May 20th Thursday.
We wake to the sound of wind rattling shutters, but unlike home this does not herald rain. It is still hot but the wind keeps it to a temperature bearable for walking. Today we have to walk into Porto, this will involve mostly road walking. First we pass around the monastery in Grijo and after a while on quiet suburban roads pick up the old medieval/roman road over a ridge through a eucalyptus forest. It is paved with some large rocks many of which are of igneous pegmatite according to Betsy. Betsy meanwhile is a little concerned by Tim’s wish to collect a dead lizard seen on the pavement – does he already have a secret roadkill stash somewhere in his pack including previous victims seen such as 2 snakes, a bat, a vole, a mouse, some large beetles, the ubiquitous flat cats and dogs and a surprisingly large number of small birds?
After that treat the route gradually deteriorated becoming more and more built up and seeming to last forever along crowded roads and pavements. Eventually we sight the Douro, still well below us, and cross on the bridge high above the little boats bringing port down to the shippers.
At the far end is a bar, the beer is twice the price of the cheapest we have had on The Way. Just round the corner is the cathedral where we get a carimbo and sign the book. We wonder if it is sent to Santiago to cross reference with the arrival statistics in the cathedral office? The route descends steeply down narrow stepped streets and we stop for lunch. This is a city where even a small restaurant has an English translated menu, Tony and Tim have “Different Fish” and very good they are too, at least two types, with boiled potatoes and a sauce of onions and parsley coarsely chopped in olive oil with a little vinegar. Betsy got the chips with her pork as usual. The price was city prices! We leave content, and go down a bit and up a lot. The citizens of Porto must be a fit lot, just walking the streets is serious exercise.
We find a room in the planned residencial (overcoming a minor panic when at first sight it seemed disused and roofless, shades of Malaga – but that’s another story) and after showers crash to recover from pork and different fish, only noticing the large sign forbidding any washing of clothes when a line of slightly dripping items is already stretched across the room!
May 20th Thursday.