a bit of noise from Porto at play but we all managed to fall asleep pretty quickly. And we all seemed to wake around 6.00am and there seemed little point trying to go back to sleep. We took out time getting ready and ambled down to breakfast at 7.15am; 15 minutes early but they were ready for us. Hot coffee, juice, fresh rolls with ham cheese or jam… and Nutella… we’ve seem a lot of Nutella in Porto so my guess is it’s popular.
Last night we walked down into the town and up to the cathedral. Me and Sara pondered the nessessity of repeating the exercise this morning but Jaqui’s little face dropped at the suggestion… “would you prefer to start at the cathedral steps dear” we asked ” I would” she grinned. And as she pointed out as we walk up the steps in Santiago we’ll be glad that we did.
We walked a different way today, winding our way up through the old narrow streets as folks busied themselves with their morning chores . We took a few selfies and admired the view before picking our way back down.
We’re not following the camino because we’re going to follow the mighty Douro river out of town to where it meets the Atlantic ocean… and then we’ll follow the ocean for a few days.
It was lovely walking along the river and fairly easy to follow. We left the edge a couple of times but it’s fairly obvious when and where. We did meet one jolly spot where a footpath had been built to avoid the busy road but it had a metal grid floor so we could see the river below… and it wasn’t high but it freaked me a little. I hurried along moaning somewhat about how unhappy I was and how I didn’t like it. Sara made encouraging noises behind… I suspect she might have also been rolling her eyes thinking it’s not that high… but if she did she never ever let on.
Back on dry land we walked on and the river opened up into the estuary and the estuary open up to the sea. We stopped to watch the waves rolling in and crashing on the rocks. Every now and then there was a spectacular wave with a tower of spray but of course we never managed to take a photo.
We tore ourselves away and wandered on until we found a cafe on the sea front and the temptation of hot chocolate was too much. We stopped and just enjoyed the view… and the drink!
On we walked. Always beside the coast… and even we three managed to not get lost. Before long we found ourselves in Matsohinos. We meandered through narrow streets where old fisherman tried to sell us today’s catch and the restaurants were stoking the bbqs with charcoal ready for the lunchtime rush.
We walked by the tourist information office and drooped in for a stamp. She also gave us a map and information on where to stay… you can’t miss this place and it’s a really pretty sello so worth the stop.
On we walked. Through the town, across an old iron bridge and out the other side. We stopped to check our feet. I’m wearing my teva sandals but they were rubbing so I taped my feet. Jaqui’s insole was bothering her so we made and few adjustments before walking on.
Once we passed the lighthouse we would leave the pavements and walk along the boardwalks. I don’t think they were created for pilgrims, more for walkers and to protect the sand dunes but they are lovely to walk on.
We passed the site of a major shipwreck and there was a little church nestled on the rocks. We stood and took photos… me in particular as Jaqui and Sara meandered on. As I walked on a man came running up from the beach and asked for my camera. He was quite insistent that I had taken his photo. I assured him that I had not but he kept following me trying to take my phone. I walked away but he tried to grab my pack and was really not happy. I told him to leave me alone and shouted ahead to the girls for help. This guy was not giving up though… he wanted my camera. Jaqui and Sara came back and things started to fall into place. I hadn’t seen the guy on the beach but Sara had… he had been catching the breeze totally naked with it all there for the world to see. I never saw him and certainly didn’t take his photo. I showed him the photos and he relaxed. He apologised “I thought you took my photo, I didnt mean to frighten you” to which Jaqui replied “Don’t flatter yourself mate” and we walked on giggling like school girls.
Ahead was a little restaurant over looking the dunes. It looked rather posh but it was time for lunch and it was a good stop. We ordered cold drinks and hot baguettes… all very scummy and the ideal pilgrim lunch.
Off we set again along the dunes. We walked by a huge industrial area that was particularly stinky… actually really really stinky! We picked up speed just to get away from it.
On we walked. Always on boardwalks and always beside the sea. We meandered into a little fishing village and watched the old men and women repair and sort their nets amongst brightly coloured beach huts. And on we walked. Always on the boardwalks and always beside the sea.
We stopped around 3.00 for a coffee and boots off. We had seen a number of other pilfrims walking so we rang our albergue and said that we were on our way and please can we have three beds. No problem he said and he was right… there are eight beds here and four other pilgrims… and beds not bunks!
We walked just over 26km today so not a bad start. The weather was perfect although it’s a tad chilly now in the albergue! There is a restaurant 500m down the road which has been recommended… it’s quite probable we’ll have an early supper and an early night… I could climb in to bed right now and snooze but I’ll save that joy for later.
All in all, it’s been a nice day and a rather lovely walk.