The day before.

I would hate to ever say that going to the Camino is old hat for me. And I’d be lying if I said it was. I’m filled with excitement and a little nervousness. Perhaps a little less nervousness than my first, but definitely the same amount of being excited. Having signs all over Porto of the Camino just makes me downright giddy. My knee pain from a soccer injury last Tuesday is no longer hindering my walking. I picked up some cheap trekking poles at Decathlon today and I got my first stamp in my passport at the cathedral – essentially the starting point of the Camino in Porto.

But let’s rewind a bit. Yesterday I wrote my blog before the day was complete. I still had a flight to Lisbon that ended up being an hour late. But luckily for me, a friend from the geocaching world was there to greet me at the airport even though it was late at night. He and I met up with another friend and had a great time catching up over beers. Who could ask for a better welcome to Portugal?

Today, after not nearly enough sleep, I caught the train from Lisbon to Porto. The train ride was easy and uneventful, to the point it helped me catch up on some of the missing sleep. I arrived in Porto at 1pm ready to do as much exploring of the city as I could. Friends from Lisbon, don’t get me wrong, your city is amazing but Porto is one of the coolest cities I’ve been to in my travels. Going around every corner just feels magical. The steep hillsides provide some spectacular views of the river drowning in the sea of the orange roof buildings.

I spent the afternoon “running errands.” That is, getting the new trekking poles and getting my passport stamped, along with geocaching my way through the city. I revisited a lot of the amazing places I visited last year and even found some hidden viewpoints I hadn’t seen before.

One of the amazing things to discover in Porto is all of the murals you see walking around. I’d probably run out of digital film if I tried to capture them all. They just add so much character to the city.

I ended my day the same way I ended yesterday – having beers with a friend from the geocaching world. A great benefit to having friends all over the world!

So now I’m back at the charming hotel I’m staying at to get one of my last night’s sleep without sharing a room with other pilgrims. I was fully set on taking a train or bus to the location many pilgrims start from on the PortuguĂ©s Camino but now knowing that might knee is better I just might walk that six extra miles tomorrow. It’ll be a game time decision in the morning, so we’ll see what I decide.

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