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CP: Some general questions

sugargypsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019
In progress: CP 2020 and/or CI
Hi @All,

I want to walk the CP next year in May or June and have some general questions. Before putting down my questions:

I have no idea what the situation concerning Covid-19 will be at that time next year. But I need a goal for myself in the near future. This aimlessness - I am also severely restricted professionally by Covid-19 – has been and still is emotionally and physically quite difficult for me.

Since I live in Europe, it will hopefully be possible to walk the Camino again in the summer months 2021. Apart from that, yesterday I discovered an unbeatable flight offer to Porto from my hometown for € 28. This is a price that I am happy to invest. If it should not be possible for me to set off, because the situation doesn’t allow it, the financial loss will be manageable ;).

So, finally, after this long introduction, now my questions:

1) Weather: I have already studied temperature tables and some threads here, but I haven't really become much smarter. I would like to walk in May or early June to mid-June - I would prefer walking in June. However, I don't like walking in high temperatures or getting up very early 😇. I know, nobody can predict the weather, but I thought of the possibility to walk along the coast, if it turns very hot and to switch to the central route, if it gets colder and/or rains often. Does that make sense?

2) Clothes: How cold can it get during May/June in the mornings: lower than 7 or 8 °C?

3) Language: No matter where I travel, I usually try to learn some basic phrases in the local language, simply because I see it as a courtesy to the host country, and also I like to be able to chat a little when buying something, booking a room, asking for a route etc. - makes it also a lot easier.

For the first time I find this difficult to accomplish, because I've been learning Spanish since the year before last and the similarities between the Portuguese and Spanish language are in some cases very close, but still having slight differences. This is giving me great difficulties at the moment, when studying both languages at the same time. So I would prefer to concentrate only on Spanish. How well can one get along in Portugal in English, German or French? (I heard that people in Portugal are a bit reluctant to speak Spanish? Is that true?)

4) Accommodation: Are the accommodations on the CP similarly closely spread as on the CF (regardless of whether we talk about albergues, hostales, Casa rurales or hotels), so that the length of ones stages can be divided quite freely? (for now: regardless of how much the offer may / will be restricted because of Covid-19, I just want to know whether this is basically possible).

5) Mochila-transport: I know that there are also various companies which transport luggage from place A to B (again for now: regardless of how much the offer may / will be restricted because of Covid-19). Do they also include smaller localities like on the Frances?

6) Opening times of mercados: Are the times similar to those in Spain, i.e. rather closed in the smaller towns between 12 noon till 4 pm?

7) Post office: How long does it approximately take to send something from Porto to SdC (package that weighs around 2 kg)? How expensive would that be? Is it also possible to send via poste restante like within Spain?

Well, right now, that’s it ;) . Thank you in advance for your answers 🌹.

Sugargypsy
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
@sugargypsy my sympathy and my empathy. Your second paragraph says it all. Most of us are stuck in environments we'd rather avoid and longing for camino. My current goal is to clean the litter from 50k of the Old Way through Sussex. Fantasy Camino Invierno just hurts; I might as well dream of hugging my grandfather.

Why don't you repost your questions in May next year when someone might have meaningful answers and you might, might, have a realistic prospect of travel. Meanwhile if you have an urge to bung €28 why not bung it at a Camino related business instead of an airline :confused:
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
I'll jump in on a couple of them:

3) Language: No matter where I travel, I usually try to learn some basic phrases in the local language, simply because I see it as a courtesy to the host country, and also I like to be able to chat a little when buying something, booking a room, asking for a route etc. - makes it also a lot easier.

How well can one get along in Portugal in English, German or French? (I heard that people in Portugal are a bit reluctant to speak Spanish? Is that true?)

4) Accommodation: Are the accommodations on the CP similarly closely spread as on the CF (regardless of whether we talk about albergues, hostales, Casa rurales or hotels), so that the length of ones stages can be divided quite freely? (for now: regardless of how much the offer may / will be restricted because of Covid-19, I just want to know whether this is basically possible).

6) Opening times of mercados: Are the times similar to those in Spain, i.e. rather closed in the smaller towns between 12 noon till 4 pm?

