Camino Portugués Coastal 2023 – Porto

April 8th 2023 – Day 0 – Travel day
Dublin to Porto via Lisbon

It was an early start leaving Dublin, as most Ryanair flights tend to be. I arrived at Terminal 1, Dublin Airport at 5.30am yawning bound for Lisbon Airport. My destination was Porto though. It would be a long day but I would be glad when I arrived.

I think I was the only pilgrim on the flight – which was quite strange. Usually, there would be the odd one or two. If I see a shell or a backpack, I would initiate small talk. Perhaps it was so early in the season? Who knows! I had an aisle seat and the flight to Lisbon was perfect. I have flown to Lisbon before, in 2019 and it is a beautiful city. Memories of my walk from Lisbon with Carsten came flooding back. I wouldn’t be staying there long however, as I needed to catch a train from Oriente to Porto Campanha which I had booked. I managed to work through passport control (which was pretty slow) and got a super quick metro to Oriente and I was in good time for the train.

Santiago Calatrava designed the Gare do Oriente in Parque das Nações, completed in 1998 for the World Expo.

Plans change

There were rumours a number of weeks ago of a train strike in Portugal, and gave us plenty of notice of the trains that would be affected. However, it gave no notice that my train would be cancelled. I would arrive at the station and see what happens. I arrived on the platform and got talking to a few tourists from Canada who told me that the train from Lisbon had been cancelled so I was slightly concerned. I ventured to the information office. The queue was long but I met a German couple (Nurjamal and Andreas) who were going to Porto. They sounded very anxious and needed to be in Porto this evening. I said let’s work together and this is where really became useful. There was an urban train to Coimbra that was leaving in 15 minutes that we decided to take. From there, we decided to take a Flixbus to Porto. On the way to Porto, I got to know Nurjamal and Andreas and I told them a bit about the Camino de Santiago or Jakobsweg! I kept an eye out for pilgrims – but I didn’t spot any until I arrived at Porto Campanha. I took a metro across town to my accommodation for the evening but I was happy to arrive.

Browsing through Porto

My accommodation was right beside Carmo church – 10 minutes walk from Trinidade metro station. After a quick shower, I ventured out for some food and some sellos or carimbos, as they say in Portugal. It was getting late so I didn’t have much time. I walked down to Sao Bento station and wowed at the artwork. You could spend a whole hour in there admiring the tiles. On the main road, a singer belts out The Cranberries – Zombie as tourists congregate. I manage to locate some food that will keep me running until the morning – I am easily pleased. I walk toward Livraria Lello and am stunned at the queue to enter this book store. Outside a busker plays music to keep them patient while they wait.

Igreja do Carmo

I had plans to walk to the Cathedral but I wanted to have an early night. There is so much to see and do in Porto and on any other night I would probably take a city tour. My mind is focused on the next two weeks and in particular the next day. Should I walk out of Porto or take a bus to Foz – like last year? I think I would decide in the morning. The weather forecast for the next few days was promising but there was rain due in a few days time.

Handy links: links page – for open albergues and distances between towns

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