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Walking out of Porto

I've read that many pilgrims from Porto take a bus or the metro out to Maia and begin their walk there, thus avoiding a walk through the city and suburbs. But we want to walk from the Cathedral. Are we out of our minds?? We'd appreciate it if some who have walked from the Cathedral would share their experience. What was the walk out of town like??
June and Chris
 

JAMESDOUGLAS

New Member
I am doing the same trip in May and plan to walk from the cathederal in Porto.My guide books are pretty definitive so i dont forsee any problems except that it will be busy through the city and crossing one major highway.I plan to walk 18 km the first day. GOOD LUCK :)
 

JohnnieWalker

Nunca se camina solo
It is perfectly pleasant and you get to see Porto passing some beautiful churches and buildings. This stage is all on road and somtimes great care has to be taken. But I met a number of pilgrims walking out of Porto - I think you won't be alone.

Buen Camino

John
 

gyro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos: Frances, Ingles, Portugues, de Norte
Via(s): de la Plata, Mozarabe
Certainly the walk through the old town is wonderful, so the first 2 or 3 km from the cathedral is well worth it.
But there is a dull 8 or 10 km through the outskirks.....

I took the "metro" to Azaujo and walked from there. And thoroughly enjoyed walking to Rates for my first stay.
In any event, I hope you enjoy it.
Gyro


chrisinvermont said:
I've read that many pilgrims from Porto take a bus or the metro out to Maia and begin their walk there, thus avoiding a walk through the city and suburbs. But we want to walk from the Cathedral. Are we out of our minds?? We'd appreciate it if some who have walked from the Cathedral would share their experience. What was the walk out of town like??
June and Chris
 

mmonomm

Member
i agree, the first 3or 4 km-s are beautiful, you see the old city, but after the industrial area is not so beautiful. i took the metro, returning from walk at the end of the city, but i GOT LOST. NOBODY WHO SPOKE ENGLISH, did know where is the camino, some of them did not heard about the Camino, so i ended up taking another bus, and skipping the first 30 km-s. but i ended up at th eshore of the Ocean in Viana do Castelo!!!! beautiful stages from there!!!!! Caminha- Valenca-Tui.... other ways go for Barcelos or Braga from Porto...
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
While I am by no means a purist when it comes to the Camino I couldn't understand why it was that so many people recommended taking the metro out of the city rather than starting from the cathedral - until I saw it for myself. In the end I started from Vilar and even then, the traffic on the main road was horrendous. I have two theories about this: a/ they don't see you, b/ they hate pilgrims going north rather than south (i.e. following yellow arrows rather than blue ones to Fatima) :wink: . Actually, maybe the Portuguese (who are the nicest people on earth) just miss having a Grand Prix at Estoril as there used to be in the good old days of Formula One.
As it was, I walked from the Youth Hostel along the river for a bout 4 or 5 klms and felt that it made up for the loss, a bit. You'll have plenty of opportunity to walk through "El Poligono" when you get to O Porriño!
It doesn't really matter where you start: arriving safe is the idea.
If anyone would be interested in reading a little more about my own Camino Portuguese see last July/August blogs at http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com
Tracy Saunders
 

Antipodean

New Member
Never having done a camino, I can't call myself or be called a purist but I'm just going to walk from the cathedral in Porto to the cathedral in Santiago. If that means boring bits and traffic then so be it. If that means walking in rain then so be it.
Naturally, if concern about the traffic (there seems to be one particularly dangerous road crossing and I have yet to read a positive report on Portuguese drivers) is a real factor, then common sense should prevail and you should start further out.

Tony
 

jeff001

Active Member
Tony-
There are quite a large number of kms along narrow and busy roads. Be alert, especially when approaching curves. A few times I felt that drivers were intentionally trying to see how close they could get to me and I started carrying a wooden stick to discourage them.
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
Way to go Antipodean! I understand your rationale completely.
What I did in the end was to hold my stick out lengthways to remind drivers to give me a wide berth. It worked well. I gave them a big smile when they passed. I'm glad it was effective as I would not have wanted to see the headlines had it not:
Veteran Pilgrim Punctures Portuguese Windscreen in Panic! (in Portuguese alliteration, of course!)
Tracy :idea:
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com
 
The guides note a dangerous crossing at Araujo, (dual carriageway with a barrier in the middle). Brierly mentions some alternatives, including "to continue straight on towards Padrao Moreira), still a busy main road but, to our old bones, better than having to vault the divider. He also says you can detour to the right 1/2 K to a "traffic crossing," then go back the 1/2 K to pick up the way.

We seem to be on schedule with our "training" walks. We would be dropping some pounds, I think, except our walks seem to always include a larger lunch than we would ordinarilly eat!

June and Chris
 

gyro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos: Frances, Ingles, Portugues, de Norte
Via(s): de la Plata, Mozarabe
chrisinvermont said:
The guides note a dangerous crossing at Araujo, (dual carriageway with a barrier in the middle). Brierly mentions some alternatives, including "to continue straight on towards Padrao Moreira), still a busy main road but, to our old bones, better than having to vault the divider. He also says you can detour to the right 1/2 K to a "traffic crossing," then go back the 1/2 K to pick up the way.