3) English is widely spoken in Portugal, far more so than Spain or other southern European countries and at a comparable level to Germany or Belgium (see the English Proficiency Index for rankings).

Yes, you are right that Portuguese people prefer not to be spoken to in Spanish. This is related to the centuries-long rivalry between the two polities. I have posted this on the forum before, but I think it's worth doing so again. This was once written on the social media of Practice Portuguese (a podcast / learning platform for European Portuguese): ‘When you get to Portugal, you will notice that we love to show off our English skills. And of course, we love to help foreigners in need. So whenever you are having trouble finding a word, do not jump to Spanish please. Portugal and Spain are friends and neighbours but our languages are different, and we do not learn Spanish at school.’

Finally, if you walk from Porto you will only spend about 6 days in Portugal, so although I admire and encourage your general effort to learn some of the language, it might not be worth it in this case.

4) From Porto on the central route, I would say not as closely spread as the CF but not terribly far from it. From Lisbon to Porto, it's a different story.

6) No, there isn't the siesta tradition in Portugal as in Spain so midday closures, if they occur, might be an hour for lunch but not more.
 

sugargypsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019
In progress: CP 2020 and/or CI
My current goal is to clean the litter from 50k of the Old Way through Sussex. Fantasy Camino Invierno just hurts; I might as well dream of hugging my grandfather.
I appreciate what you are trying to tell me. But people are different. I've been engaged in some other, social activities during the unwanted free time during the last couple of months which was fulfilling, but sometimes there are still other needs within us.

Why don't you repost your questions in May next year when someone might have meaningful answers and you might, might, have a realistic prospect of travel.

I often thought this too this year, when reading lots of questions about members who wanted to walk a camino this year. I wanted to walk the CP this year in October, but had those plans put off already in May this year.

But right now I want to dream a little, make some plans, because I know this will help me through the next months :).

Meanwhile if you have an urge to bung €28 why not bung it at a Camino related business instead of an airline :confused:
I already did support two albergues in Spain and still do support a small social organisation in my home country which helps single parents. But right now it is also important to think and take care of my mind - support myself - so that I'll still be able to help others in future times.
 
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andycohn

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (12-15); Muxia (15); Portuguese, Primitivo (17); Norte, Ingles, VF partial (18), Le Puy (19)
Hi @All,

I want to walk the CP next year in May or June and have some general questions. Before putting down my questions:

I have no idea what the situation concerning Covid-19 will be at that time next year. But I need a goal for myself in the near future. This aimlessness - I am also severely restricted professionally by Covid-19 – has been and still is emotionally and physically quite difficult for me.

Since I live in Europe, it will hopefully be possible to walk the Camino again in the summer months 2021. Apart from that, yesterday I discovered an unbeatable flight offer to Porto from my hometown for € 28. This is a price that I am happy to invest. If it should not be possible for me to set off, because the situation doesn’t allow it, the financial loss will be manageable ;).

So, finally, after this long introduction, now my questions:

1) Weather: I have already studied temperature tables and some threads here, but I haven't really become much smarter. I would like to walk in May or early June to mid-June - I would prefer walking in June. However, I don't like walking in high temperatures or getting up very early 😇. I know, nobody can predict the weather, but I thought of the possibility to walk along the coast, if it turns very hot and to switch to the central route, if it gets colder and/or rains often. Does that make sense?

2) Clothes: How cold can it get during May/June in the mornings: lower than 7 or 8 °C?

3) Language: No matter where I travel, I usually try to learn some basic phrases in the local language, simply because I see it as a courtesy to the host country, and also I like to be able to chat a little when buying something, booking a room, asking for a route etc. - makes it also a lot easier.

For the first time I find this difficult to accomplish, because I've been learning Spanish since the year before last and the similarities between the Portuguese and Spanish language are in some cases very close, but still having slight differences. This is giving me great difficulties at the moment, when studying both languages at the same time. So I would prefer to concentrate only on Spanish. How well can one get along in Portugal in English, German or French? (I heard that people in Portugal are a bit reluctant to speak Spanish? Is that true?)

