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Daily Musings from the Portuguese Coastal

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I just spent seven days walking from Porto to Vigo on the Portuguese Coastal / Senda Litoral. For anyone interested, here are some daily musings that I threw together with a photo for each day.



Day 1: A pre-dawn departure from Porto and it’s exciting to be back on the camino and to walk through a virtually empty city after it was bursting at the seams with tourists yesterday afternoon.

I take the alternative river exit and I’m glad I did, even though the absence of arrows at the outset of a camino is slightly disconcerting — not for wayfinding, because that’s quite obvious, but because it doesn’t help you land on the right side of ‘Does this feel like a camino?’ when there are no arrows. But soon I pass three Italian pilgrims and we exchange ‘bom caminhos’, and a camino it is.

Where the river meets the ocean at Foz do Douro is my favourite part of the stage, because there are lighthouses and fishermen and a surprisingly interesting fort to explore all to myself (not to mention the fabulously-named Instituto de Socorros a Náufragos — something like the ‘Shipwreck Rescue Institute’). Foz feels like a real place, unlike Matosinhos, which comes soon enough and is quite the shock.

There are beaches by now and it’s August so they’re jam-packed with holiday-makers, even though the beaches aren’t especially nice and are surrounded by industrial cranes and silos and ugly modern buildings. The beaches and umbrellas and people and development seem to go on forever, and by 9:15am I’ve already seen two Pizza Huts and this isn’t the Portugal I know. But there are arrows and a Lidl in Matosinhos so I take those little wins, stock up, and move on.

Then the boardwalks begin and the rhythm for the rest of the stage is set. Walking a camino on wooden planks is new for me and not my preferred surface but it’s still pretty easy walking because it’s not hot and you can’t exactly get lost on boardwalks. As I approach São Paio the holiday crowds start thinning out a bit and it seems more low key and there’s a nice estuary full of bird life, all of which is more to my liking.

Before I know it, I reach my destination, the fishing village of Vila Chã, and it’s not even 2pm yet and if that was really 26km, it was as much of a breeze as the one coming off the ocean.

FFB27447-2E76-44AD-AFC6-F440C5213A39.jpeg
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 2: I leave at dawn this morning but sunrise is merely theoretical because it’s misty and overcast and it will remain that way (at least the overcast part) for all of today’s 31km. It’s the longest day I’ll have on this camino, and some might say it’s ‘perfect hiking weather’, but I’m not one of them, and I miss yesterday’s glorious sunshine.

After Vila Chã ends, the boardwalks begin but they can hardly be further from the ones that were packed with beach-goers yesterday. The boards are damp from the mist and visibility is poor and there’s an almost complete absence of people. I don’t see any pilgrims and hardly anyone at all until Vila do Conde, just the odd local jogger or dog-walker. I signed up for a solo camino and this morning I get one; after yesterday’s beach crowds, I enjoy the solitude.

Vila do Conde has a nice historic core with some old sandstone buildings and azulejos and although I’ve never been here before, it’s a familiar and welcome version of Portugal for me. The Igreja Matriz is closed but it has a magnificent late Gothic Manueline portal, so I stop in the square opposite (also familiar: Praça Vasco da Gama) and eat breakfast.

It’s only 9am when I leave Vila do Conde but I don’t have my camino legs under me yet and I feel sore already, barely a third of the way through my stage. Pushing on, Povoa do Varzim has a nice church half-dedicated to Santiago with an azulejo of the saint and quite a few people praying inside, but after that the town descends into today’s most touristy beach spot. After lunch, there are more boardwalks, a golf course, a vineyard or two (literally), almost a pine forest, no pilgrims, and plenty of cobblestones. If anything makes you long for boardwalks, it’s cobblestones — but it wouldn’t be a Portuguese camino without them.

Apúlia seems like a ghost town but the Igreja Matriz is open so I go in and I’m the only person there and I’m surprised by how much I like it. The interior artwork is all modern, which doesn’t usually do much for me, but I find the mosaics to be quite fascinating. There are four of them and they’re almost all black-and-white but each has a splash of a different colour that illuminates them and brings out each scene, and I’m happy with this little discovery.

