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LIVE from the Camino Day 1, Camino Portugués Central

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Fuertebrazos

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Left Porto today and I wanted to report on my impressions so far.

I followed the advice in the guidebook and, in order to avoid 18 km of urban sprawl, took the train out to Vilar de Pinheiro to start the walk.

What strikes me about the Portugués is how lonely it is relative to the Camino Frances. Today I saw one pilgrim. She got off the train with me in Vilar de Pinheiro, we passed each other a few times on the road, and that's it. On the Frances there was a pilgrim every 500 m. Here, nobody. Is it different on the coastal route?

I did not take the detour north of Giao and instead walked along the main road. It was a terrifying mistake. Narrow road, no shoulders, high walls on either side, wide trucks appearing suddenly around blind curves. Pedestrians are lower than whale shit – everything on the road is bigger and faster and will win in every encounter. In the future I'll take every detour, even if it adds a few kilometers.

I'm struck by how expensive Portugal turned out to be relative to my expectations, which were obviously unrealistic. I am counting Teslas. So far today, six.

I'm lonely for the ocean. Next time, the coastal route.
 
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RJM

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino's Frances, Fisterre, Portuges. Over 180 day
My Portugues central experience was pre-pandemic, so no doubt it was different than the one you are experiencing now. I definitely shared the route with many fellow pilgrims everyday, which at times is nice, other times not so nice.
All I can say is I am sure it will be better as you continue.
 

James X

Caminhos with a h
Past OR future Camino
Caminho Central Português: October 2017
Caminho: Coastal / Litoral / Lost: September 2018
In my experience on the The Central you will have a lot more interaction with other pilgrims....give it a few days. Definitely more so thatn the Coastal where people will swap between the Coastal and the Literal.

Tesla is the best selling pure electric car brand in Portugal and sold circa. 1600 units last year
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
By jumping ahead a bit, you likely were walking your first day out-if-sync with other Pilgrims who started elsewhere that morning. I am sure you’ll see more once you leave at a normal time from a normal starting point. Even during Covid last year, we saw a handful of fellow pilgrims every day on the Central.
 

david g

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
camino frances/finistere sept 2012
Frances May 2015
Aragones/Portugese May 2016
Primitivo July 2017
My experience was the exact opposite. Walking the coastal I saw no one so switched to the central at Caminha. The Portuguese is definitely NOT the Frances when it comes to numbers of pilgrims to meet, but it’s still a good Camino. Try to be open to good things that may happen simply because there aren’t many pilgrims.
 
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Cleigh

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CF 2021, Portuguese 2021, Le Puy 2022
Left Porto today and I wanted to report on my impressions so far.

I followed the advice in the guidebook and, in order to avoid 18 km of urban sprawl, took the train out to Vilar de Pinheiro to start the walk.

What strikes me about the Portugués is how lonely it is relative to the Camino Frances. Today I saw one pilgrim. She got off the train with me in Vilar de Pinheiro, we passed each other a few times on the road, and that's it. On the Frances there was a pilgrim every 500 m. Here, nobody. Is it different on the coastal route?

I did not take the detour north of Giao and instead walked along the main road. It was a terrifying mistake. Narrow road, no shoulders, high walls on either side, wide trucks appearing suddenly around blind curves. Pedestrians are lower than whale shit – everything on the road is bigger and faster and will win in every encounter. In the future I'll take every detour, even if it adds a few kilometers.

I'm struck by how expensive Portugal turned out to be relative to my expectations, which were obviously unrealistic. I am counting Teslas. So far today, six.

I'm lonely for the ocean. Next time, the coastal route.
We walked Lisbon to SdC sept 2021 and it was terribly lonely! I guess it depends on what you enjoy but having walked the Frances twice before I much preferred meeting others! It didn’t get much better north of Porto either.
 

Fuertebrazos

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
My experience was the exact opposite. Walking the coastal I saw no one so switched to the central at Caminha. The Portuguese is definitely NOT the Frances when it comes to numbers of pilgrims to meet, but it’s still a good Camino. Try to be open to good things that may happen simply because there aren’t many pilgrims.
Well, I just finished Day 3 and Vacajoe and David G have been proven absolutely correct. Today, on a long, wet and exhausting day walking from Barcelos to Ponte de Lima, I came across 20-25 other pilgrims.

Of course it is nothing like the Frances. That was like a slow-moving party. A Texan-Irish contingent that filled the local bar in every village. Plenty of flirtatious interactions. After Sarria, gangs of high school students singing football songs and carrying boomboxes. I know people complain about it, but I found the whole scene fascinating.

I'm struck by the battle of the saints. Opposite yellow and blue arrows pointing towards St James in one direction and Fatima in the other.

Anyway, The Portugués feels far more tranquil and, dare I say it, spiritual.

Tomorrow, over the Roman bridge and on to Tui.
 

Baldie Git

New Member
Past OR future Camino
October 2019
We did the central route in September 2021 and enjoyed the peace and quiet. Your experience was very similar to ours but after the first two days we really enjoyed the scenery and the Portuguese culture. The towns we went thru were not wholly reliant on Pilgrims for their businesses so it felt like you were travelling in real country towns and villages. Several times locals stopped us and offered some grapes straight off the vine.

From Tui the route got a lot busier so enjoy the peace and quiet of the first week.
 
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Fuertebrazos

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Left Porto today and I wanted to report on my impressions so far.

I followed the advice in the guidebook and, in order to avoid 18 km of urban sprawl, took the train out to Vilar de Pinheiro to start the walk.

What strikes me about the Portugués is how lonely it is relative to the Camino Frances. Today I saw one pilgrim. She got off the train with me in Vilar de Pinheiro, we passed each other a few times on the road, and that's it. On the Frances there was a pilgrim every 500 m. Here, nobody. Is it different on the coastal route?

I did not take the detour north of Giao and instead walked along the main road. It was a terrifying mistake. Narrow road, no shoulders, high walls on either side, wide trucks appearing suddenly around blind curves. Pedestrians are lower than whale shit – everything on the road is bigger and faster and will win in every encounter. In the future I'll take every detour, even if it adds a few kilometers.

I'm struck by how expensive Portugal turned out to be relative to my expectations, which were obviously unrealistic. I am counting Teslas. So far today, six.

I'm lonely for the ocean. Next time, the coastal route.
Today is day...12? I've lost count. In Caldas de Reis now, a couple of days outside Santiago.

As others have suggested, the Camino has changed quite a bit over the course of my walk. It was very quiet for the first five or six days. Probably not as quiet as the Lisbon-Porto section, though on a couple of days I saw no more than one or two people.

But not anymore. It seems that a lot of people start from Tui, the first city in Spain, so the walkers became more numerous there. Then the deluge: Redondela, where the coastal and interior routes converge. Suddenly it's party city. I'm rarely alone, and it feels like the Frances. 40% Americans, 30% Germans, 30% other. No Canadians, surprisingly, at least not that I've met. If this is the Portugués, I can only imagine what the Frances is like now a few days out of Santiago.

The weather has been stunning, the countryside gorgeous, and the company engaging.

Tomorrow I am taking a taxi with a couple of Australians to Vilanova de Arousa. We will take a boat up the estuary and into the river to Pontecesuras, a town a few kilometers south of Padrón, the end of the next stage and the last town before Santiago. 23 euros. Supposedly it follows the route of the boat that carried the body of St James. It will be a relief to do more sitting then walking for a change.

It has been a great short Camino. Back in late September or early October for a walk up the coastal route.
 

Icheepoo

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Portuguese Camino (2020)
Hi there.. just wondering how you were with accommodation? Did you mainly stay at albergues or private rooms? I was planning to do the CP in early September but reading news of the influx of pilgrims and the lack of beds (maybe this is the case for the CF..) I'm hesitating now... I would prefer not to pre book my accommodation as I really have no idea how far I can walk in a day.. but I don't want to be on streets either or paying for a hotel that is out of my budget!
 

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