Date: 16 April 2018
Walked from: Oliveira de Azeméis
Walked to: Grijó
Distance: 29.5 km
I’m back on the road again after two great days catching up with friends in Porto. I got the train back from Porto to Oliveira de Azeméis yesterday, and should hit Porto again (‘officially’ this time, via the Camino) tomorrow lunchtime. Meanwhile, it would appear there’s a whole lot of fairly uninspiring roadside walking to do.
That’s ok though, because the Camino isn’t just about the scenery, lovely as it is when you get great landscapes to walk through. It’s mainly about the people you meet and the villages you pass through – and the local cafes you stop at along the way. I passed a couple of wonderful tile-clad churches today, walked in the grounds of a beautiful monastery and wondered in a weird kind of awe at the shop selling religious-themed garden statue tat (later spotting a few in local gardens). I loved the atmosphere of the friendly Souto cafe in tiny Ferradal, where (once the other clientele had finished taking the mickey out of me for only being able to speak Spanish to the lady behind the bar – none the less, I got exactly the salad I wanted as a result) the local men gathered to play cards and shout at each other in what seemed like a light-hearted way, while I soaked it all in and sneaked a picture of a one intense game that way playing out right beside me.
Tonight I’m in Grijó, just 15 km outside of Porto, where I’ve met up with Susan, my new Camino friend who I haven’t seen in nearly a week. It’s remarkable how lovely it can be to catch up again with other people you’ve only known for such a short time – and SO much fun to catch up on the Camino gossip of people we’ve met or heard of along the way. Together with our fellow roomie (a Belgian man called Chris), we dined together with the hostel host and his family tonight, in their house next to the hostel. It was a pleasant meal, although once the son-in-law started moaning about all the migrant workers in Portugal (and note that I’d spent the meal speaking to the father-in-law in Spanish because he had spent 13 years working in Venezuela as a migrant worker himself), it felt like a good time to head for my bunk bed.