By Fão I’m near the end of the stage, but I’m worn out so I stop at a bar for a drink and chat with two pilgrims for a while. We walk together for the last 2.5km to Esposende, where we’re all staying tonight (albeit in different places), and it’s good company.

The day finishes happily with pizza and cider on a nice square, so if this ends up being the least interesting stage on this camino, then I’ll take it.

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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 3: Early morning fog — again! — but thankfully it doesn’t last today. By about 8:30am, the sun breaks through and it turns into a beautiful day, and an easier one than yesterday for a solar-powered pilgrim.

One of the quirks of the ‘coastal’ camino is that a fair bit of it is not by the coast at all — that’s what the Senda Litoral is for — and the official route today between Esposende and Viana do Castelo is entirely inland with not a single boardwalk after the outskirts of Esposende.

The early part of the day is fairly unremarkable (towns and cobblestones) and I am lost in thought when I suddenly realise, about three hours into the stage, that I’m in a forest for the first time on this camino. It’s not the most amazing forest I’ve ever been in by any stretch of the imagination and it only lasts a few minutes and there’s a fair bit of eucalyptus, but despite all of that, I irrationally love it. There’s actual terrain and I can feel the earth under my feet and hear the flow of a nearby river, and this is what the camino is for me. The river crossing over a stone bridge is nice and although there’s an opportunity just after the bridge to head towards the coast, I stick with the inland route and am rewarded soon enough with another forest, which is not quite as thrilling as the first one but worth it all the same.

It’s also another day of churches and there are several on the trail that I like: Belinha for its quasi onion dome, rare in Portugal in general but somewhat common in this part of the country; Castelo do Neiva for its AD 862 inscription that shows it to be the earliest known sanctuary to Santiago outside Spain; and Anha for more surprisingly interesting modern art, this time stained-glass windows.

I arrive in Viana do Castelo by 2:30pm; it’s an attractive town with a picturesque historic centre, and it’s a good place to reflect and ponder over an afternoon drink at a garden kiosk. If the lesson from today is ‘the further inland you go, the more authentic a camino this is’, what does that mean for the coming days?

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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 4: Walking through an empty Viana do Castelo at dawn, with an orange tinge in the eastern sky and not a cloud in sight, the decision point comes early today. The official ‘coastal’ route is once again mostly inland, and there’s an obvious Senda Litoral alternative immediately after Viana that hugs the ocean. Despite my enjoyment of the interior route yesterday, today’s stage doesn’t sound exceptional, so I opt for the Litoral and I’m glad I did.

Early on, the coast is wild and rough, and, while it’s not exactly beautiful, I like it. Gronze describes today’s Litoral alternative as ‘sin flechas pero con playas’, but that’s only half right for the first 10 kilometres: there are no arrows, but there aren’t any beaches either. Instead, the coast is rocky and locals clamming outnumber sunbathers — and pilgrims — for the first couple of hours. The winding dirt path passes four mills (one recently restored, three not) and a couple of forts, and this is my favourite part of the day.

Later, the beaches appear and I take my shoes off and dip my toes into the (freezing) sea for the first time on this camino. Vila Praia de Âncora is the unappealing beach town of the day, where the coastal and Litoral paths meet back up, and I pass through quickly.

At Moledo, near the end of the stage, arrows take pilgrims onto the highway but I follow a recommended Gronze alternative and find myself in a sandy pine forest that resembles the Camino de Madrid except for the sound of the ocean to my left. When the forest ends, the body of water in front of me is no longer the Atlantic Ocean but the Minho River, and the land I can see on the other side is Galicia.

D37BB906-795E-4EF4-A685-72430080FB0F.jpeg
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 5: Sunrise over the Minho River affords one last glimpse of Portugal before I am whisked across the river by boat with three other pilgrims to continue my journey in a different land; on the other side of the river, which is now the Miño, awaits Spain.

Two minutes after disembarking from the boat, I’m taking a photo of a building by the shore whose faded grandeur is lit up by the sun’s first light, and a local man walks by and asks if I speak Spanish. When I say that I do, he tells me that the building was used as a concentration camp during the Spanish civil war. I look it up later and he’s right; according to one account I read, in just two months in the summer of 1938, 171 people were executed there. Later, I find out that the Oia monastery was also a concentration camp during the war.

