The Caminho Português. Section 1 Lisbon to Porto. Laurie Reynolds - PDF

You are at this point very close to the Jardim do Mouro, a garden in Gaia with a fabulous view overlooking the Porto riverfront, and the Gaia port wine lodges below. It is, in my opinion, one of the most

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You are at this point very close to the Jardim do Mouro, a garden in Gaia with a fabulous view overlooking the Porto riverfront, and the Gaia port wine lodges below. It is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful built environment sights ever I ve seen. The bridge leaves from the Jardim and crosses the river. You then take a left to go uphill (often there are those little mini in-town tourist trains parked there) and you will be in front of the Cathedral (4 km). You can get a carimbo in the Cathedral. There is also a tourist office right there. 1 The Caminho Português Section 1 Lisbon to Porto Laurie Reynolds Porto Riverfront The Confraternity of St James has published Guides to the Camino Portugués in two sections. A Guide to the route from Porto Santiago is also available. The Guides are available in printed form and also to download from the CSJ Website: These Guides can only be kept up to date for future pilgrims if users send their comments to the authors of the Guides. Their e mail addresses are listed in the Guide. 44 1 Introduction to the Caminho Português from Lisbon to Porto Unlike the other online CSJ guides, this one is limited to providing the nuts and bolts information about walking from Lisbon to Porto. If you are planning to undertake this walk, I highly urge you to consult the CSJ s online guide for the Porto-Santiago segment for general historical and practical information about the Caminho Português. I walked from Lisbon to Porto in Spring 2009, relying on the yellow arrows and on the Spanish language guide available online from the Gallego Amigos Association, available at: For the most part it was smooth sailing, and the arrows were clear. But in a few cases, especially in a couple of eucalyptus forests, I got lost. In the pages that follow, I have tried to pinpoint the spots where I lost the arrows, as well as to describe how I was able to reconnect with them. If you use this guide and manage to find your way with the arrows, please let me know how you did it, and I will enter updates as soon as possible. For some visual information, I have posted my pictures on the web: This pamphlet has already benefitted from the updates provided by Robert Gunn (summer 2009) and Sharron Warren (September 2009). I urge others who use this totally non-professional guide to contact me with new information and changes in the route. There is a fair amount of road construction along the way, which suggests that some re-routing will occur as a result. Please send me your updates, and I will input all changes and comments as quickly as I can. Bom Caminho to you all. Laurie Reynolds September, Accommodation is apparently available in Grijó, but it s at least 1 km off the Caminho. I found a 3-star pensão on the internet: Pensão Sobreiro Grosso, Rúa Américo de Oliveira 807 (tel: ). From the monastery of Grijó, head down Avenida do Mosteiro, then turn in direction of Sermonde, arriving in Perozinho (5 km). This is the first place I saw permanent camino markers, signs with the shell and an arrow indicating the direction. They disappeared again after about 5 km, seemed to be only in the municipality of Perozinho. After Perozinho, there s a brief walk up through eucalyptus and other trees on part of the original Roman or medieval road. Down into Rechousa, where there s a long walk on the sidewalks along the busy main road (Rúa de Rechousa). When you begin to descend, the development and traffic thin out. At the next intersection, R following sign to Vila Nova de Gaia. Under the overpass, then up. Stay on the N-304 for what seems like many, many kilometers. Once in Vila Nova de Gaia (7 km), the arrows will want to take you DOWN to the river s edge, where the port wine lodges are. Depending on your plans upon arrival, that may be what you want to do, but if you would prefer to go straight to the Cathedral for a carimbo, you should not go down. The bridge that crosses the Douro River at this point takes you over to the city of Porto, and it has both a low crossing and a high crossing. The low crossing is next to the port lodges, taking you directly across the river to Porto s riverfront, while the high crossing takes you to the upper town, very near the Cathedral. So, if you want to take the high crossing, when you see the sign pointing you downhill to the port caves, ignore it and go across the plaza in front of you and you will be on the Avenida da República. That s the main street of Gaia, and it s where the tram runs, connecting Gaia and Porto (using the top part of the old bridge as well). 