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Email from the Camino Portugues

Camino(s) past & future
CF May/June 2013
June /July 2014
May-June 2015
May-June 2016
May 2017
May/June 2018
#1
I've just received the following email

Hi Vincent
This is a horrible walk
Unusually hot 35 plus degrees every day
No signage or arrows here
Walking on noisy busy main roads
No cafes or toilets
Brierley must have done this in an American car
His maps are inaccurate including distances
This is a hot dusty noisy walk
Same if you walked along our ring road then walked through heavy industrial areas
Regret this a lot
No such thing as a Portuguese Camino
People have no awareness here
Maybe not enough do this yet
Seriously thinking of catching a train to Porto to walk
Sorry to dump this but it was extremely dangerous walking on the road to Golega today
No side track just an incline down to a ditch and there has been no shade yet
Cars were gunning pass close and I was nearly hit many times
Half the cafes in Brierley’s were closed
Best Wishes etc

The above person has done 4 CF. Any Comments
Thanks
 

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Miroslaw

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
3XPortuguese, 2013, 2015, 2017
#3
Do not give up. Guidebook you are using
is not perfect but other guidbooks for your camino are not much better.
Acually I decided to do something about it and I have made a map file for Camino Portuguese using Google Earth.
It took me a while to compile it and I belive that my map contains no factual errors. It has all Google Earth functionality. You do need an Internet and some kind of device, works the best with Ipads but others will do too. I recommend you visit
caminhomap.com and download my kmz file and use it as more less explained. Any problems let me know.
And do not give up. All is very well worth it. Miroslaw
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
#4
I've just received the following email

Hi Vincent
This is a horrible walk
Unusually hot 35 plus degrees every day
No signage or arrows here
Walking on noisy busy main roads
No cafes or toilets
Brierley must have done this in an American car
His maps are inaccurate including distances
This is a hot dusty noisy walk
Same if you walked along our ring road then walked through heavy industrial areas
Regret this a lot
No such thing as a Portuguese Camino
People have no awareness here
Maybe not enough do this yet
Seriously thinking of catching a train to Porto to walk
Sorry to dump this but it was extremely dangerous walking on the road to Golega today
No side track just an incline down to a ditch and there has been no shade yet
Cars were gunning pass close and I was nearly hit many times
Half the cafes in Brierley’s were closed
Best Wishes etc

The above person has done 4 CF. Any Comments
Thanks
Rotten experience.
There IS a camino portuguese, there ARE arrows, and signage, and also much walking in wonderful fields and woods, etc etc etc.
I walked from lisbon to SdC alone.
Seemed your friend had a helping of the worst aspects all bundled together. Only heard such tales from folks who somehow missed the proper path.. and then yes...you end up on the road for trucks and cars.
But that could happen anywhere.
 
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#6
It is true that we get bad reports from people who started from Lisbon. But we also get a lot of wonderful reports from people who start in Lisbon. Take a look through the archives and you'll find posts like these:

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...erned-about-starting-in-lisbon-read-on.29795/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/why-start-in-lisbon.29651/

My first hand experience walking from Lisbon is old and out of date (2007 I think) and I did have some road walking (but surely no more than the Norte!) and I did get lost in a eucalyptus forest. And I did get messed up going into Azinhaga, but things have changed dramatically since I walked. And what has really changed are the numbers. I walked from Lisbon totally alone and never saw anyhone. There are many people now and if the "camino family" is what you're looking for, you will probably find it.

But the reports of "no signage, no cafes, walking on ring roads" -- have not been the predominant recent experience.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF - April/May 2017
CP - Sept./2017
C? - Soon, I hope!
#7
The observations of that email resonate with me. Perhaps any walk can be a nice walk under the right circumstances, but I found the Camino P to be quite different than the Camino F, and not as enjoyable as Camino F. I would caution anyone walking Camino P after walking Camino F that they should manage their expectation. Camino P just felt like a walk, and perhaps a journey after a few days, but not a pilgrimage. Waaaaaayyyyyyy too much road walking (some dangerous) relative to the total distance travelled on CP. Also, it seems there are fewer nice hostels in the countryside on the CP where you could share and enjoy the community of a really good pilgrim dinner experience (there are a few that are mentioned on other posts but there are fewer than CF and they are often reserved). From Porto to SdC, if you do not reserve a bed ahead of time, there is a good chance some nights that you are staying at a lower quality hostel and possibly on a matt on the floor. On CF I had a sense that I was walking a route that had been the path of thousands for centuries. I didn't get the same feeling on the CP - it seemed like a trail marked in recent years to capitalize on the popularity of walking in Spain. Also, it seemed to me that the local Spanish people I encountered on the CF placed a higher value on the Camino walk and were warmer and more encouraging to wish the traveller a "Buen Camino" than on the CP. After arriving in SdC, the CP route gave me a new appreciation for CF. I hope to walk CF again some day, and perhaps Camino N.
 

amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
#8
The observations of that email resonate with me. Perhaps any walk can be a nice walk under the right circumstances, but I found the Camino P to be quite different than the Camino F, and not as enjoyable as Camino F. I would caution anyone walking Camino P after walking Camino F that they should manage their expectation. Camino P just felt like a walk, and perhaps a journey after a few days, but not a pilgrimage. Waaaaaayyyyyyy too much road walking (some dangerous) relative to the total distance travelled on CP. Also, it seems there are fewer nice hostels in the countryside on the CP where you could share and enjoy the community of a really good pilgrim dinner experience (there are a few that are mentioned on other posts but there are fewer than CF and they are often reserved). From Porto to SdC, if you do not reserve a bed ahead of time, there is a good chance some nights that you are staying at a lower quality hostel and possibly on a matt on the floor. On CF I had a sense that I was walking a route that had been the path of thousands for centuries. I didn't get the same feeling on the CP - it seemed like a trail marked in recent years to capitalize on the popularity of walking in Spain. Also, it seemed to me that the local Spanish people I encountered on the CF placed a higher value on the Camino walk and were warmer and more encouraging to wish the traveller a "Buen Camino" than on the CP. After arriving in SdC, the CP route gave me a new appreciation for CF. I hope to walk CF again some day, and perhaps Camino N.
quite well put - it is always an excellent idea "... that they should manage their expectation"
and ... on another note: "On CF I had a sense that I was walking a route that had been the path of thousands for centuries." -
I had the same/similar feeling on the Portuguese ... a pilgrimage path walked by thousands for centuries, and even undertaken by the queen of portugal in her time (Isabel, if i remember correctly)
best wishes for a future CF or CNorte camino ... it's a blessed undertaking regardless where you walk with (pilgrim) spirit.
Bom Caminho -
 

Helen1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
London to Santiago (2014)
Narbonne to Oloron (2015)
Camino Portugues (2016)
Sentier Cathar (2017)
#9
The observations of that email resonate with me too. The stretch into Golega is brutal and comes at the end of a very long day. I remember 3 of us tagging each other walking into Golgea along the road, must have been close to 40C by then, no shade, all of us needing to rest/cool down every few 100m. When we got to Golega the locals bought us beers and told us we were crazy people. The start of the CP is nothing like the CF. The pilgrims I met from Lisbon were prepared (many had already booked Porto to Santiago accommodation) but I was really shocked that people turned up in Porto with no maps/guides/research just expecting to follow the crowd/arrows and find a cafe at every turn - it's not the CF!

In the early stages the signage is often super confusing because there have been a lot of route changes to avoid some of the main road walking. A group got very lost coming out of Tomar when I walked. I was really grateful to have my phone to check the route on during this section. I think the industrial part is selective memory, some of the route is industrial but mostly I remember walking along the edge of a railway line or maize tunnels through fields. It gets much nicer later on.

I thought the Brierley book/maps were ok and matched my step counter. The typical stages are really long compared to the CF, the tracks are often dry, dusty, lonely and there aren't that many places to stop so I think distances feel much longer. (I didn't mind this too much, put my headphones and listened to an audio book and had a meditative experience)
 

mcvett500

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Oct 1st 2014
#10
Funny that as I was walking from Porto this September and I was clipped by a Diesel Truck and bent one of my Leki poles....all that traffic from Lisbon had it's chance!!!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Fisterra 12;Ingles 13;Littoral 14;Lisbon-Vale 15;Frances 16;Malaga-Antequera 17;Vale-Porto 17;
#11
Hubby and I walked from Lisbon to Vale de Figuiero in Nov 2015. We enjoyed all 5 days and will return next wed 18th to continue from Vale de Figuiero to Porto. Now I'm worried having read the OP that we won't enjoy it as much having completed the Camino France's last October. Hopefully with the beautiful scenery , great food and drink ( ! ) and each other's company we'll still have a wonderful time and make more Camino memories to tell our grandchildren about.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Piamonte
#12
It seems like the comment relates to leaving Lisbon. I started from Porto in mid-September but can nevertheless identify with some of the observations made. I documented my own experience in post titled 'Reflections' a week ago.

Similarly to leaving Lisbon, there is far too much walking on hard surfaces for the first 3 days upon departing Porto. I would recommend either taking the coastal path out of Porto, or using the Metro to get as far north as possible before commencing to walk. Your feet, knees and hips will thank you.

And there are dangerous sections where avoiding traffic is impossible, and nerve-wracking.