The camino is different in Spain, too: right away there are hills and forests and mojones showing the distance to Santiago (165km), which is standard practice in Galicia but which I had almost forgotten about while walking in Portugal — especially on the Senda Litoral, where there aren’t even arrows, let alone distances.

After A Guarda, the coastline is rocky, like yesterday, but it’s more remote. Hills rise up directly from the ocean at times, leaving few settlements and forcing the camino away from the shore, sometimes onto the highway. It might not be the best day of walking but it’s a short stage (~16km) and it’s sunny and I’m happy to be in Spain.

By midday I’m already in Oia, and that’s as far as I’m going today because I want to visit the monastery and align my stages for Baiona and Vigo over the next two days. As I arrive, a localised fog descends on the ruined monastery by the sea, and, as improbable as it may seem at times, right now it doesn’t take much imagination to picture a Celtic land on the Iberian peninsula.

4B66EF1F-F746-4FD9-8DCF-F14174FC3281.jpeg
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 6: I leave Oia in heavy fog, which lasts all morning and then some, but I don’t mind because I’m nearly at the end and this is Galicia and it’s real. The glamour of the boardwalks and packed beaches and Pizza Huts of just a few days ago seems a long way away now, as I walk alone alongside a remote, rocky and misty coastline and can’t even see the water at times. Yet I prefer this — for the solitude, the sense of exploration and discovery, and, yes, because it feels more like a camino.

I have an unusual goal today and there’s not much in the fog to distract me from thinking about it. About 12km into the stage, I forego the arrows urging me inland and stay on the coast for another half an hour to reach the ‘beach of the crystals’, which I only know about because another pilgrim came this way a couple of weeks ago and wrote about it. The crystals are, in fact, small pieces of sea glass, of various colours but mostly clear and green, smoothed and frosted and scattered all over this tiny beach. It’s quite fascinating, and I stay for a while, eat a cobbled together Sunday lunch consisting of gas station snacks, and look past the crystals out into the ocean as far as the eye can see — which is not very far on a day like this.

After I leave the beach, the fog that has lingered all day completely clears in 10 minutes, the Galician coast suddenly reveals itself, and my destination, Baiona, looms in the distance. I walk for an hour in the sun and reach my albergue, but by the time I have a shower, rest, and am ready to go out and explore the castle, the fog is back and I can barely see the crenellations.

‘It comes and goes,’ the hospitalero says matter-of-factly about the fog, and people seem to barely notice it as they continue to take their Sunday afternoon strolls and lay out on the two small city beaches. But I can’t help but think about what an odd existence this must be, having your town literally disappear for hours at a time, at any time of day, in the middle of summer.

And just as I’m writing this on a park bench in the fog at 8:30pm, the sun breaks through, the sky turns blue out of nowhere, I get my photo of the castle, and all is right with the world.

9E0FA13A-D906-4E8F-A9E7-ED8B168166BF.jpeg
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Day 7: It’s foggy again as I set out this morning but it isn’t nearly as thick as yesterday, and at this point the fog has become an inseparable part of this camino — and of this mystical land. By 11am, the fog clears and it’s sunny for the rest of the walk.

This is the last day of my camino, and that’s usually accompanied by a sense of excitement at approaching Santiago. But today I’m only going to Vigo, a large and unattractive city whose best feature might be its good transport connections with Lisbon. On one hand, this will be a somewhat anticlimactic end to this little camino; on the other, I can enjoy the walk without being consumed by my impending arrival, because, really, I don’t want to arrive. And I’m not the only one; at one point today, I see a pilgrim laying on the beach, propped up by her backpack, reading a book.

From A Ramallosa, I take the coastal route, as do quite a few others. It’s a nice path, passing a few local, low-key beaches and some cruzeiros to remind me where I am.

As I approach Vigo in the early afternoon, the city is fortunately hidden by coves and bays and I don’t actually see it until I’m basically in the outskirts. And then I have to walk through an urban jungle for an hour, but it’s not bad and there’s some street art to look at and before I know it, I’m at my accommodation and my camino is over.

