Day fourteen, fifteen sixteen and seventeen – Sernadelo to Agueda to Albergaria o Nova to Sao João do Madeira to Porto

Sernadelo to Agueda – Saturday 11 May 2019 – 27 kms – accumulated elevation 239 metres

Another unremarkable day mostly walking on paved or bitumen roads through small towns. We had a late start today as our accommodation had already been booked so were in no rush. It is proving more difficult just to wing it with hostels due to the large number of Pilgrims heading in the opposite direction to Fatima. For peace of mind that we will have a place to stay we are now booking ahead a few days. A nice sunny day which started through a small eucalyptus forest before turning back on to the bitumen.

We followed a nice pink pathway, nice because it was made of the same surface found in playgrounds and rather soft underfoot, into the town of Anadia.

We passed a very large impressive sporting complex and entered town as they were holding their Saturday morning markets. A coffee stop and some nice fresh fruit to take with us.

We were very tempted by these yummy pastries

Walking on a Saturday when the locals are enjoying their recreational pursuits does make for some added interest on this urban section.

We were soon passed by a procession of vintage cars – if these are vintage what does that make us, I remember driving some of them.

We were reminded how the small towns retain so much of their history as we pass by this preserved communal laundry.

The last five kilometres seemed to take forever when we finally walked over the bridge in to Agueda.

Agueda to Albergaria o Nova – Sunday 12 May –  23.7 kms – accumulated elevation 332 metres

Agueda is known for its umbrella festival and although we were a week early our hostel was already setting up. The photo at the top of this post shows Agueda with the festival in full swing along with some of the local artwork which is more permanent.

This local artwork is made from scrap metal

Today was another early start as the weather is starting to warm up and once again lots of road walking, 17 kms of it!

The first of the few highlights today was walking over this huge bridge over the Rio Vouga which overlooked the hills to the east.

Passing through the town of Mourisca da Vouga we came across this Vila which looked rather like the Adams family home.

After a much needed coffee break we left Mourisca da Vouga up this hill overlooking the town.

And under a bridge by a cool stream provided some welcome shade.

It was a long day with little respite from the hard surfaces and all of the other pilgrims at the hostel in Albergaria o Nova were feeling the same.

The hostel has a great outdoor area with a pool and put on a BBQ for dinner while we relaxed in the garden. Accommodation options included dormitories as well as double rooms all with shared bathrooms.

Albergaria o Nova to Sao Jaoa Do Madeira – Monday 13 May 2019 – 24.8 kms – accumulated elevation 496 metres

A very hot day and again walking on mostly bitumen and pavement. Almost everyone in the hostel set off early at around the same time to avoid the heat as much as possible. The long queue of pilgrims which lined the roadside soon dissipated as the mostly younger fitter ones overtook us oldies. We were very happy to reach our first cafe at around 6.5 kms for a breakfast stop.

The Perth crew plus James

Although not so attractive the dirt track beside the railway line was a welcome relief to our feet from pounding on pavement.

Dozens of small allotments are next to the houses in the small towns along the way. They are full of fruit trees and vegetables. These allotments are handed down through generations and are not necessarily next to their homes.

What a delight as we came over yet another steep climb to finally get our first glimpse of the ocean in the distance. It spurred us all on.

We stopped for a short break in a town called Oliveira de Azeméis. What an unexpectedly beautiful small town this was.

Ron and Mary in the small but pristine town square
The church with its blue and white Azeluja tiles
Ron and Geoff two big kids

This sign at a railway crossing says only two pilgrims across at a time. So, Ron went across with Geoff, then Geoff went across with me, etc., etc., but who is left to go across with the last person? You would have to have been walking up hill in the midday sun to think that this was as hilarious as it seemed to us at the time.

We didn’t see as many of these Horreos which are used for storing grain, as we did in Spain. They are built slightly differently here being longer and on a solid base instead of four kegs. I’m not sure of the Portuguese name for them either.

We passed by this little shoe making shop as we walked through the small village of Salgueiro. These two ladies who came out to check what their dog was barking at, were very proud to show us their handiwork.

We arrived in Sao João da Madeira around 1:30 tired and starving. We found a place with the best burgers and chips, demolished them and went for a nap. Later as we went out looking for a drink we heard the shrill sound of Cooeeee loud and clear above us and hanging out the window of the top floor of this hotel in the main plaza in town was one of the other Aussies from Melbourne.


Sao João da Madeira to Porto – Monday 14 May 2019 – 34.2 kms

HAPPY 70th BIRTHDAY RON!

A long walk from Sao João da Madeira to Porto with only one place to stay the night in Grijo and only 14 beds. These Albergues are on a first in first serve basis and with so many younger pilgrims on the road we didn’t think we would get a bed so decided to bus it to Porto where we could book accommodation. Turned out to be a wise move as friends told us that the beds were all taken and they ended up catching a taxi to from Sao Joao da Madeira to Porto. We all met for dinner to celebrate Ron’s 70th birthday.

We have a few days here so will post at the end before we start walking the last section to Santiago de Compostela – I’m having a couple of days off the phone.

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