Guys I had the most amazing experience recently. I was lucky enough to get time off work at a really busy time in Tofino and go to Europe for three weeks. Over the next few weeks I will share all the places I went in London, Portugal and Spain and share my experience on the Camino de Santiago. Earlier this week I posted about our day in Porto before we actually began our walk. Below are photos of our first day on the road and our experience. We walked over 34,000 steps (thanks Fitbit,) totalling a day of 22 kms. It was a great first day, however, it didn't end as well as we would have hoped, with my mum suffering from heat exhaustion. Scroll down to see everything we saw on our way.
We started our morning by waking up at 7am, having breakfast at the hotel and hopping on the metro to get a little bit out of the city. All the guidebooks we read told us it was difficult to get out of Porto, as it was not well way marked with the little yellow arrows that lead the way. So what we ended up doing was taking a metro from Porto to Villa Poreinho and walking to Mosteiro to meet up with the Camino Portuguese. This was easier said than done. It was our first day so we were getting our footing, figuring out where to look for arrows and markers and we missed a turn pretty early on. Yes we got lost. But luckily some lovely Portuguese farmers yelled from the back of their tractor to inform us we were walking the wrong way and which way we needed to go. Once we got back to where we needed we were good to go.
The first people we encountered on our walk were two lovely women from Australia, Melbourne to be exact. They were sister-in-laws and had started their Camino from Lisbon, so had been walking for two weeks already. Both named Simone, Sim and Sim (for short,) were lovely and we kept bumping into them on the way. We stopped for our first break around mid-day and thank goodness we did because there wasn't much after that. We fuelled up on coffee, juice and pastries (a staple in my diet from that moment on the Camino,) at a lovely and small cafe. Everyone was really nice in Portugal and really happy and excited for the pilgrims that walked by or came into their shop or cafe.
In the afternoon under the beating sun (it was a hot one,) we took a detour route to avoid the traffic on the way to Arcos. This took us through wonderful farmlands, however, there wasn't much shade around. This proved to be a big problem for my mum who ended up suffering once we arrived at our home for the night. Our first night was spent at Villa D'Arcos, a converted home into hotel, that was beautiful and welcoming. We had a private room and our own separate bathroom. Our shower was in our bedroom and it was hilarious! It looked like a spaceship with blue lights when you turned it on. It also had a radio and phone inside it. Once we sat down my mum started to get sick sadly.
I had dinner on my own with some fellow pilgrims that evening. The town we stayed in was very small so luckily the owners cooked us up quite a feast. They were so caring for my mum as well. They brought her tea and bread, however, she wasn't able to eat anything. We still aren't sure what did it to her but luckily after a day of rest in the next town she was back to her normal self. It was really hard seeing my mum like that and not able to do anything for her. Luckily we didn't have to take her to hospital but it is something to consider if you ever plan to do the Camino. Being prepared is important, you don't know what might happen.
The next morning we had a delicious breakfast at the Villa before ordering a taxi to the next town. It was a short 15 kms away but I knew my mum wouldn't be able to walk it. Stay tuned for our second day in Barcelos!