As for the question I’ve been pondering throughout this pilgrimage — ‘Does this feel like a camino?’ — I think the answer lies inside each individual pilgrim more than anywhere else. If you take the Senda Litoral at every opportunity and stay overnight in the touristy beach towns, I suspect it doesn’t feel much like a camino. And if you’re just here for the ocean, you’d be better off on the Rota Vicentina, which is both more remote and more spectacular.

But if you look for the camino here, you’ll find it — in the monastery of Oia, where monks fired canons at pirates from the patio that also served as the pilgrim route; in the 9th-century church inscription mentioning Santiago in Castelo do Neiva; and in those quintessential and special markers of Galician culture: the cruzeiros and the shells and the hórreos and, yes, even the fog.

33956D29-536F-4051-B8A5-5D66598D88D0.jpeg
 

Tassie Kaz

Sempre Avanti
Time of past OR future Camino
2023?
Well @jungleboy, you've outdone yourself this time! Such wonderful writing with the appreciation & gratitude you feel for where you are & what you're doing shining through.
A few of my take-aways from it;
*'Mojone' sent me googling...only to find it has two very distinct meanings!
*As an avid sea-glass collector (I mainly use it for mosaics), my heart rate noticeably quickened when I saw the colours of the individual pieces & the sheer volume in the background
*I walked the CP (Lisbon to SdC) including the coastal route in 2015 but now the Senda Litoral has been added to the list.

Long may you roam...& write, Nick! 🤗
👣 🌏
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
some daily musings that I threw together with a photo for each day.


I’ve only read Day 1 so far but I can’t contain myself. This is some of your best writing yet, IMHO, and you have already set a pretty high bar. LOVE IT!!!!!

If this is what you “throw together,” I cannot imagine what your highly polished prose would read like! :D
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Well @jungleboy, you've outdone yourself this time! Such wonderful writing with the appreciation & gratitude you feel for where you are & what you're doing shining through.
Thank you! Such lovely comments :)

A few of my take-aways from it;
*'Mojone' sent me googling...only to find it has two very distinct meanings!
Haha, I must admit I didn’t know about the second meaning! 💩

*As an avid sea-glass collector (I mainly use it for mosaics), my heart rate noticeably quickened when I saw the colours of the individual pieces & the sheer volume in the background
I didn’t know anything about it but @NadineK was there a few weeks ago and she is also a collector and was amazed by the volume too.

Long may you roam...& write, Nick! 🤗
👣 🌏
I want to walk the Overland Track in your neck of the woods next March but it’s already booked out! I’m on the waiting list 🤞
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I’ve only read Day 1 so far but I can’t contain myself. This is some of your best writing yet, IMHO, and you have already set a pretty high bar. LOVE IT!!!!!
Thank you! :) I decided to write a bit differently this time, and people seemed to like it.

If this is what you “throw together,” I cannot imagine what your highly polished prose would read like! :D
I originally wrote “tapped out” (on phone) but changed it to “threw together” at the last second! I had some time to write/tap each day on this camino, being solo and mostly in private rooms.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I have an unusual goal today and there’s not much in the fog to distract me from thinking about it. About 12km into the stage, I forego the arrows urging me inland and stay on the coast for another half an hour to reach the ‘beach of the crystals’, which I only know about because another pilgrim came this way a couple of weeks ago and wrote about it. The crystals are, in fact, small pieces of sea glass, of various colours but mostly clear and green, smoothed and frosted and scattered all over this tiny beach. It’s quite fascinating, and I stay for a while, eat a cobbled together Sunday lunch consisting of gas station snacks, and look past the crystals out into the ocean as far as the eye can see — which is not very far on a day like this.
P.S. For @Tassie Kaz and others interested in sea glass, here’s a short video I took showing more of the beach:

View attachment trim.23ED397D-9B97-4A44-8801-72E0B8236ADF.MOV
 

Tassie Kaz

Sempre Avanti
Time of past OR future Camino
2023?
Thank you! Such lovely comments :)


Haha, I must admit I didn’t know about the second meaning! 💩


I didn’t know anything about it but @NadineK was there a few weeks ago and she is also a collector and was amazed by the volume too.


