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Starting In Porto On June 21 2017

Discussion in 'The Camino Portugues' started by mjfisher02, Feb 28, 2017.

  1. mjfisher02

    mjfisher02 New Member

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    I have made my decision to start my first...of hopefully many...camino in Porto. So many new questions since my original plans of walking the CF has changed. I am flying into OPO. First question: Do you have to check in anywhere before starting the Camino if you already have your passport? Because I notice that the path comes back past the airport, and it is like a 45 min train ride into town. Can I just arrive at the airport, collect my bag and start from there? I plan on doing a mix between the coastal route and main route. How are the beaches? I already have Brierley's book on the CF. Is it worth it to buy the one for the CP, or could I just make a list of the refugios and alburques, and map them out for myself and save the money? I have from the 22nd @ 1pm; when my flight is supposed to land until the 4th; when I want to be back in Porto to catch my flight home...if I don't decide to stay over there forever lol...on the 5th. Is this adequate time to complete the journey. Before it is asked...yes, the compostella is important to me...this time. It is a goal of mine and the only physical material artifact I plan on bringing back from this journey. After this camino I plan on starting my next one in SJDP and walking until my time is up.


    Only 113 more days....so excited...and nervous.

    exactly how I am feeling now lol
     
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  2. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey MJ - My wife and I leave for Porto in about three weeks. Let me share with you a few of our plans that may help answer your questions. Wanting to see Porto, we're planning on spending our first night there at The Poet's Inn. We will pick up our Credencial at the cathedral and collect our first stamp there. There's no reason why you can't just start at the airport. Getting the cathedral sello is important to us and we wanted to rest after our overnight flight from the States before starting out.

    Regarding the Brierley CP book, I believe it's worth the money. You're correct about finding all of the albergue information online, but I like the book, just like his CF version, for all the other information it offers and the maps. If you don't want the whole book, you can buy just a book of maps.

    Our trip is of similar length as your. We have eleven days planned to reach Santiago. We have a couple of short days in our schedule so we could easily get there a day sooner if we wanted to. After a couple days in Santiago, we're planning on catching a bus back to Porto where we will again spend the night before heading home. Not knowing how busy the buses will be, I'm hoping to buy our Santiago-Porto tickets when we first arrive in Porto if it is possible. Buen Camino!
     
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  3. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    Hi Wily, thanks for sharing your extensive experiences across various topics on the Forum (including your blog on 'Walking the Camino Portugues'). I am planning a similar camino, from Porto to Camino de Santiago. My wife came across an article that claimed that 99% of the trail is on paved roads, and that road traffic noise is even audible on trails. Can you please advise how much of the trails from Porto to CS is on paved roads/next to roads, vs outdoor trails? Thank you.
     
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  4. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Ben - First, welcome to the Forum and thank you for your kind words.

    As you can see from our blog and my other comments, my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the CP. There are sections where you do walk on or along side roads, but much more of it is on paths. In fact, where we picked up the Caminho Central in Arcos, we seemed to walk primarily on cobblestone paths most of the way to the International Bridge between Valenca and Tui. Of course, entering towns and villages one will be on pavement most of the time, but there are sometimes options there as well. For example, going into Porrino, choose the wooded path along the river to avoid the long industrial stretch leading into town. If you have a copy of the Brierley book, you'll see that most of the Way in on paths. They may parallel a number of the roads, but we hardly noticed car noises even when we were close to them. The hardest thing for some are the cobblestones. They were particularly tough on my wife's knees, but by shipping her pack ahead for a few days, she managed quite nicely and was able to complete her Camino.

    I'd certainly recommend that you head out of Porto along the coast and walk the boardwalk up to Vila do Conde. One is along the road most of that day, but if the weather cooperates for you, it's a lovely walk up the coast. Cut in then at Vila do Conde. At Arcos, you join back in with the Central route. Some days will be a combination of country roads and paths, but we never found the traffic or the noise from the traffic much of an issue. Danvo just did this same walk this past summer with his wife so he might be able to add a few observations as well. Bom Caminho!
     