2 43 3 Information before starting out General Description of the Caminho From Lisbon to Porto on the Caminho is approximately 380 kilometers. Devoting two weeks to the stretch averages out to about 25 km a day. Some days of 30+ km are inevitable, though, unless you are willing to do creative things like taxi out and back to rural points or small hamlets in between towns. It s unlikely that you will be able to use public transportation to help you get to and from intermediate points between towns. Buses are very infrequent, and the train stops tend to mimic the suggested starting and ending points along the Caminho, that is, generally in major towns and cities. Roman road on the way into Lourosa In Lourosa (4 km) - many cafes and shops, turn R onto the N-1. As noted earlier, you may see references to the IC-2. The N-1 and the IC-2 are one and the same highway. Past a large factory, Facol, on the left side of the road. Once you are out of Lourosa, you will get off the N-1 and walk through Vergada. After a km or two, arrow takes you L. Cross the N-1, go straight down on paved road in front of you, then a quick R. In Mouzelos (3 km), you can see the ocean! After Mouzelos, on minor roads, pass under two very high elevated roads (must be super highways), which are about 1-2 km apart. Upon entering Grijó, you will hug the high walls holding lots of greenery behind them. The entrance to the Monastery (5 km) is in those walls and obvious. There s a long shaded driveway with lots of benches. The Junta da Freguesia across from the Monastery has a carimbo. Clean bathrooms. Not much to see in the monastery, but the cloister with its 13 th century tomb is likely to be open for a quick peek, and the well shaded benches are a nice rest spot. In this guide, I give kilometer distances between towns, but please note that these distances are totally approximate. They are based on my sense of distance (which is admittedly not expert) as well as on distances given in the online guide produced by the Galician Association of the Camino, which is referenced later. There is a lot of road walking on this Caminho. My estimate would be that it s at least 85% on asphalt. Most of that is either through industrial parks, on quiet rural roads, or on residential streets. Very little is on busy roads, though there are a few stretches on national highways and other major thoroughfares. The good news, however, is that the shoulder on those busy parts is usually quite wide. Extensive walking on hard surfaces puts a lot of pressure on your muscular and skeletal systems. Icing shins (or any sore part of your foot) every night is a good idea, even as prevention. Soft soled shoes add protection against abuse of the foot. This Caminho has very little elevation gain. Depending on your perspective, this is either a plus or a minus. 42 3 4 Place names in Portugal can be confusing. That s because many small hamlets both have their own name and are part of a larger municipio. The municipio is a municipal territory, but in rural areas it is likely to extend to include the major city (after which the municipio will be named) as well as a number of rural hamlets. The municipio is then further subdivided into freguesias (neighborhoods/parishes). In large cities, the freguesias will be sections of the city, while in rural areas, the freguesia will be an entire hamlet outside of the main municipality. The route from Lisbon to Porto passes through a number of very nice towns (I especially liked Vila Franca, Golegã, Tomar and Oliveira de Azemeis), some terrific Roman ruins (Rabaçal and Conímbriga) and the beautiful medieval university city of Coimbra. Though this Caminho goes through rural Portugal, it is most usually through rural developments in Portugal. There are very few sections that qualify as away from civilization, or out in nature, except perhaps for the eucalyptus forests. The Credencial Credenciales are available in Lisbon at the Igreja dos Mártires (Church of the Martyrs), which is very close to the Baixa-Chiado metro stop. Take the Chiado exit, you will go up many escalators and come out in a plaza with a couple of lively cafes. The Igreja dos Martires is on the Rúa Garrett, which is the main street leading down the hill. The office is located off the church s left aisle, about midway down towards the altar. The charge is 2 per credencial. You must have a passport or other government-issued ID to buy one. Office hours in the church are M-F, 10-5, and off and on weekends. about either the museum or the restaurant before leaving town because, other than the internet, there isn t much to do or see here. Leave São João da Madeira on Rúa Oliveira Junior, one of the roads going out of the main square. Facing the Residencial in the main square, the street you want is not the road immediately adjacent to the residencial on the left, but the next one over. At the Repsol gas station, a few blocks after the hat museum, turn left onto the Rúa da Fundição, then right onto Rúa Varzea. You will be going around a huge, now abandoned foundry. Up past the Mini-Preço grocery store, and into Arrifana (2.5 km). From Arrifana you go to Arrifães. At the stop light in the center of Arrifães, R and up to the