Lavra to Sao Pedro de Rates

By 8am we left Lavra and rejoined the board walk along the coast. Blue skies and the sea breeze was still there, making it again pleasant walking.

The Camino was quiet this morning, it wasn’t until we stopped for breakfast, 4km in before we saw any pilgrims.

Red Shirt Today

We had left the industrial outskirts now of Porto swapping them for seaside villages. We made great progress and by 11am we covered 14km to arrive in Vila do Conde. Noticeable by its star shaped sea fort guarding the estuary.

We called in a bar opposite to have lunch and a beer. James was in a quandary as to stick with the coastal route or follow me inland to the central route.

In the end he decided to stick to the coast. It reminded me of my decision to have a rest day in Sarria on my Camino Frances. It was difficult to part ways with your walking buddies.

At 1pm we donned our packs and continued on our own Caminos. I had to back track a kilometre to join the bridging route that connects the two.

The markings were difficult to spot as they had severely faded by the Sun and clearly it had been a while since they last saw a paintbrush. I was constantly scanning the usual places; lampposts, curbs, trees, walls, backs of road signs and barriers, for the paled yellow arrows.

My vigilance paid off as I made it safely to the central route, joining it at Arcos. It was very hot going and all by the road. There were some hairy bits, like crossing a single track bridge, that was quite busy with traffic.

For about 2km of it, the road was being resurfaced and the freshly laid tarmac was radiating the heat up at me, thus it was hot from above and below.

I made it into Arcos at 4pm where I was planning on staying, however I found there only to be hotels here. The next stop was Sao Pedro, where there was only one albergue, a donativo as well!

Thirty minutes later I arrived. Turns out this is the oldest albergue on the Camino Portugués, according to the host. A little bit of Camino magic, had I stopped at Arcos, I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of stopping here.

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