Today, we took our first steps on the famed Camino. Folks who walk the Portugese route generally start south in Lisbon, but from there to here is mostly road walking and industrialized. Nope. We were strongly advised to hop the Metro train in order to move ahead 6 miles to start at the outskirts of Porto at the Black Coast at Matosinhos. Once we hit the “English” button on the automated Metro pay machine we were able to figure out how insert €5 and get our tickets.
It took about 35 minutes on the Metro for us to reach the Mercado station in order to reach our start.
Our today path consisted of 10 miles of seaside travel, with the stark and vast Atlantic on our left for most of the day, which concluded around 2 pm.
Mame and I walked exactly what we had hoped for on this first journey, where we met our first fellow Peregrino, a Dutch lady named Sioukie.
It was her first day as well. We passed her and she passed us a couple of times, when we finally started speaking to each other at a lunch spot. We hit it off immediately, and finished the day together walking to our auberge (pilgrim hostel) in Labruge.
While we didn’t know any Dutch, Sioukie was fluent in English. She is walking alone to be away from her family and work responsibilities. She also gets 14 weeks of vacation time, while accumulating enough seniority to get paid for a 29 hour work week ! In America half the workers are overstressed and getting ill from working ungodly hours while there is another group of American who struggle with unemployment.
The day was moderated by a strong northeast wind that brought cool temps to the day. While it was strongly sunny, I didn’t even work up a sweat. I’m carrying some of Mame’s things, and probably have 20 pounds on my back. It’s pretty easy, and definitely flat.
Our lodging here could not have been more different from the highly hip, smoothly operated machine Yes! where we stayed last night. Breakfast today was included in the €24 rate. By the way, yes is highly rated. Here’s proof!
Two more perigrinos rolled into the new church run Santiago hostel in Labruge this afternoon, bringing to renovated schoolhouse up to 5 occupants. I am the #413th occupant to spend a night here since the place was opened almost a year ago. We had quite an arrival in this little town when we discovered that it was locked and that the church parish center next door was closed today.
No one spoke any English here except a hairdresser who lived across the street and she let us in and showed us the ropes.
Sioukie, Mame, and I ate dinner at Novo Rumo right at the edge of the Atlantic tonight. The light was clear and golden, and the sea breeze was cool and clean. I ordered a Francesinha, a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto, made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage, steak, and covered with melted cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries.