Day 16 – Porto to Vila do Conde – 23mi/37km
Nilanj will take over writing duties and I will be doing some daily observations now.
After an early 600am wakeup, I joined David as well as Finn and Lis – the folks he’s been walking with since Lisbon. Our route today was the “Senda Litoral” variant of the Camino which takes you out of Porto along the Douro River and then north directly along the Atlantic coast. Views of Porto’s bridges were awesome as we walked further from the city, and once we made the turn for the coast, we were in for a long stretch of beach.
The day was cloudy so we had some protection from the sun, but it was muggy with no breeze so it was mildly uncomfortable! We walked most of the beach sections on slightly raised wooden duckboards or boardwalks. They were fairly narrow, so not like the boardwalks at big beach resort cities. We saw some beautiful and interesting sights and sculptures along the day, but as the day wore on, we got tired and looked forward to getting to a bed. The terrain was all flat, but after a while we could feel each step and bounce off the wooden planks. Once we got to Vila do Conde, David and I scarfed some food very quickly, did some stretches, and crashed. We regretted not taking some time to see the town but, I hope to have more energy in the coming days.
I was definitely not ready to go 20+ on day 1! My last 2 trails have been relative picnics with an average of 13-mile days. I am seeing some long days ahead of 18+ miles, almost every day. Woof!
Walking 33km feeling sick is not easy.
Having Nilanj around felt felt like he was with with us all along.
We saw more new people in the first hour than the entire first two weeks.
Already the way from Porto has been better walking along the beach for a day before we go inland.
Sometimes waiting for the first cafe works and sometimes it doesn’t, today it did as we found the best one yet.
We got very lucky with no sun as we walked completely exposed the entire way.
Walking on a flexing boardwalk for 18 miles can lead to some knee pain.
No matter how much pain or distance is left, somehow you always find a way to arrive.
Drinking a liter of orange juice and 9 hours a sleep goes a long way to recovery.