I’m a bit slow this time with blogs because I’ve been doing little movies instead, and actually, I don’t have much to report about the last two days. I’m in Portugal now and gosh it’s hard if you don’t have the language skills. Just lucky so far that most people seem to know a bit of English.
After an easy transition from Spain to Portugal, Jesus the suicidal taxi driver weaved his impatient way through the traffic towards the freeway with me in a cold sweat in the back seat actually praying for safety. He treated the car like a second skin and skillfully squeezed between trucks and buses with a hairs width of space each side of the car. He pulled up on top of the tram lines on a really steep hill, so I scrambled out and pressed the buzzer on the door he was pointing to. Up a flight of stairs and a door opened up to allow me in. I could hear the angels singing as the blinding light in the room enveloped me and Fernandez sat me down with a drink. I must have looked a bit green around the gills.
What a fantastic albergue (hostel)! Solid beds,spotlessly clean bathrooms, segregated floors,2 euro buffet breakfast, home cooked 3 course meal at night, 1 euro pots of beer or wine, and exceptionally friendly staff who speak about 3 or 4 languages each. There are curtains on the bunks to allow privacy, a bendable reading lamp and a power point on every bunk. Pilgrims dream but of course it comes at a price-so worth it though. It is an easy way to transition into albergue life.
At the moment I’m sitting in the town square on a park bench watching the gulls. They are washing their steroidal type bodies in the fountain and fluffing out their feathers – now foraging for breakfast among last nights left overs strewn across the cobblestones. These birds are huge!
By the way, why hasn’t anyone mentioned that Porto is so ‘hilly’. I could have just come here for a week to walk around Porto’s cobblestoned Mountains as training. So people, be warned, you need to be part goat here.
I had planned to wander further exploring yesterday, but I ended up spending the day trying to work out a plan of what to do. I’m going to start from the next stage, so with that decision made, I then went to vodaphone to sort my SIM card that wasn’t working properly and wandered up to the cathedral to get my stamp for the start of my Camino. Next stop was the train station to get a ticket for the morning.
This camino is not so much about the walking. I have just decided to see what unfolds and so far it seems to be working. I’ve walked an average of 13-15,000 steps each day and but I’ve also been tasting Spain and Portugal’s culinary delights so probably not losing weight!
I got up at 5.30 before dawn because that is the time that my upstairs bunk mate came in! He stinks of cigarettes and has obviously had a huge night on the town as he started snoring like a freight train as soon as his head hit the pillow. So I came to the square to watch the city awaken. Not quite what I was hoping for. So far, I’ve watched a spectacular scrag fight and now the boys are joining in, pushing and shoving each other around. The ground at my feet is littered with cigarettes and I seem to be near a major bus stop so the fumes are getting to me. Time for breakfast.
I’m staying in the most awesome place called Yes Porto.