4) Accommodation: Are the accommodations on the CP similarly closely spread as on the CF (regardless of whether we talk about albergues, hostales, Casa rurales or hotels), so that the length of ones stages can be divided quite freely? (for now: regardless of how much the offer may / will be restricted because of Covid-19, I just want to know whether this is basically possible).

5) Mochila-transport: I know that there are also various companies which transport luggage from place A to B (again for now: regardless of how much the offer may / will be restricted because of Covid-19). Do they also include smaller localities like on the Frances?

6) Opening times of mercados: Are the times similar to those in Spain, i.e. rather closed in the smaller towns between 12 noon till 4 pm?

7) Post office: How long does it approximately take to send something from Porto to SdC (package that weighs around 2 kg)? How expensive would that be? Is it also possible to send via poste restante like within Spain?

Well, right now, that’s it ;) . Thank you in advance for your answers 🌹.

Sugargypsy
With respect to your question about jumping from one route to the other, it's easy to do at multiple points. For example, on the coastal route most people make it to Vila do Conde on the first day. From there, there is a marked trail to Arcos on the central route. From Povoa de Varzim and Esposende, about 4 and 24 k. respectively, further north of Vila do Conde, there is cheap, frequent and quick local bus servcie over to Barcelos on the central route. The same is true at Viana do Castelo (about 25 k north of Esposende), from which you can get a local bus to Ponte de Lima on the central route. And so on pretty much all along. See Rome2rio for bus information.

You don't even have to decide anything until you're there. For example, we started out on the coastal route in May, 2017 because the forecast was for warm weather, but it didn't measure up to our expectations, so hopped the Esposende - Barcelos bus and continued up the central. Frequent buses. About 1/2 hour ride. Never missed a beat.

As to luggage transport, Tuitrans is the best known one and has a very good reputation (we didn't use luggage transport, so I can't vouch for them personally). You can also ship your extra luggage with them all the way to Santiago. Here's their website: https://tuitrans.com/?lang=en

I agree with the other posters above with respect to your other questions.
 

musicman

Ensuitepilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016,2017,2018
Ola, I have walked in Portugal on the internal coastal routes. Highly recommended- the Portuguese are most hospitable. Plenty of accommodation when I walked but you would need to check nearer the time of your departure, as some establishments may not survive COVID. I always use Booking.com with free cancellation- I don’t use albergues as a rule.
to give you a “feel” for these Caminos please feel free to look at the Blogs I wrote about them on:-
ensuitepilgrimblog.Wordpress.com
Archives 28 JUNE 2020. - A write up of and earlier saunter
5-11 JUNE 2018 - leading a group on a section of the PC
7-15 SEPT.2017
3-16 SEPT 2013
11 AUGUST 2013
10-23 JUNE 2013
Like you I am hopeful for 2021, having had to cancel 2 Caminos this year 😱.

Bom caminho.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Like everyone said most of what you ask has been answered above so no need to be repetitious. I know every time you walk a new Camino or even a Camino at a different time of year you have questions. I see you walked your first Camino on the CF. I am sure, like all of us you had a million and one questions especially because it was your "virgin flight" as a pilgrim. I bet within a really short time you had it all figured out. I also bet you felt pretty good about yourself that you were able to get past the fear of the unknown and probably alot easier than you thought. I will be walking from Sevilla as soon as I have a vaccine in me. I have questions like you and this will be my 6th Camino and I have almost 5k of walking under my belt. But I also know within the first 50 meters of the questions and fears will begin to melt away. I can't wait, and I bet you can't wait either. Don't worry you will be on the Camino and you will be fine. One last thing to remember, the Portuguese people are about the nicest, warmest and most generous people on earth.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
On the language front: I will repeat the general advice not to ty to use Spanish with the Portuguese people. However, French is frequently spoken by those 50 and over (because their dictator wanted them to learn what was for decades, the powerful language of politics and the academy); the people under age 40 all speak English (for similar reasons that the elders learned French). I found it extremely easy to get along because these two are my languages for work and life.
I find Portuguese *very* difficult to understand aurally, but fairly simple to read.
I did learn a few phrases, and offered that I was happy to chat in French as my Portuguese was abysmal). People were unfailingly kind and generous.
I learned that for more complex things a translation app on my phone was extremely useful -- it was able to handle spoken word as well as written. The one caveat I discovered about that is that some of the very elderly remain unable to read... so I an into 2 situations in which neither my French nor my app were helpful.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
1) Weather: I have already studied temperature tables and some threads here, but I haven't really become much smarter. I would like to walk in May or early June to mid-June - I would prefer walking in June. However, I don't like walking in high temperatures or getting up very early 😇. I know, nobody can predict the weather, but I thought of the possibility to walk along the coast, if it turns very hot and to switch to the central route, if it gets colder and/or rains often. Does that make sense?