  5. BenL

    BenL The Burghers of Calais

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    Thanks Wily for clarifying. I anticipated that article was fake news when it claimed that 99% was on paved roads without qualifying the stretch/section. Not sure what was the hidden agenda for said article. We do intend to take in as much of the coastal route as possible, and will keep your pointers in mind. My wife also has bad knees, and thus, I would like to learn more about your wife sending her pack ahead for a few days. I assume the albergue/hostels at Point A can arrange for that. The question is how do I determine the albergue/hostel at Point B as I am under the impression that for the municipal albergues, one is unable to reserve in advance especially when Point B is say, two days away. Unless it just picking up the pack at Point B (i.e. one doesn't need to actually have a room booking), and then looking for another albergue with room availability. What are the typical charges for such a service? We are really looking forward to this.
     
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  6. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Ben - Here is a link to Tuitrans who we used to transport my wife's backpack for several days.

    http://tuitrans.com/?lang=en

    If I remember correctly, we didn't start using the transport service until we got to Spain and after five tough days for her on the cobbles. And if my memory serves me correctly, there are also other companies offering the same type of albergue to albergue luggage transport service.

    These folks were great! In the afternoon, I'd email Tuitrans with my pick-up location information. When we arrived at our afternoon destination, each and every day, the backpack was waiting for us. You do obviously need to know where you want the bag taken to. You tag the bag with one of their envelops that are available at the albergues and put 6€ inside. I always chatted with the hospitalera to make sure she knew we were leaving a bag for pick-up. We knew where we wanted to stay and in early April, there was no crowd on the CP so there was no problem going to any albergue and getting a bed. But, whether you're staying there or not, a bag can be delivered to any albergue you choose.

    You're correct that you can't reserve at municiple alberges. However, you can have your bag delivered there. If they have beds, you're all set. If not, grab your bag and check out the private albergues in that town. If I understood you correctly, you're not sure how to identify albergues. Of course, the Brierley book lists many of them along the CP. I also like the Gronze website for albergues for the different stages of the CP. This list will at least give you an idea of possible places to stay. For most of the albergues, there's a direct link to their own website and some have a booking.com link. You probably found our list of accommodations on the blog.

    https://www.gronze.com/camino-portugues

    The bottom line is that the transport system worked efficiently for us. There was never a problem and the folks at Tuitans were most helpful and professional. Hope this information helps. Bom Caminho!
     
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  7. calowie

    calowie Active Member

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    Hi Ben- Another option is to continue completely along the coast of Portugal (the coastal route) and only go inland at Pontevedra. Lots of small towns and trails; and then you can decide if you want to continue on the central camino to Santiago frpm Pontevedra, or go back to the coast on the spiritual variant that we did last year, and then up to Padron. The options just keep on coming! Whichever route you chooes... Buen Camino!
     
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  8. Trish

    Trish New Member

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  9. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    Wily, we are thinking of doing that route - our first Camino - mid to late March. How did you find the weather, since you say you were there early April?
     
  10. Wily

    Wily Camino Francés 2016; Camino Portugués 2017

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    Hey Trish - Just replied to your other post, but let me elaborate a bit more here on the weather we had last March/April.

    From Porto, we headed up the coast to Vila do Conde on the most beautiful day imaginable to enjoy the coastal views. Rain came in late that first day and stayed with us for a couple more. However, it was quite light and the temperature most moderate requiring us to just wear a light rain jacket. Some rain, overcast, a bit dark and gloomy, but a temperature great for walking. From then on, it was sunshine all the way to Santiago (I guess the Camino Gods were smiling upon us). As mornings were a little chilly, we layered and gradually stripped down to shorts and t-shirts by mid-day. Evening were most pleasant for strolling through the towns and cities requiring no more than a light jacket or fleece after the sun went down. We didn't have any particularly hot weather on our trek north to Santiago. In all, it was almost as perfect as one could hope to have. I do remember it was significantly warmer the week or two before we arrived in Portugal. From our experience, I'd return again early spring both because of the weather and the light crowd on the Way. Bom Caminho!
     
  11. Trish

    Trish New Member

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    Thanks again. I'm new to this forum (or any forum) so I first posted in the general area and then discovered this discussion. There's lots to learn just reading everyone's experiences!
     
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