To avoid congested inner city streets through industrial parks, we took the metro in Porto to Vilar do Pinheiro and then walked to São Pedro de Rates 19.4 km (12 mi) away. It was probably the most difficult walk to date, mostly on cobble-stoned pathways which pounded our feet like meat tenderizers. Since this is the first day for many pilgrims on the Camino Portuguese, the alberque (pilgrim hostel) had a medic to care for the peregrinos’ feet. I was unsure if I could walk the next day, but a night’s sleep did wonders.
As we approached our destination, we could hear loud music and PA system. Nothing puts fear in a hiker’s heart as a festival. Yesterday was St. Anthony’s Feast Day and there were a carnival, songfest and fireworks to celebrate. The noise finally stopped after midnight, making for a short repose.
Today’s walk to Tamel (São Pedro Fins) was 25.3 km (15.7 mi) but a lot easier on the feet. We past many small villages, wonderful floral and vegetable gardens, and several towns. Dennis posed with the Barcelos cockerel. Once again, there was a fiesta in town, with artisan booths, local foods, and a singing band. There are many fiestas in this country, maybe more than in Spain.
It took us about 2 hours to walk from Barcelos to Tamel (São Pedro Fins). The route was uneventful except for the last 2 km or so climb to the top. Why are the hostels always at the top of hill, when pilgrims are most tired? We beat the rain, barely, and the weather should be inclement for the next several days.