Interesting comment about the distances in the Brierley book. The small (and wonderful) group of pilgrims with whom I walked also found the distances inaccurate, at least in comparison with a GPS one of us had. But at least the book provides accommodation details, including phone numbers. I am glad I had it.

It's a different Camino to the CF, in many ways. I think you just have to force yourself to adjust your expectations, as hinted by someone above, and enjoy the many things it does have to offer.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago about 2006; SJPP to Santiago (March-April 2014); Lisbon-Santiago-Muxia (April-May 2016)
#13
Dear Vlogan, I was sad to read your posting. What a pity that your friend found the Camino Portugues so disappointing. Their experience contrasts starkly with mine. I walked Lisbon-Santiago with my adult daughter in April-May 2016 and loved it. The weather was relatively mild -- some rain, some strong sun, but overall a nice balance-- and the terrain and scenery a varied mixture of delightful bush and rural areas to counter the (sometimes long) stretches along the sides of large roads. I remember also passing hundreds if not thousands of pilgrims walking in the opposite direction, heading to Fatima, which made my experience all the more interesting. Yes, it is very different to the Camino Frances, but with its own charm and pleasure. I remember with great fondness the warm of various hostels and the companionship of pilgrims along the way. I just hope your friend's experience improves as the kilometres pass and they find the pleasure they are seeking. May their road be welcoming!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Part of Portugese Way 2017
#15
I have to agree with the contributor who praised the signage on the section beyond Porto. Because this was my first 'pilgrimage' I took the section from Tui to Santiago . The marking along the route was exceptionally good . Was even met outside Oporrino by a 'representative' of The Camino who was directing walkers of a new and pleasant route around the town. The only part that was a little vague was the 'alternative' route around the industrial estate south of Oporrino. Having talked to others who went through the industrial site I was pleased with my choice to take the woodland path. It is worth noting that the final section from Padrón to Santiago can be a slog as there is a lot of uphill towards the end. As I was taking my partner's ashes with me I was very comforted by the company I met along the way. Thank you anyone who saw me on the road. As the blisters heal I am already thinking of doing more of The Way next year. Buen camino
 

Jon Hebertson

2 feet and a heartbeat
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese - Lisbon to SdC September 2017
Finisterre - September/October 2017
#16
I've just received the following email

Hi Vincent
This is a horrible walk
Unusually hot 35 plus degrees every day
No signage or arrows here
Walking on noisy busy main roads
No cafes or toilets
Brierley must have done this in an American car
His maps are inaccurate including distances
This is a hot dusty noisy walk
Same if you walked along our ring road then walked through heavy industrial areas
Regret this a lot
No such thing as a Portuguese Camino
People have no awareness here
Maybe not enough do this yet
Seriously thinking of catching a train to Porto to walk
Sorry to dump this but it was extremely dangerous walking on the road to Golega today
No side track just an incline down to a ditch and there has been no shade yet
Cars were gunning pass close and I was nearly hit many times
Half the cafes in Brierley’s were closed
Best Wishes etc

The above person has done 4 CF. Any Comments
Thanks

I really disagree with the majority of these comments.
I've just come back from the CP (walking from Lisbon to Sdc) and absolutely loved it. There are tough sections along it and its hard work but the signage is excellent and the rewards are so worth it. I met amazing people (local and pilgrims) and visited incredible towns/cities.

Cheers,
Jon
 
Last edited by a moderator:

hel&scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 Seville - Finestere, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#17
Yikes!! We leave on Saturday for Lisbon and start walking the 19th.
Don't panic, (same goes for you @camino_rooky ) , yes some of it will be hard and at times unpleasant but at other times you heart will sing with joy even if your feet are screaming in pain, it's up to you to make up your mind which you listen to.

Every Camino is different, the Portuguese Way is not the French Route, some parts of it are old, historic and literally a walk in the park. Others have been overtaken by roadways and can be dangerous. Use common sense and I recommend reflector strips on the back of your pack to help improve visibility. The weather will be mild, and likely to be wet, if you are starting now so don't be alarmed by reports of summer heat. The way will be busy from Tui onwards as this is the more popular end of this route. I actually really liked the walk along the river out of Lisbon, maybe because we were walking from Santiago to Lisbon so it meant we were nearly finished.

There has been a lot of work improving signage and new albergues, especially on the Lisbon Porto leg and map apps, guide updates, general advice on this forum are really useful if you are concerned about getting lost. Road walking can be very tough, but it you find a section problematic there is no shame in taking public transport or taxi to ensure you safety, just try an avoid taking a bed from a pilgrim that has walked that bit and don't do it from Tui onwards if you want to get a Compestella.
 
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