Camino Portugués 2023 – Day 2 – Vila do Conde to Fao.

A solitary walk today and a return to an albergue I stayed in last year, so I was very much in my element. I had a super sleep and was woken by Estelle and Hector who were busily making breakfast in the kitchen. I gathered my things and had some fruit before leaving. It wouldn’t be the last time I saw this Spanish couple before Santiago. Hector had great English but I think most Spanish people have spent a few weeks in Ireland topping up their English at some point in their lives. The guesthouse is centrally located in Vila do Conde and for €37, I think I got a bargain with laundry and breakfast. The owner even sent me a message wishing me a Bom Caminho afterward!

Leaving at 7am, I walked through the a mix of residential and industrial areas in Caxinas before arriving back on the coast. Many of the houses had their decorations for Easter on their front door, as is tradition here. It was dark but the sun was rising. I was greeted by the parish church at Povoa de Varzim. It’s a large church but it was closed. I spent some time walking around it before returning to the coast. It was a calm morning. Once at the oceanside, there was only way for me to go, straight ahead and I was quite happy with that. I stopped for second breakfast at the first open cafe in Povoa. I bought my usual cafe com leite, croissant and a juice for later. I don’t see a huge amount of pilgrims at this stage of the day. Maybe because it is early? A few pilgrims come in to the cafe as I am leaving however, so there is hope.

I did wonder if being Easter Monday, might make things difficult for me. Back in Ireland, we treat Easter Monday as a public holiday and if I am led to believe is true, a lot of shops and cafes would be closed in Portugal. I had never walked during or close to Easter so it was an interesting time for me. The last thing I wanted was to walk 15kms without a cafe or a stop at a restaurant. Meh..maybe I worry too much!

Povoa de Varzim is an interesting town with plenty of monuments to check out. There are the wonderful Azulejos – they tell a story in themselves. There is the Monumento “A Peixeira” and the Monumento San Pedro. After the history. Povoa is lined with beaches . It was a little too early for any sun seekers when I passed, but it can get busy when the sun makes an appearance.

The boardwalk returned soon after and it was a gift to my feet. It is really helpful to my feet I find but I like the variety between the road and the boardwork. I like to mix it up. I stopped for a rest at Agucadoura and I was hoping that something – a cafe – would be open, but alas, nothing was, so I was snacked on my chocolate from the morning. The Camino moved inland at Estella and veered around a golf course. There were many locals joining me as I was walking which I found amusing. We all stopped as a golfer took a shot and missed. Some of these boardwalks have been recently redeveloped and I walked down one that was so new that the exit was closed. So I needed to climb over a wooden “gate” to get back on the trail and find the Camino again with gps. It was quite warm but I was under forest for a good part of this walk, saving me from a burn. At Apulia, I returned to the coast to walk on boardwalk until I arrived at Fao.

I spotted an advertisement for The Spot Ofir a few kms outside of Fao – I wasn’t too far away, but I was very early. I arrived in Fao after midday, which is a reasonable time if I was walking on the Camino Francés. I stopped at Cantina Verde and had a Menu del Dia which not only was filling but it passed the time. The fact I had stayed in this small but beautiful town before made all the difference. I remember the parade in May 2022 – the town celebrated until the small hours. I checked into the albergue and was looking forward to another day on the Camino. The albergue is run by a lovely lady, Sandra, and is one of the best accommodations I have stayed in on the Camino Portugués – I look forward to return.

Sandra and myself

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