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The end of the beginning

[Friday 7th; Portugal Day 7, Porto Day 3]


An unusual day today. I am conflicted with challenges and doubts and excitement. Not the challenges and doubts that one might expect at the beginning of a big walk, but rather those of a practical nature. Because Janet and I have spent a “holiday” week in Portugal before the walk, and because we are spending 10 days or so in the UK afterwards, we’ve needed to bring a wider range of clothing and support stuff than might otherwise be the case. We need walking poles and proper backpacks for the Camino, and woollies and beanies for Scotland, and just about everything in between. That’s resulted in us having three “suitcases” of stuff. And now, at the beginning of the walk, I need to organise what bits are being shipped on to Santiago to meet us there, what bits are being transported day-to-day, and what bits we are carrying. So much of the morning was spent packing, unpacking, re-packing … you get the picture. I can say now that in truth it really doesn’t matter if I get it all “right” – if I’ve made a few mistakes then we’ll work those out, but at the time it all seemed rather challenging. Anyway, its pretty well done now …


But first I must correct an omission from yesterday’s post. I have assumed the role of team navigator (perhaps a bit like Henry) 😊). I was navigating through the twists and turns and ups and downs and winds off too the team restaurant. Picture this: 8-oclock-ish; heading down one of the endless windy, twisty, turny alleyways of old Porto; watching the map on my phone to work out where to head next; all manner of lights at play – dark, light, shadow. I look down to the phone, and step out to the next step – it isn’t there. Time stands still, for half a second, as I start to fall forward. No getting out of this one. Nothing to hang on to. The road hard cobblestones rapidly approach. Crash down I go. Phone flies out of the left hand, which then becomes the brace point as I attempt an injury saving twist. Right elbow and knee simultaneously grate into the cobblestones. A nano-second later back of head goes crash onto the stones. Ouch. I can imagine – somewhaprect later – that it must have been a spectacular fall.


I can also happily report - as I write two days later – that the bonehead was not permanently harmed, the elbow and knee are happily patched with fixumol and will recover over coming days, the blood on the trousers will be a temporary badge of honour, and there is now no reason for this to be more than an amusing anecdote.


Which now brings me to today. It’s late and we have a very big walk tomorrow, so I can’t waffle on for long. In part because of the luggage/packing thing I’ve not been very good company today. I am very much looking forward to starting the walk tomorrow, but I’m not experiencing the level of excitement that I did previously, or indeed that I expected. I’ve identified the path off from the Cathedral, and I’m looking forward to those first few steps, but not with consuming excitement.




Putting that reflection aside for a moment, I wandered a bit today, and then Janet, Nat and Helen and I made the long hike to W & J Graham’s magnificent lodge, tasting room and winebar overlooking the city of Porto. A few shots from the day follow ...


View of Porto from the monastery on the other side of the bridge ...


Enjoying the scenery from and ambiance of Graham ...



A couple of shots of the interior of Mundo, clearly the best restaurant we have eaten in in Portugal.



Tomorrow we walk … almost 34 kilometres!!

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Peter Campbell is a traveller, photographer, author.  He lives in the south-west corner of Western Australia with his wife Janet and golden retriever Peggy alongside the Indian and Great Southern oceans, in a peaceful rural setting surrounded by tall trees and in the company of kangaroos and kookaburras.  He can be contacted at this email address.

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