Post Camino R&R Day 4 – Porto to Gramacho

Time to leave Porto and its rain. Of course it was raining again overnight and when I woke up and it continued to do so well into the morning.

Checkout from Hotel Século was not until noon. My train to Tunes, which is a few stops short of Faro on the south coast, was leaving the Campanha station at 3.47pm.

There would be a less than an hour walk to that train station from my hotel. Less with walk and metro.

Hence no rush in the morning. So I went back for a snooze after breakfast. Nice.

The purpose for this train ride to southern Portugal was to visit an old classmate of mine, Ulf.

Ulf is the same age as me. As kids, we lived opposite each other in the same high rise building in a crappy suburb of Stockholm, Sweden called Skärholmen. We both escaped Skärholmen as soon as we could.

May I dare to say that both of us have then done pretty well with our lives. Ulf these days lives in Stockholm during summer and in southern Portugal during winter. A good combo.

Yep, still raining at 10.30am.

However, around 11am I checked out as the weather forecast was for cloudy but no rain for the rest of the day.

I decided to check out FC Porto’s home arena. That’s football, real football for the uninitiated. Estádio do Dragão. FC Porto’s nickname is The Dragons.

The football stadium was an old fashioned and pretty tired looking concrete monster. Impossible to get the whole stadium into one single shot.

You could peep into the stadium and down the field in various places through the fence.

A big football in front of the stadium looked very American and their huge baseballs.

I climbed some stairs up an adjacent overpass and got Estádio do Dragão into the next 2 frames.

Moving on, there is a park nearby, Parque de S. Roque, which I doubt many tourists would go to. Not because it would be dangerous or because it’s rundown but because it’s some distance away from where tourists to.

It is hardly visible in the frame below but there was a couple standing there, kissing loudly and with their hands all over each other. An affair in progress if there ever was one.

Parque de S. Roque was very nice, up on a hill and it all looked very well maintained.

And somebody has gone through a lot of trouble to create and maintain this.

From Parque de S. Roque, there is only a short walk to Campanha where the intercity railway station is. Of course, I arrived there way too early so after people watching in the train station’s waiting room for a while, I went in search for lunch.

I found my lunch place here. It is a combined kebab, pizza, hamburger, pub but not least Indian restaurant.

The last item on this list caught my eye.

Yep, tandoori chicken. The package arrived as this, on a sizzling plate with onions and lettuce and with chips not rice.

The chicken was obviously very dry and it was strange to have it all with chips, but given that I was so deprived of Asian food since arriving in Europe, I ate everything on the sizzling plate. And maybe a third of the chips.

A coffee Portuguese style was also included. Pretty good value at 6€.

The train as Campanha station left exactly on time…

…and while the train travelled on a speed between 40-60km per hour for a while, it then sped up. I saw 220km per hour displayed at one time.

A selfie on the train.

A few notes from the train ride:

  • The smartly dressed Portuguese businessman / government official in front of me kept stepping on my feet. I gave him increasingly dirty looks and I think he finally got the message as he moved to another seat before getting off in Lisbon.
  • Across the aisle from me was a Portuguese man, with his 2 kids and his English speaking nanny (I assume the last bit). The young nanny had her jeans so low that you could see her undies in full. You know, like cool dudes sometimes wear them. Seemed quite inappropriate to me. I think that she also traveled on a concession ticket without having an id to prove it. Hence, a long discussion with the train conductor trying to justify it. They must get that crap all the time.

The train kept spotlessly to the timetable and I arrived at Tunes station exactly on time at 8.55pm.

Ulf was waiting on the platform in Tunes to meet me and after a 15 minutes or so car ride, we arrived at his house.

Looking at Google Maps, the area is called Gramacho and Ulf lives at Pestana Golfe Resort.

Ulf’s wife Åsa was there to meet us. The three of us sat down with a few beers and drinks and chatted until after midnight. A final picture of Ulf and I just before we called it a day.

Åsa had already retired to bed at this time so a picture of her has to wait until tomorrow.

And pictures of their lovely house. You will be impressed.

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