We seem to be on schedule with our "training" walks. We would be dropping some pounds, I think, except our walks seem to always include a larger lunch than we would ordinarilly eat!

June and Chris

I would just like to repeat John's words. This is a slightly dodgy road crossing, but with eyes wide open, should present no difficulties at all....

The harder part of the journey is the next 1-2 km of ascent.....
Gyro
 

Vakond

New Member
We have just recently got back from Santiago after completing Camino Portuguese on Thursday.

I have done this route 4 years ago and I have to admit that walking out of Porto is one of the worst part for many reasons. Firstly, the signs are scarce and difficult to find, not many people can help or speak English and even if you have a good guide book it can take long hours to find the way.

Also the route out of town is very dangerous!!! Most of it on a narrow path next to main roads and bear in mind that Portugal has the highest road accident rate in Europe!!
They drive very fast, very dangerously and we found ourselves jumping into bushes many times just to avoid any probelms...

Having said that Porto is a wonderful, charming city, definately worth looking around!

So be careful and enjoy your Camino!

K
 
My goodness, I see I started this post back in January! Now we've made our plans, booked our flights and this post is to "re-introduce" us to this welcoming community.

Next Sunday we leave for Paris. A couple of days there, then a flight to Madrid to visit the Prado, Reina Sophia and Thys. Then to Santiago to pick up a parcel at the Camino Travel Center, then a bus to Porto and our camino begins. We are June and Chris Behr and we live in Vermont, USA, a beautiful spot on Lake Champlain, an hour or so from the Adirondack Mountains to the west and the Green Mountains to the east. For many, many years our recreation was hiking... backpacking, actually. We hiked Vermont's Long Trail, the Northville–Placid trail in New York, and climbed the 111 peaks over 4,000 feet high in New York and New England. But, in later years, (we're in our 70s now, in the 53rd year of our marriage), caring for an elderly relative kept us away from the trails. So, we've had to get back “in shape,” walking almost every day for a few hours.

Our plan, originally, was to visit our daughter who lives in Moulins, France. Then we got the idea to make a quick trip to Madrid to visit the incredible museums there. Flipping through a Rick Steves guide, I came across a description of the camino (Frances). We were quite taken by the idea of walking to Santiago. As we learned more (mostly from this Forum), we decided to walk from Porto. We will walk out of the Se on 13 September but, in fact, it seems we've already begun. If possible, we will post our journey here. Thank you, all you posters, for your help.

June and Chris

PS and yes, we will visit Karen after our walk
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I see you've already decided, but thought I"d post my 2 cents. Joe and I thoroughly enjoyed our walk from Porto, even through the suburbs. For one thing, we found the "Carvalho Oak" and since my last name is Carvalho, it was pretty cool! Apparently there was a big storm, and all the houses and trees were destroyed except for this one, so now it is a bit of a shrine.

Also, as I've told many folks, don't miss the lady down on the river in Porto who grills sardinhas! FANTASTIC!
 

Una

Member
Anniesantiago said:
I see you've already decided, but thought I"d post my 2 cents. Joe and I thoroughly enjoyed our walk from Porto, even through the suburbs. For one thing, we found the "Carvalho Oak" and since my last name is Carvalho, it was pretty cool! Apparently there was a big storm, and all the houses and trees were destroyed except for this one, so now it is a bit of a shrine.

Also, as I've told many folks, don't miss the lady down on the river in Porto who grills sardinhas! FANTASTIC![/qu

Good luck on your journey, June and Chris. I'm looking forward to your reports.
Buen Camino
Una
 
So, June and I decided to start our walk from the Cathedral. There is no “right” place to start. Maybe it depends on the purpose of your camino. We felt we were going to make a pilgrimage and that ought to start at the Cathedral. It would have some really good and some not so good aspects. One of the not so good aspects was the Cathedral itself. We couldn't see some of the beautiful aspects because there were at least four large tour groups there. A large group (must have been at least 40) blocked our view of the altar. I think Jesus would have run them out.

The way through the old city is great. Don't bother with the guide book, just follow the yellow arrows. Many were bright and fresh and must have been repainted recently. As you go out to the suburbs, things get more ordinary but there still are really nice homes, lots of that glorious tile, houses adorned with religious art, amid some buildings that are in need of demolition. We had some trouble following Brieley's guide. Instructions to follow Rua do Monte dos Burgos weren't helpful because, as far as we could tell, there were no “rua” markings to be seen. The road past the Parque de Campismo is all torn up, with a fenced in walk for pedestrians. But, we picked up the waymarks again and all went well.

We met a few other pilgrims who had taken the metro out because the TI folks had told them walking out from the Cathedral was dangerous. In our opinion, it's not dangerous at all. That is because the alternate route that avoids having to scoot over the carriageway has been marked with yellow arrows and is fairly easy to follow from the sacred oak in Araujo on out to Maia. We walked over to the N-13 and out to Vilar do Pinheiro. If you stay at Residencial Santa Marinha, bring ear plugs. It's a busy road with lots of trucks. We didn't find the excellent restaurant favored by pilgrims next door. A few dozen meters further North there is a simple place favored by truckers. A few hundred meters North, then East and there is a fine restaurant where we met Tony, a pilgrim from Australia, writing a letter to his wife.