I want to walk the Overland Track in your neck of the woods next March but it’s already booked out! I’m on the waiting list 🤞
1/ My comments about your writing are well deserved 🏅

2/ Glad to be able to contribute to your education 😉

3/ Yes, it is an unusual hobby. I've managed to recruit some new devotees along the way; it usually begins with newbies saying they can't see any, how do I find it, etc but once they train their eyes on what to look for, they quickly succumb... However, no training needed on your beach!

4/ The Overland Track is hugely popular so I'm not at all surprised you're on a waiting list this far out.
You could also check out the Three Capes Track in southern Tassie;
www.threecapestrack.com.au OR
www.parks.tas.gov.au › three-capes...
It's a completely different experience to the OT & would provide a wonderful contrast.
If you'd like any info or assistance re all things Tassie, don't hesitate to sing out!
👣 🌏
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
I'm leaving this tab open so I can read it bit by bit - I can only digest one day at a time.
The little I have seen is wonderful, @jungleboy. I've skimmed the rest and will savor them later.
Of course carrying my bounty could be an issue
Hardly. Come back after you have finished walking. :cool: ;)
Bring a small suitcase, lest you go waaaaay over your weight allowance.
 
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Time of past OR future Camino
06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
Day 7: It’s foggy again as I set out this morning but it isn’t nearly as thick as yesterday, and at this point the fog has become an inseparable part of this camino — and of this mystical land. By 11am, the fog clears and it’s sunny for the rest of the walk.

This is the last day of my camino, and that’s usually accompanied by a sense of excitement at approaching Santiago. But today I’m only going to Vigo, a large and unattractive city whose best feature might be its good transport connections with Lisbon. On one hand, this will be a somewhat anticlimactic end to this little camino; on the other, I can enjoy the walk without being consumed by my impending arrival, because, really, I don’t want to arrive. And I’m not the only one; at one point today, I see a pilgrim laying on the beach, propped up by her backpack, reading a book.

From A Ramallosa, I take the coastal route, as do quite a few others. It’s a nice path, passing a few local, low-key beaches and some cruzeiros to remind me where I am.

As I approach Vigo in the early afternoon, the city is fortunately hidden by coves and bays and I don’t actually see it until I’m basically in the outskirts. And then I have to walk through an urban jungle for an hour, but it’s not bad and there’s some street art to look at and before I know it, I’m at my accommodation and my camino is over.

As for the question I’ve been pondering throughout this pilgrimage — ‘Does this feel like a camino?’ — I think the answer lies inside each individual pilgrim more than anywhere else. If you take the Senda Litoral at every opportunity and stay overnight in the touristy beach towns, I suspect it doesn’t feel much like a camino. And if you’re just here for the ocean, you’d be better off on the Rota Vicentina, which is both more remote and more spectacular.

But if you look for the camino here, you’ll find it — in the monastery of Oia, where monks fired canons at pirates from the patio that also served as the pilgrim route; in the 9th-century church inscription mentioning Santiago in Castelo do Neiva; and in those quintessential and special markers of Galician culture: the cruzeiros and the shells and the hórreos and, yes, even the fog.

View attachment 131827 As for the question I’ve been pondering throughout this pilgrimage — ‘Does this feel like a camino?’ — I think the answer lies inside each individual pilgrim more than anywhere else.
'As for the question I’ve been pondering throughout this pilgrimage — ‘Does this feel like a camino?’ — I think the answer lies inside each individual pilgrim more than anywhere else.'
Thank you for your posts. Dealing with what is right there in front of you. You have captured it, @jungleboy!
 

trose

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Primitivo 2021
Portugues 2022
Day 7: It’s foggy again as I set out this morning but it isn’t nearly as thick as yesterday, and at this point the fog has become an inseparable part of this camino — and of this mystical land. By 11am, the fog clears and it’s sunny for the rest of the walk.

This is the last day of my camino, and that’s usually accompanied by a sense of excitement at approaching Santiago. But today I’m only going to Vigo, a large and unattractive city whose best feature might be its good transport connections with Lisbon. On one hand, this will be a somewhat anticlimactic end to this little camino; on the other, I can enjoy the walk without being consumed by my impending arrival, because, really, I don’t want to arrive. And I’m not the only one; at one point today, I see a pilgrim laying on the beach, propped up by her backpack, reading a book.

