As usual, a night of 10 hours of sleep in a comfortable bed worked wonders for turning things around for me here in Porto land.
Breakfast came in grand style with copious dark, rich coffee and a smorgasbord of satisfying breakfast choices. I had my usual yogurt, a toasted fresh baguette that I slathered with port wine/apple butter jam, a slice of cheese, and ham as well.
Auntie Mame and I chose to limit ourselves to two major events today, both involving some degree of religious experience. We squandered our time at the White Box until the very end, checking out exactly at noon.
From there we walked bit over half mile downhill to the city cathedral which was inaugurated in the 12th-century. Yes, it’s a church but it’s also a fortress, that saved the souls and also the bodies of the city’s faithful against the attacks of Napoleon and the Moors. Inside the main entrance, and just below a stunning rose stained glass window, we secured our Credential del Peregrino along with our first stamped entry. If we are fortunate in accumulating additional stamps as we move north, we will earn a certificate in Santiago, Spain. I was brought to tears several times viewing the ancient treasures held within cathedral. We toured the 14th century Gothic cloisters.
As a former practicing Catholic, I was surprised to discover that I have apparently retained some degree of reverence for the institution. Eight years of the Sisters of Mercy and four more years at the stern hands of the Brothers of the Holy Cross have etched my soul.
Next, we rumble stepped our way along the cobblestone paths over to the upper level of the 150 foot high bridge Ponte de D. Luis I.
On the other side of the river we visited Sandeman, one of the oldest Port wine lodges in Portugal.
Here we had a tasting session that included a half hour tour that concluded with a sampling of a vintage Ruby and a less familiar white port.
Finally, we walked back over the lower span of bridge to our new lodging spot, the brand new Yes! hostel. Mame and I snagged two bunk beds, sharing a neatly appointed room with two other folks we have not met yet.
We decided to partake in the dinner offered at Yes! tonight which includes appetizer, main course, bread, dessert and wine – all for €10. When I protested at the 9pm serving time, the friendly clerk nudged me to try and understand that dinners in Portugal tend to occur around that time. I better get used to that.
My IPhone’s Fitbit chalked up 6 miles of urban trekking today. I feel we are now aptly tuned up to shoulder our backpacks tomorrow and take this Camino deal a little more seriously.