As far as crazed drivers, we didn't encounter any worse than those in our home town (and, probably, yours). All the people we met were absolutely marvelous.
 

Priscillian

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 1999, Aragones 2000, Desde Le Puy 2002, Portuguese 2009, hoping RDLP 2014
I had the delightful opportunity to meet Chris in Vermont and his wife, June at the Camino Travel Centre (of the stolen sign) in S de C. Both seemed to have really enjoyed their walk and their pilgrimage. Chris re-iterrated that he had no trouble negotiating his (their) way safely out of Porto, but I would still counsel those walking this way to be very wary of Portuguese drivers. They mean no harm: they were born that way.
The Camino Portuguese is delightful and I would walk it again, perhaps next time taking advantage of the coastal route via Viana do Castela. I would always find time to meet with Fernanda, Jacinto and Mariana in between Barcelos and Ponte do Lima. It necessitates asking around as Fernanda has no sign, but this remarkable woman has now become my friend, and she will become your friend too - that is the sort of person she is.
Chris and June, as I said: a pleasure. I hope you will come back soon.
Tracy
http://www.pilgrimagetoheresy.blogspot.com
 

periperi

New Member
I agree, I´d pocketed Brierley and followed the waymarkes from Cedofeita the first time around and was mystified that I never came to the bad road crossing. Walking out from Porto cathedral is not as bad as people think!
That said, this time around (my second out of Porto, and being true to the purposes of this particular camino) I travelled out to Villa do Conde/Santa Clara. Waymarkings werenºt good and I did a big loop, coming back into Villa do Conde for a second time around on the southbound viaduct!

Everyoneºs camino is their own, but I know I felt far more successful starting my way from Cedofeita than Villa do Conde!
 

Caminando

Veteran Member
I've read several times of the dangers of Portugese drivers. Yet I find them to be the least aggressive of road users in Europe.

Walking on a road is much more dangerous in every other country I can think of. Portugal is the easiest.

I hope a myth is not beginning about Portugal and its roads.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Unfortunately, there's a lot of truth to those myths. Portugal has a very high traffic fatality rate -- nowhere near as high as much of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, but very high nonetheless. There's lots of EU information and maps available, this one shows the death rate per million inhabitants: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/road_safe ... l_2008.pdf -- but if you look at the trend, it's definitely downward.

The fatality rate in Portugal has been almost cut in half over the past decade. I think that probably has something to do with the divided super-highways. I remember driving from the Algarve to Lisbon on the main hghway (which was two lanes) in 1995. I never thought we would arrive alive. Since there was so much traffic and never a safe gap for passing, what drivers did was pull out to pass and then assume the oncoming car would move over onto the shoulder.

I also think that there has been huge progress in the campaign against drinking and driving.

But I have to agree with Caminando that walking in Portugal along the shoulder from lisbon to Porto was never hair-raising for me, in the way that some of my experiences in Spain were. But maybe that was also due to the fact that on the Camino in Portugal the route tends to stick to secondary roads.

Laurie
 
It's been over a year since we set out to walk from Porto to Santiago. I have finally gotten around to editing and captioning so pix we took along the way. I've posted them at http://bit.ly/uJlwpV

We wanted to walk, as pilgrims, from the Cathedral, but the guides, (and some forum members), talked of a “dangerous” road crossing, out past Araujo (see earliest postings on this thread). Even the tourist office suggests taking the metro out to Maia and walking from there. We decided to see for ourselves, so we walked out Araujo on day 1 and noted that the route Brieley describes as an alternate was quite well marked. We then took the metro back from Custio.

The next day, we metroed back to Custio and walked the “alternate” route and then went west to pick up the N13 north. The route was well marked and there are pedestrian crossings at all the busy roads. As I had posted earlier, we found the walk to be pleasant and interesting. The old city and “city center” is beautiful and the suburbs were not at all unpleasant. For two seniors from Vermont, everything was new and different... interesting architecture and religious are everywhere. If you take the metro out, you'll miss some beautiful tiled churches. Sure, there were spots where there was a lot of traffic and the usual commercial/industrial clutter. But, I guess pilgrims have to take the unpleasant with the pleasant, right?

I took lots of pix on our walk. As I caption them, I'll post the links for those interested.

May your weather be as good as ours was!
June and Chris
 

gatothecat

New Member
June and Chris,

Thanks so much for posting that information, and for posting your pictures. I'm determined to walk from the Cathedral but was worried about the part along the roads. Sounds like Brierley's alternative route is the thing to do. I enjoyed seeing the sites along that way in your pictures and am looking forward to seeing them in person!
 

Davroos

Active Member
I walked from the Se in 2010 and it rained the first day pretty much all the way to Rates, and I never felt unsafe. There were a few spots where I had to walk on the road, but the cars gave us plenty of room. We also got loads of friendly tooting of horns and waves as most people understood that we were on a Camino
 

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