From A Ramallosa, I take the coastal route, as do quite a few others. It’s a nice path, passing a few local, low-key beaches and some cruzeiros to remind me where I am.

As I approach Vigo in the early afternoon, the city is fortunately hidden by coves and bays and I don’t actually see it until I’m basically in the outskirts. And then I have to walk through an urban jungle for an hour, but it’s not bad and there’s some street art to look at and before I know it, I’m at my accommodation and my camino is over.

As for the question I’ve been pondering throughout this pilgrimage — ‘Does this feel like a camino?’ — I think the answer lies inside each individual pilgrim more than anywhere else. If you take the Senda Litoral at every opportunity and stay overnight in the touristy beach towns, I suspect it doesn’t feel much like a camino. And if you’re just here for the ocean, you’d be better off on the Rota Vicentina, which is both more remote and more spectacular.

But if you look for the camino here, you’ll find it — in the monastery of Oia, where monks fired canons at pirates from the patio that also served as the pilgrim route; in the 9th-century church inscription mentioning Santiago in Castelo do Neiva; and in those quintessential and special markers of Galician culture: the cruzeiros and the shells and the hórreos and, yes, even the fog.

View attachment 131827
Thank you for sharing your experience and letting me know about some cool things to stop and see. I am leaving from Lisbon on 15 September.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
4/ The Overland Track is hugely popular so I'm not at all surprised you're on a waiting list this far out.
You could also check out the Three Capes Track in southern Tassie;
www.threecapestrack.com.au OR
www.parks.tas.gov.au › three-capes...
It's a completely different experience to the OT & would provide a wonderful contrast.
If you'd like any info or assistance re all things Tassie, don't hesitate to sing out!
👣 🌏
Thank you, that could be a good alternative. I was also looking at the South Coast Track but that might be a bit hard! I'll leave it for a couple of months and see if I have any luck on the OT waiting list, and then decide.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
May 18,2015 - June 23,2015 El Camino Frances
May 25, 2017 - June 30th, 2017 Le Puy to Moissac
thanks for sharing! I'm planning on doing the portugues on 2023 starting in Lisbon and I'm still debating which route from Porto. It's so nice to read about someone else's experience.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
thanks for sharing! I'm planning on doing the portugues on 2023 starting in Lisbon and I'm still debating which route from Porto. It's so nice to read about someone else's experience.
My recommendation would still be the central. If you have a few extra days and really want to spend some time by the ocean, you could walk 3-4 days of the Rota Vicentina south of Lisbon to start with. Scenery-wise, it's much more spectacular than the coastline on the CP coastal / Senda Litoral.
 
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Richard Smith

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances 2016
Kumano Kodo 2014
Regarding the Overland Track, there are three sections you can do without booking :-
a) The first day into Waterfall Valley, sleep there and return to Cradle Mountain
b) Walk in thru Walls of Jerusalem NP to New Pelion Hut in the middle of the OT and return
c) Do the last days walk from Lake St Clair to Narcissus Hut, sleep there and walk into The Acropolis area (not sure if camping allowed in there now) and return via walking or the ferry on the lake.
 
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K3Lee

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal Camino (planned for Sept 2022)
Thanks @jungleboy for your lovely writing - I'll be walking a combination of the Coastal Way and Senda Litoral in a couple of weeks and have made a note about the "beach of crystals"
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Beautiful and thank you, Nick! I'm hoping to walk Porto-Baiona next year - how do I get to this "beach of crystals"?
It's straightforward. This is the Google Maps pin for the beach: https://goo.gl/maps/pwfYujxAf2uk7V6B7

Here is a map on Maps.me with the red indicating the camino, the orange indicating the main road and my slightly misplaced pin indicating the beach. As you can see, the camino turns inland but to reach the beach, stay on the road (there is a shoulder) until you see signs for a lookout (Miradoiro in Galego). Turn left and soon enough you will find the beach.