N-1. Highway names are often confusing in Portugal, and the N-1 is also dubbed the IC-2. I had trouble finding the arrows here, but if you get lost, rather than ask for a town, the best thing to do is to ask for directions to the N-1. You will walk along this highway for many kilometers before you get to Malaposta (5 km). Once on the IC-1 (sidewalks all the way), the arrows are infrequent, but KSO on the highway. Immediately after the hotel in Malaposta (constructing an addition in summer 2009, so hard to see), it s difficult to see the arrow telling you to get off the N-1 and onto a secondary road that starts out paralleling the N-1. Once on it, you pass a cell phone tower on the right. You are on the Rúa da Estrada Romana and will have several stretches on the original Roman road, some of it in remarkable condition. Because the Caminho to Santiago is not well known in Portugal, at least south of Porto, you have to be creative in finding stamps. In Portuguese the word for stamp is carimbo from the verb carimbar (to stamp). Some possibilities: Post offices in small towns, Junta da Freguesia (small sub-municipal district offices), 4 41 (tel ). Clean room with bath 29. Café on ground floor open by 6:30 a.m. São João da Madeira is not very attractive. Their main square has a huge round modern projectile shooting up into the sky, not exactly clear what that is. The Municipal Forum is a very large modern building, carimbo available. Internet available until midnight at the Casa de Cultura (very nice old renovated blue building about a block off the main square towards the little church up the hill) and also in the basement of the library next door to the Casa de Cultura (till 7 p.m.) Hat making museum in Sao Joao da Madeira If you have time to kill, take the Caminho out of the main square for about three blocks and you will come to a totally renovated large old factory. It was a hat making factory, now a museum, and appears to have exhibits describing the old hat making process. According to an inscription on a nice statue/fountain out back (5 men making felt hats), this was a dirty, ugly job. What was visible from the sidewalk as I passed by in the morning looked interesting. There was also what looked to be a kind of upscale restaurant in one part of the museum and a nice café out back. I was very sorry I hadn t known 40 5 Câmara Municipal (main municipal building), and train stations. I also got carimbos in some unusual places museums, sailing associations, and even a pharmacy or two. If you re in a town with a tourism office, though they don t usually have carimbos, they are likely to be aware of the Caminho and can tell you where to get a carimbo for your credencial. All private accommodations have their own carimbo as well. Accommodation There is currently no albergue system until you are north of Porto, but if you are willing to sleep on the floor without a mattress, the Bombeiros Voluntarios (Volunteer Firefighters) in many towns have a room where they will let pilgrims sleep. No beds, no mattresses, but they let you shower. They ask for a donation. Private accommodations are relatively inexpensive. The equivalent of the Spanish pensión is called a residencial or pensão in Portuguese. The AGACS, the Associación Gallega de Amigos del Camino de Santiago, is the group that has done the most work on promoting and marking the route. Their website has a very helpful guide in Portuguese or Spanish: The AGACS guide lists some pilgrim accommodations between Lisbon and Porto. Lisbon: Pousada da Juventude, Rúa Andrade Corvo, 46; Pousada da Juventude, Rúa de Moscavide, 47. Bombeiros Voluntarios (voluntary firefighters) in the following towns: Alverca, Alhandra,Vila Franca de Xira, Azambuja, Santarém, Vila Nova da Barquinha, Tomar, Alvaiazere, Ansiao, Coimbra, Mealhada, Agueda, Albergaria A Velha, Oliveira de Azemis, São João da Madeira, Arrifana, Lourosa. 5 6 Planning the Stages. Because of accommodation availability or lack thereof, the obvious stages are the following: Day 1 Lisbon to Vila Franca de Xira (37 km) (to break this up into two days, see suggestions below) Day 2 Vila Franca - Azambuja (20 km) Day 3 Azambuja - Santarém (32 km) Day 4 Santarém - Golegã (30.5 km) Day 5 Golegã - Tomar (22 km) Day 6 Tomar - Alvaiazere (32 km) Day 7 Alvaiazere - Rabaçal (33 km) Day 8 Rabaçal - Coimbra (32 km) (for both rest and an opportunity to visit the Roman ruins and museum at Conimbriga, break this into two days, Rabaçal - Conimbriga (11 km) and Conimbriga - Coimbra (21 km) Day 9 Coimbra - Mealhada (26 km) Day 10 Mealhada - Agueda (31 km) Day 11 Agueda - Albergaria a Velha (19.5 km) Day 12 Albergaria a Velha - São João da Madeira (29 km) Day 13 São João da Madeira - Porto (35 km) I think there are several options for the first day out of Lisbon: 1. Walk to Parque das Nações (about 8 km), stopping along the way at the Tile Museum (it s a must see in my opinion and it s right on the Caminho in Lisbon). When you get to the Parque das Nações there are lots of things to enjoy. This large multi-use area