Camino 3 day after: Santiago de Compostela to Porto

Time to leave Santiago de Compostela and Spain for Porto in Portugal. I am sure that I will be back in Spain in a not too distant future. With Good Mrs next time. Spain is still my favourite European country. Perhaps Portugal will change that…

Daylight Savings Time goes for 7 months on the Iberian Peninsula. Overnight though it reverted back to standard time. Portugal is one hour earlier than Spain, i.e. same time zone as the UK. That meant that my body clock needs to move back 2 hours by the end of the day.

My bus to Porto, Portugal did not leave until noon which meant plenty of time in the morning to pack for post Camino.

By 8.30am standard time I was all packed up and then went for a final Sunday morning wander.

Sunday morning means empty and closed in Spain.

I’ve passed this touristy looking restaurant many times in the last few days. Signs misspelt? No, Spanish spelling.

However, this is clearly not correct. False advertising.

I think that this was the tapas bar where we pilgrims went to farewell lunch yesterday. Hard to tell now that everything is shut.

This was interesting. It’s Sunday morning and almost everything is closed. But not the Santiago de Compostela post office. It’s open and it is providing pilgrim services. I am impressed.

Santiago de Compostela played host to one of those early Sunday morning runs today. The race finished in the plaza in front of the cathedral. Plenty of runners who had made it, but more to come as we will see later.

I made my way back to hostel The Last Stamp through another typical Spanish breakfast. That breakfast consisted of a cup of Americano coffee and a croissant. At the appropriately named “Cafeteria Butafumeiro”.

The setup just seemed appropriate to round up my presence in Santiago de Compostela and in Spain.

Way too early I got my backpack and wandered off towards the bus station… Against the direction of the remaining runners in that race.

There was not a lot of life at Santiago de Compostela’s bus station. However, my bus was there. The only bus in sight.

Yep, this is the international bus.

The bus leaves Santiago de Compostela only a few minutes late and we are soon on the way. The bus passes through the town of Vigo.

I did consider Vigo a post Camino destination. Maybe I should have as it looked beautiful from the bus. A bit like San Francisco with rolling hills, a bridge and lots of green on the other side.

I was only able to shoot two crappy photos from the bus, but I include them anyway.

Fast forward and I am in Porto.

There was a half hour walk from the bus station to my home for the next 4 nights, 2 star Hotel Seculo. Which was in a residential neighborhood but on a street that goes right into Porto’s centre, Rua da Santa Catarina.

What a service for munchies… This food and drink offering is literally 3 doors up the road from my hotel…
…and the food is from no other than “Hot Bob”. Who could resist that?

Ahh… Own room, double bed, plenty of space. Even a bath tub.

The view down Rua da Santa Catarina from my window. If you just follow the street you end up on a pedestrian mall and close to the river as we will see later.

Directly opposite my window, it looks like this. The old building behind there is called Capela de Fradelos according to my map.

After settling in, having a shower, washing some clothes in the basin, I was out searching for a meal. While the Portuguese clock said post 4.30pm, my body clock said post 6.30pm. And since I had no lunch, I was hungry now.

First impressions was that  Porto looks a bit like Macao. Which is explained by that I have been to Macao twice but I have never been to Portugal before. And Macao of course is a former Portuguese colony.

Yes, this could have been Macao.

Then, this menu caught my eye. 7€ for a whole “trout grilled in live(?) coal”. How can I pass on a place like that?

Not a crowded place but it had some other advantages apart from the food…

… a TV, broadcasting live football. Benfica vs Porto. Just started and Porto was up 1-0.

I ordered “Vino de Porto” which of course is port wine. From Porto. Strong and sweet.

Not my preferred choice of dinner drink but when in Rome…

The trout arrived and no chips. Normal potatoes. All good. I even ate the carrots as I was so deprived of vegetables. Plenty of olive oil and garlic. Fantastic meal!

I finished my meal and watched the game for a good hour before leaving and… now it was dark outside. At 6pm.

If you walk south down on Rua de Santa Catarina, this is where you end up.

According to a sign, this building is Capela das Almas de Santa Catarina. Beautiful tiles with blue and white patterns and images.

Majestic Cafe is apparently a must go to destination for any visitor but not this Sunday evening as it was very closed.

Further south is this church called Igreja de Sto Lidefonso. Also decorated with those beautiful blue and white tiles. And lit up.

I’ve already seen these vendors around, with their smelly and smoky cooking machines. I think they roast chestnuts but I’m not quite sure.

I wandered down to the main river in Porto. It is called Rio Douro and the bridge Ponte Luis I.

No general traffic across the bridge, only light rail and pedestrians.

The bridge is way up, the fencing far too low for my liking with far too many opening where things can fall through. Still, Ponte Luis I offered fantastic views. The nightscape was fantastic.

A strange grin selfie during a slight bout of vertigo. You should be there…

Looking west over Rio Duoro from Ponte Luis I.

Can I take this opportunity to say that Porto is giving Paris a run for its money as the “City of Lights”? So much lit up from what I can see.

Ponte Luis I from the southern side of Rio Douro…

…and across to downtown Porto.

The building below is an old monastery called Mosteiro da Serro da Pilar. Also remarkably well lit up.

The buildings below the old monastery looked like a set of dominos from the bridge. Tip one over and…

A cable car referred to as Muralha Fernandina was also visible on the town side.

And if you don’t want to pay for a cable car ride, you can always take the stairs. There were several.

Don’t you think that train stations providing services to the suburbs tend to be pretty drab places? Not in Porto. The exterior of Estacio de S Bento is just gorgeous…

…and inside as well.

And there they are. The trains to the burbs.

After my short night time familiarization of Porto, I wandered back to Hotel Secula. And after blogging this, it was bedtime. Remember the 2 hour difference from last night…

Tomorrow is another day, my first full R&R day post walking the Camino…

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