Day 1: Porto to Vila do Conde

21+ miles

6:30am to 3pm walking time

I remember this feeling like a long walk last year when I was on the same route. Even though this year’s hotel location meant about a mile less of walking, those 22 miles and counting today can be felt in my legs and feet. Overall though it was a great day on the Camino!

I left my hotel at 6:30am, before it was completely light out. Some folks in Porto were just headed home from their night out and the trash crew was making its way through the neighborhood. It was a peaceful morning and provided slightly better views than the walk out of Porto last year. Originally I was planning to take a train to Matosinhos to cut off about six miles of walking. But the stubborn side of me prevailed and I started my Camino from my hotel.

After about two to three miles of walking I made it to the coast. Since I’m pretty sure I was a mermaid in a past life, seeing the ocean always makes me instantly happy. That’s actually the main reason I decided to take the same exact route as last year. Had I changed it up and done the Central the whole way I wouldn’t have gotten to see the ocean waves I’m always longing for.

The first part of the day is slightly less scenic than the second part. The ocean beaches get prettier and prettier the farther north you head. About 14 miles in I could tell I had at least one blister so the shoes came off and the flip flops went on. My feet have almost never been happier. I took a short break at a cafe for my usual soda and beer, where I was joined by two ladies from Norway. This is their sixth Camino. Give me a few more years and I may be in the same boat.

After the break I decided to do what I regretted not doing last year…putting my feet in the ocean! That seemed to do the trick to give me energy to finish the day. Though I saw several pilgrims, I haven’t met that many yet. Once I arrived at the Santa Clara albergue, I met others from Luxembourg, Germany, Ireland, Slovenia and the ladies from Norway even showed up.

I realized when I got to the albergue that the only thing I ate all day was a granola bar. Definitely not normal for a pilgrim! There’s supposed to be first breakfast, second breakfast, a snack and then lunch on a typical Camino day. As soon as I settled in at the albergue I hobbled my way to a local bar for a bacon cheeseburger and fries.

I’ll be headed back to albergue soon to check on my laundry and plan out my day tomorrow. Due to the extra day I added, I might have a choice to make tomorrow a shorter day than last year and try staying in a different town. I may just have to wait and see how I’m feeling tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “Day 1: Porto to Vila do Conde

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