Vila do Conde to Barcelos

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Due to a long walk today we decided to take a taxi to Rates and to walk from Rates to Barcelos otherwise the day just becomes a long hard haul on the feet kinda day as most of the way is once again on asphalt roads.  Koren was also battling with her left foot and she needed to get a brace of some sorts before tackling the walk to Barcelos.  We planned to leave Vila do Conde around 08h30, to arrive in Rates +- 09h00 in time for shops / pharmacies to be open.  Rates was tinier than we thought and shops / pharmacies were limited.  Sharon and Koren embarked on finding a pharmacy while Alan and I had started with our caffeine in take for the day.

After copious amounts of cafe con leche’s we hit the camino and within 2 kilometers we found ourselves walking along quiet country lanes, screened by eucalyptus and pine woods offering shade from the sun.  At Pedra Furada we found the most interesting coffee shop, a true pilgrim coffee shop with the odd supplies on offer for just in case you have run out.  A memorable wall was on show and I was surprised to see so many South African paraphilia.  We met a few pilgrims here, all them started their camino in Porto.  A group of 5 Belgium’s, all young varsity students walking together.  A young girl from the UK, all of 18 years old walking the camino on her own, she walked the Francis Way in 2013 (800km across northern Spain).  Amazes me that so many young people embark on this journey.  A couple from New Zealand as well, their first camino and loving it this far.  Two very loud americans made their entrance as we were leaving.  Love meeting all these interesting people from all over the world.

Watch out for the turn off to the Castelo de Faria, via Ruinas.  Literally as you walk out of Pedra Furada. It is not way marked with the typical camino yellow arrow, just signed as a historical site.  This route winds it way up the mountain and once at the top, the views are mind-blowing.  The route is easy to follow and adds on about 3 km’s, the view at the top makes it worthwhile and the route is way better than walking on the busy highway.  Along the strenuous uphill climb are some interesting historic sites.  Once at the top you can visit the 18th century Capela de sta da Franqueira.  Adjoining the chapel is a small cafe and in front is the panoramic viewing balcony with views of the Atlantic Ocean.  On the way down you can view a timeworn fortress, watch out carefully for the slight detour of a 100 meters (we missed it).  Continue down the asphalt road and just past the medieval tower and you will find the Fountains of Life (Fonte da Vida), renowned for its healing waters.  All of the above makes this route far more worth while than the busy N306.  Once we reached the top it felt like I had just climbed the stairway to heaven, STUNNING VIEWS!!!

We entered Barcelos crossing an old roman bridge with the walls of the huge Holy Cross Chapel Capela Santa Cruz on the right.  Barcelos is an attractive and lively town, loved it here.  A great walk and so glad I opted for the longer route today.

On we shall walk………


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