is on the river, and it s a popular hangout for young and old. The aquarium is quite nice, and there are also several museums oriented more towards kids. But just walking along the river, sitting in a café, etc., is a very pleasant way to spend a few hours. That would give you an 8 km day, so you d have plenty of time to take in the sights. Then take the metro back into the center of Lisbon Soon after crossing the highway on the elevated stairway, there s a sign pointing towards Bemposta s centro historico. If you want to see it (a few nice old buildings, a beautiful fountain/trough, and an interesting pillory with both the templar cross and an armillary sphere on it), it s a slight ascent, but not much out of the way. It requires no backtracking. At the end of Bemposta, KSO and head back down the hill and you will reconnect with the arrows right before a crossing back over the busy N- 1 again. After crossing the N-1, continue through Besteiros. At the far end of Besteiros, there is a newly constructed intersection. Sign points R for Oliveira de Azemeis. The Caminho goes straight over highway. Continuing through several hamlets, after an ascent you go through a RR tunnel and walk L and parallel to the tracks for about 50 m. Then go straight down on a gravel road (leaving the tracks), which takes you to the bridge Sr. da Ponte (5 km) (supposedly medieval but very hard to see anything because of overgrowth). There is a fair amount of shade, so it s a good place for a rest. After going through Silvares, enter Oliveira de Azemeis (3 km). Even though the arrows disappear as you cross through town, just KSO. This takes you right through the historic center, past the main municipal building (carimbo available), past the church (take a minute to go to the bottom of the little park in front of it to see the authentic Camino de Santiago mojón sent to Oliveira by the government of Galicia). This is a very pleasant looking town, some nice looking restaurants. Accommodation includes Pensão Anacleto (tel ) and a modern (pretty ugly outside) 4-star hotel right on the Caminho, Hotel Dighton (tel ask for pilgrim discount). From Oliveira de Azemeis to São João da Madeira (9 km), the way is well marked and almost totally through development. Residencial Solar São João is right in the main square, the Praça Luis Ribeiro 6 39 7 right side), turn R and the pensão is at the next left by the fountain (Rúa Doutor Brito Guimarães, tel ). Leave Albergaria a Velha following the arrows past the Bombeiros Voluntarios and cross highway. Arrows are slightly faded, but you want to go in the direction of Nossa Sra. do Socorro (there is a road sign indicating the way to go). About 100 meters along, there s an arrow taking you off road and into a eucalyptus forest. Well marked with arrows. Exiting the forest, a religious retreat center is on your right (3.5 km). KSO. Shortly after, another turn-off takes you off road and back into the eucalyptus. Well marked. Enter Albergaria a Nova (3.5 km), you will be on Rúa Velha through town, turn right on the N-10. You will pass through a number of small hamlets. It s an almost continuous string of development. On entering Pinheiro da Bemposta (5.5 km), bar at the nice square, Largo do Cruzeiro. KSO up hill to the Largo do Cruzeirinho. Cross over the IC-2/N-1 on an elevated stairway. You then pass the Largo das Vendas, and soon have entered Bemposta. and the next day take the metro back out to start from the Vasco da Gama tower. If money is no object, there are several expensive hotels at the Parque das Nações - Tryp Oriente: Tivoli Oriente: Rooms at these hotels range from 80 and upwards. For the budget conscious, there is also a youth hostel: m with rooms ranging from 13 to 38 euros, depending on the number of beds in the room and toilet facilities. The hostel is about a ten minute walk to the central part of the Parque das Nações. 2. Walk from Lisbon to Sacavém, which is still on the river and 3 km beyond the Parque das Nações. That would be an 11 km day, and at that point you can hop on a commuter train back to downtown Lisbon. Starting out at Sacavém the next day would give you a very doable 26 km day to Vila Franca de Xira. 3. Walk 32 km from the cathedral and spend the night in Alhandra, the first place out of Lisbon (and directly on the Caminho) with a place to stay. Your options there are to stay with the Bombeiros or in a residencial that gets bad reviews from residents. Decent private accommodation on the Caminho is 3-4 km further from Alhandra, in Vila Franca de Xira, which would be a pretty hefty first day. Old Bemposta 4. Walk 29 km from Lisbon to Verdelha a Baixa (0.8 km off route) with accommodations and restaurants. Directions for this detour are given further on in this document. The commuter rail system runs from Lisbon to Azambuja. 38 7 8 There are a number of stations right on the Caminho itself Alverca, Alhandra, Vila Franca de Xira, Castanheira do Ribatejo, and Azambuja. Azambuja is about 35 minutes by tra
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