So many times during the pandemic and throughout the time recovering from surgery I would close my eyes and walk parts of the Camino. All I wanted to do was put on my backpack and lose myself in its paths, food and community. Last summer I was so lucky to find my journal from my first camino on the French route and it brought back so many memories for me. Almost 26 years ago. Wow! I will share bits and pieces of it here in the future. I am still very sad that my photo album disappeared somewhere. Very sad.
My journal from my first camino!!!!!!!!!!!!
We have been wanting to do the Portuguese Camino for quite a long time now but had a hard time deciding on whether we should do the Coastal Route or the Central Route. Finally, we made our decision and made the dream real this past July. It was mixed partly with work but mostly it was just us and our camino, the way it should be.
I always tell my groups about the miracles that happen along the Way, sharing with them my many stories to back this up. El Caminho Portuguesa Da Costa did not disappoint. We arrived in Porto on a wing and a prayer thanks to RyanAir and their constant strikes (miracle number 1). Our first stop was the Cathedral to pick up our pilgrim´’s passports. As we walked up to the main entrance I spotted two walking sticks propped against the facade of the Cathedral. Taking a closer look, I saw they each had a small note attached. Written in Portuguese and English each note said, “This pole made the Camino 2x. It belonged to …….. who left it first, in this same place, where it was found by …….. who leave it here now. For you. Enjoy”. There was no doubt in our minds and hearts that we had chosen the correct path.
Check out the bread and spicy oil!
Pilgrims need fuel and there is no better place than Porto to have some great food! I had walked by this restaurant a few times the week before and I knew that Filipe and I needed to eat here! When a restaurant is filled with workers and people from the neighbourhood, like the the older gentleman who is served his meal without even having an order taken, you know you are in the right place. I have grown to have a serious weakness for “frango asado” in Portugal. Nobody does grilled chicken better than Portugal and many African countries. Btw you must read, and if you can, eat here…. https://mooninspain.com/2019/06/12/spice-bcn-must-do/
Obviously I had the grilled chicken, served with rice, fries and black beans (my favourite part). Filipe couldn’t pass on one of the most traditional dishes from Porto, Dobrada. Dobrada or Tripas à Moda do Porto is a stew made with white beans and tripe. It is said that this dish originated in the 14th century. Supposedly the people of Porto gave all of the meat to Henry the Navigator´’s Armada when he left to conquer Ceuta and all that was left in the city was the offal. There is also a Portuguese saying, “Fazer das tripas Coração”, which basically means to bend over backwards for someone or something.
The lunch was perfect, showered with great Portuguese wine. A pitcher of wine here costs 3 euros and 60 cents. If you are in Porto and need a great meal, check out Churrasqueira Moura on Rue do Almada. You won’t ever regret the experience.
Porto on the right and Vila Nova de Gaia on the left.
With tummies full and after a nice walk through Porto, we set off to Viana do Castelo where we would actually begin our Camino the next day.
Happy Pilgrim in front of Porto’s City Hall