2) Clothes: How cold can it get during May/June in the mornings: lower than 7 or 8 °C?
My wife and I did the Coastal Portuguese twice, both times in the summer months. I can't speak to how the weather differs on the central route. But I can tell you that the sea breeze helped enormously in tamping down the heat on the coastal. My wife called it "God's air conditioning." When we had to deviate inland, the temperature rose quickly because the wind was blocked by buildings, trees, sand dunes, etc. We encountered no rain on either trip, although we did run into some light mist and drizzle in Galicia itself. As for clothing, we did the entire trip in shorts and short sleeves, although we had to don a sweater or light jacket on some mornings. Bottom line: coastal route definitely hot in summer but sea breeze makes it bearable.
 

bubba

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015,2016 ,Portuguese 2017,Del Norte 2018, Via De La Plata 2019
This works in a lot of places, find a school aged person,most have a good knowledge of english and cell phones if you are in a pinch.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
As others have said, it is easy to transition from the Coastal to the Central and there are a number of places with marked routes so you can walk from one to the other if you don't want to take a bus while on Camino. I walked from Vila do Conde on the Coastal/Senda Litoral to Rates on the Central.

Others have also mentioned that English is widely spoken. But let me pitch learning a few words in Portuguese. For example:
Obrigado (if you are a man)/Obrigada (if you are a woman) means "thank you", always a good word to learn in any language, and it is sufficiently different from the Spanish gracias as to cause no confusion.
Similarly carimbo for "stamp" is sufficiently different from sello that you aren't likely to mix them up.

Regarding your question about baggage transport. If things return to normal by the time you walk, I think you will find that baggage transport companies provide equivalent coverage north of Porto to what you may have experienced on the Frances. But like on the Frances, not all albergues may work with them - especially the type that doesn't take reservations. I remember, for example, that the Albergue Sao Pedro de Rates didn't accept backpacks from the transport company and had any sent there dropped off elsewhere.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
A few times
If you haven't already, I recommend you invest in a good Camino Portuguese guidebook. Answers a lot of questions and even if you don't carry it with you it helps you plan things. I personally love the Brierley version. You can purchase a latest version of it on this forum.
June weather is not too hot.
Congrats on finding such a great deal on an airline ticket. Nothing at all wrong with investing 28 bucks on it. Won't toss rocks at you for that and it is in it's own way supporting the overall Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
Not to use one piece of graffiti as a way of making a mass generalisation ...
My wife and I live in Tavira, in the Algarve, and that is our understanding too. The worst thing a foreigner can do in Portugal is think they can get by here by speaking in Spanish. A Portuguese friend of ours says he once heard a shopkeeper literally scream "Don't speak Spanish to me!" at some abashed tourists. There is no real political animosity between the two countries, right now, at least. It's just that the Portuguese resent that Spanish people tend to ignore their language and culture; Portugal is a much smaller country, so easy to ignore.
If you don't know any Portuguese, try English. In our experience, virtually everyone here knows some English, even if only at a basic level. Outside of the Anglosphere, Portugal actually has the 7th highest level of English language proficiency in the world (see https://www.ef.edu.pt/epi/). That's quite an extraordinary achievement, if you think about it!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Outside of the Anglosphere, Portugal actually has the 7th highest level of English language proficiency in the world (see https://www.ef.edu.pt/epi/). That's quite an extraordinary achievement, if you think about it!

