Day 18 – Vila da Conde to Barcelos

Day 18 – Vila da Conde to Barcelos – 18mi/29km – Observations and Photos

We had another long day ahead of us today with a hot forecast, so we got moving by 630am. We were on the “Coastal Way” yesterday, which is supposedly the best path out of Porto, and we planned to cross over today to the “Central Way.” We wanted the path that had more historic towns and more pilgrims – we’ve both done great coastal hikes recently and wanted more of a true Camino experience.

So began our long crossover day. We walked alone in the early morning using our maps and GPSs to find our way northwest to the other path. We took the wrong turn a few times, passed through lots of corn fields, and finally arrived on the “Central Way.” We knew we were there when we saw other pilgrims with that familiar peregrino shuffle!

Unlike yesterday, we didn’t have cloud cover but instead had blazing sun all day. The early morning was cool but by 10am we could feel ourselves baking. We dodged many cars on small town roads with no or just one sidewalk, so we were constantly crossing the street and adding to our ever-growing distance. I forgot – a true Camino experience is supposed to be long and grueling, with a few sweet moments of levity and relief mixed in. It’s supposed to be hard, I suppose! If it were easy, it wouldn’t feel like a real accomplishment to complete. It wouldn’t be a real pilgrimage – religious or otherwise.

David’s Observations

I woke up feeling much better today.

I’m pretty sure every Portuguese person goes to formula 1 racing school before they get their license. No matter what the car or surface they brake late into turns and floor it coming out. Everyone drives so fast.

The fruit trees and crops here seem to grow effortlessly. Orange trees have a hundreds of oranges much of which fall to the ground and corn grows like weeds.

Google maps and GPS are a lifesaver, especially when following a less traveled path like today. Getting a locals help is always good fun though.

Early wakeup is a necessity to avoid the heat of the day. If you don’t, then you pay a steep price.

It’s really nice to have some fresh faces around. The dorm room banter has been pretty good.

Barcelos is a beautiful little town with a lot of history