IMG_263091911E50-1.jpeg
 

peregrina2000

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P.S. For @Tassie Kaz and others interested in sea glass, here’s a short video I took showing more of the beach:
Nick, do you have any idea what is responsible for this phenomenon? My son and his family live very close to Lake Michigan in Northern Illinois (USA), and the moment a bit of sea glass washes up on shore, there is someone with a bag to collect it. My grandsons are happy if they find a few microscopic pieces on their beach walks. Anytime we walk there we will see people with different implements combing through the sand and rocks to find a little piece.

I would hate to see all those Lake Michigan folks descend on the Beach of Crystals!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Nick, do you have any idea what is responsible for this phenomenon?
Quick googling turned up this article, which says it's the result of a garbage dump that used to be nearby:

La Playa de los cristales de Silleiro, situada exactamente a los pies del Faro Vello de Silleiro, es el resultado de la existencia de un antiguo vertedero en el que se quemaba la basura de las villas de los alrededores. La acción del mar, con el tiempo, fue modelando los numerosos restos de vidrio del basurero, hasta que dio lugar a una gran acumulación de cristales pulidos de diferentes colores. Los pequeños cristales, mezclados con la arena, forman una pequeña playa que, muy lejos de recordar su antigua función, se ha convertido en un lugar con mucha magia.
 

jazzhorse

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
2021
It's straightforward. This is the Google Maps pin for the beach: https://goo.gl/maps/pwfYujxAf2uk7V6B7

Here is a map on Maps.me with the red indicating the camino, the orange indicating the main road and my slightly misplaced pin indicating the beach. As you can see, the camino turns inland but to reach the beach, stay on the road (there is a shoulder) until you see signs for a lookout (Miradoiro in Galego). Turn left and soon enough you will find the beach.

View attachment 131884
Thank you very much!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
May 18,2015 - June 23,2015 El Camino Frances
May 25, 2017 - June 30th, 2017 Le Puy to Moissac
My recommendation would still be the central. If you have a few extra days and really want to spend some time by the ocean, you could walk 3-4 days of the Rota Vicentina south of Lisbon to start with. Scenery-wise, it's much more spectacular than the coastline on the CP coastal / Senda Litoral.
wow I had not clue these trails existed. You're a fountain of information. Thank you again. Maybe I can start in Lagos and walk up to Lisbon and regroup... Do you think it matters in which direction one goes -- from South to North or viceversa? It looks amazing...
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
wow I had not clue these trails existed. You're a fountain of information. Thank you again. Maybe I can start in Lagos and walk up to Lisbon and regroup... Do you think it matters in which direction one goes -- from South to North or viceversa? It looks amazing...
The Rota Vicentina is marked in both directions so you can start at either end. Most people walk it north-south but there’s no reason you can’t walk south-north, which has the bonus of the sun being behind you in the middle of the day.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
CF: Leon-SdC 2016
CF: SJPD-Leon & CP 2023
Early on, the coast is wild and rough, and, while it’s not exactly beautiful, I like it. Gronze describes today’s Litoral alternative as ‘sin flechas pero con playas’, but that’s only half right for the first 10 kilometres: there are no arrows, but there aren’t any beaches either.
My husband & I will be walking this route and for this Stage from Viana Do Castelo to Caminha, do you walk on sand or is it a path? We want to stay away from sand walking-my husband has a bad right leg and that would just be too difficult. If you can--please tell me any stretches that sand walking is necessary so we can avoid. Thanks for your day to day info-very helpful!
 
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
My husband & I will be walking this route and for this Stage from Viana Do Castelo to Caminha, do you walk on sand or is it a path? We want to stay away from sand walking-my husband has a bad right leg and that would just be too difficult. If you can--please tell me any stretches that sand walking is necessary so we can avoid. Thanks for your day to day info-very helpful!
It’s a path and there is little to no sand walking. The sandy pine forest I referred to late in the stage is not heavy sand like on a beach but more like a dirt path.

Bom caminho!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances SJPP to Finistere (2016), Primitivo - Oviedo to Muxcia (2017), Norte to Finisterre (2018)
It’s a path and there is little to no sand walking. The sandy pine forest I referred to late in the stage is not heavy sand like on a beach but more like a dirt path.

Bom caminho!
Much appreciated, Jungle Boy. I walked from Porto in May (including the Spiritual Varient) and seemed to enjoy these stages even more after reading your diary - thank you!
 