I’m sure this has been mentioned on the forum, but my Portuguese friends tell me that the reason for such high proficiency levels is that when TV first got introduced in Portugal, there was no money to dub programs, so they all came on in their original version. Mostly English. Now that tradition continues, so most of the first run movies in Portugual will be in English with Portugues subtitles. It’s the French or German movies with Portuguese subtitles that are more complicated for me to watch when I’m there!

And p.s., what a lovely place to live — Tavira is just a beautiful town, lucky you.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
I’m sure this has been mentioned on the forum, but my Portuguese friends tell me that the reason for such high proficiency levels is that when TV first got introduced in Portugal, there was no money to dub programs, so they all came on in their original version. Mostly English. Now that tradition continues, so most of the first run movies in Portugual will be in English with Portugues subtitles.
The way I heard it was slightly different but with the same means and the same end. I heard that dubbing was replaced by subtitles in the 1970s as a way of trying to promote the local film industry (i.e. because people wouldn't understand English-language movies anymore, so they'd have to watch Portuguese movies instead). But what happened instead was that the Portuguese learned English and then were able to continue watching English-language movies and the boon to the local film industry never materialised.

It's funny how dubbing vs sub-titles can have such a huge impact on proficiency, but it does, as there's an obvious correlation in Europe between English proficiency and whether countries dub or not.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese Coastal (2018)
Portuguese Coastal, with Spiritual Variant (2019)
And p.s., what a lovely place to live — Tavira is just a beautiful town, lucky you.
Yes, Tavira is lovely, with the river flowing through it. It has all the amenities you need, in terms of shopping and restaurants, but is small enough to be manageable. We can walk from one end of town to another in 45 minutes.
 

Roland49

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2019 July
If you don't know any Portuguese, try English. In our experience, virtually everyone here knows some English, even if only at a basic level. Outside of the Anglosphere, Portugal actually has the 7th highest level of English language proficiency in the world (see https://www.ef.edu.pt/epi/). That's quite an extraordinary achievement, if you think about it!

It's funny how dubbing vs sub-titles can have such a huge impact on proficiency, but it does, as there's an obvious correlation in Europe between English proficiency and whether countries dub or not.

But how comes, that in a country where almost all foreign movies, TV series and features are dubbed, the proficiency is only a bit less than in Portugal?

Germany ranks on 8th on that list. And it is rare to find movies in OT (original sound) in Germany. Very rare for blockbusters and rare to arthouse.
On some german TV stations you can choose to have the OT or the dubbed version in movies (i.e. ARTE, 3Sat, Neo, etc.).

As I prepare to walk the CP Sendo litoral next Spring I will learn some absolut basics of portuguese.
For me that is some sort of giving back to the communities that are supporting the Camino and the pilgrims.
And I am aware of the sometime troubled history of the bordering countries Spain and Portugal.

I hope that there will be no more problems caused by CoVID19 and that I'm able to walk as I have planned.

BC
Roland
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
I don´t think the Portuguese people in general have any problem to speak Spanish.
Maybe in the case of foreigners who they think can speak English they don´t like being asked in Spanish. They know that most Spaniards are monolinguals so they speak Spanish to them if they can.
I am Galician and always speak my not perfect Portuguese when I visit Portugal. To my frustation many times the people respond in Spanish. I think that they try to show that they can speak a good Spanish too. So the bilingual conversation seems to be a competition about who speaks better the other side language.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Camino(s) past & future
Francés 2017
Primitivo 2018
Madrid 2019
Kumano Kodo 2019
Português 2020
But how comes, that in a country where almost all foreign movies, TV series and features are dubbed, the proficiency is only a bit less than in Portugal?

Germany ranks on 8th on that list.
Yes, that's interesting, but exceptions prove rules and there tends to be a development/economic aspect to English proficiency as well. Typically the wealthier, northern European countries who don't dub (e.g. the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries) have better English levels than the poorer southern European countries who do dub (e.g. Spain and Italy). Maybe we can see Portugal as an exception to the development aspect, and Germany as an exception to the dubbing aspect.
 
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