Anthony Rocco

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Ignaciano, Aragones, Arle, Tolosana, Salvador, Primitivo, Madrid, Olvidado/Invierno (2020)
Day 7: It’s foggy again as I set out this morning but it isn’t nearly as thick as yesterday, and at this point the fog has become an inseparable part of this camino — and of this mystical land. By 11am, the fog clears and it’s sunny for the rest of the walk.

This is the last day of my camino, and that’s usually accompanied by a sense of excitement at approaching Santiago. But today I’m only going to Vigo, a large and unattractive city whose best feature might be its good transport connections with Lisbon. On one hand, this will be a somewhat anticlimactic end to this little camino; on the other, I can enjoy the walk without being consumed by my impending arrival, because, really, I don’t want to arrive. And I’m not the only one; at one point today, I see a pilgrim laying on the beach, propped up by her backpack, reading a book.

From A Ramallosa, I take the coastal route, as do quite a few others. It’s a nice path, passing a few local, low-key beaches and some cruzeiros to remind me where I am.

As I approach Vigo in the early afternoon, the city is fortunately hidden by coves and bays and I don’t actually see it until I’m basically in the outskirts. And then I have to walk through an urban jungle for an hour, but it’s not bad and there’s some street art to look at and before I know it, I’m at my accommodation and my camino is over.

As for the question I’ve been pondering throughout this pilgrimage — ‘Does this feel like a camino?’ — I think the answer lies inside each individual pilgrim more than anywhere else. If you take the Senda Litoral at every opportunity and stay overnight in the touristy beach towns, I suspect it doesn’t feel much like a camino. And if you’re just here for the ocean, you’d be better off on the Rota Vicentina, which is both more remote and more spectacular.

But if you look for the camino here, you’ll find it — in the monastery of Oia, where monks fired canons at pirates from the patio that also served as the pilgrim route; in the 9th-century church inscription mentioning Santiago in Castelo do Neiva; and in those quintessential and special markers of Galician culture: the cruzeiros and the shells and the hórreos and, yes, even the fog.

View attachment 131827
I was mesmerized reading your journal. Thank you sooo much. We leave for Portugal a week from today. You have made the camino come alive.
 

Anthony Rocco

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Ignaciano, Aragones, Arle, Tolosana, Salvador, Primitivo, Madrid, Olvidado/Invierno (2020)
A couple of extra bits of content from the Portuguese coastal from me, for anyone who's interested:

Photos: Caminho Português 2022 (Album on Flickr - 30 photos from the central and 30 from the coastal)
Podcast: Spirit of the Camino Episode 3.9 - The Portuguese Coastal Route
Your photos are so amazing. We can't wait to start our camino next week. As a coordinator of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino (APOC), I will be circulating these to the many members we have who still are debating whether/where to walk. I usually recommend the Frances for a first camino, but starting in Porto may in fact be just as good an introduction to the camino way of life.
 
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This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
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jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Time of past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
Your photos are so amazing.
Thank you for your kind comments!

I usually recommend the Frances for a first camino, but starting in Porto may in fact be just as good an introduction to the camino way of life.
I agree, and especially for people who don't have as much time or are a bit unsure about whether they want to commit to 5+ weeks walking the 'full' Francés. A two-week walk from Porto is a great alternative!

We can't wait to start our camino next week.
Bom caminho!
 

Anthony Rocco

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Frances, Ignaciano, Aragones, Arle, Tolosana, Salvador, Primitivo, Madrid, Olvidado/Invierno (2020)
Thank you for your kind comments!


I agree, and especially for people who don't have as much time or are a bit unsure about whether they want to commit to 5+ weeks walking the 'full' Francés. A two-week walk from Porto is a great alternative!


Bom caminho!
I highly recommend watching the video Ivar sent today for anyone walking in September. I found it extremely useful. I've sent it around.
 

K3Lee

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Portuguese Coastal Camino (planned for Sept 2022)

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Hi I’m starting my Camino from Porto on the 2nd October. I’ve booked the first couple of nights in Hostels but was wondering what the situation for accommodation is currently like?. Are beds on...

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