Day 20: Barcelos: I Drink Port With Canadians

Day 20
Date: Sunday, Sep 25, 2016
Start: Vilharino
Stop: Bagoeira Hotel, Barcelos     👍  
Dist (Day/Total): 27/441 km
High Temp: 23 C/73 F

A single thumbs up or down is simply an indication of whether I would stay there again or not.  It is not a recommendation.  A double thumbs up or down indicates that the place was great and I highly recommend it or absolutely awful and stay away.

Not sure why I’m keeping track of the temperature.  It was 28 yesterday and 27 today.  Yesterday was felt unbearably hot; today is pleasant.  May have something to do with how much asphalt and surrounds.  Oh, and how bad my flu, or whatever it is that I have, is that day.

Yesterday, I saw 3 pilgrims.  Today, it was 21.  Surprising because I had thought that Porto was the start of Caminho Portuguese for most people.  Was it because of the late start yesterday (7:30 am) but today I started at 7:15 am.  BTW, it’s still dark at 7:15 am.  But back to 3 vs. 21.  Turns out that because the first day out of Porto is thru an industrialized zone and mostly on asphalt that many people skip that portion and taxi it out to Porto.  Mystery solved.  However, that doesn’t mean there is no road walking.  I got hit by car, again.  Well my trekking poles did, which I was, thankfully holding in my right hand.  It was a congested area, so, the driver wasn’t going too fast.  But never stopped.

They must have moved sections of the camino I’m walking today.  The arrows don’t match the waypoints I had downloaded to Google Maps.  It also feels longer than the 27 km stated in my online guide.  at 27 km, my pace was 3.85 km/hr, much lower than the 4.25 I had been doing.  My step counting app says I did 40 km but that can’t be right either.  So, officially, we’re sticking with 27.  Stinking rats.

Barcelos Rooster

Barcelos is a tourist town of about 120,000 people on the Cavado River.  It’s famous for having the rooster as it’s symbol and you see rooster drawings, sculptures everywhere.  The wikipedia link, above, has the background story on the rooster.  I heard a slightly different and bawdier version.

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I checked into my hotel; had made reservations beforehand.  Showered and was out and about.  The hotel is in the historical town center and there was a fair/festival going on.  There were tables setup with people selling stuff.  Music playing and people and people dancing.  I found a cafe and had a couple of beers and laugh tup on my writing.  Afterwards walked around some more.  Barcelos is a very pleasant little town.  It sits above the river and there is a spot where you can sit and look down on the river and the little stone bridge leading into town.

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I was feeling better than I had in weeks and was in the mood for a good dinner.  I asked the front desk guy for a recommendation and, surprise, surprise, he recommended the hotel restaurant.  I am a little wary of hotel restaurants but checked it out online and sounded pretty good.  Headed down there just after 7 pm and, as always, I was the first one there.  They weren’t really open but went ahead and seated me.  They had an extensive menu.  The service and food was excellent.

Shortly after about a dozen women showed up and were seated at separate tables around me.  It became apparent that they were pilgrims and we started talking.  I thought they were Americans but were Canadian.  They are from whatever part of Canada that is above Michigan.   They said that people routinely mistook them for being Americans.  By people, I think they meant Americans.  We had a very nice conversation.  They asked about Trump.

At the end of the meal, the table closest to me ordered glasses of port.  It was in these huge glasses.  One of them asked if I had tried it in Porto and I said that I hadn’t.  She was shocked and asked if I wanted to try it.  I hesitated and that’s all it took.  She got another glass, poured about half of her’s into it and handed it to me.  A couple of the ladies at the other tables looked alarmed.  It was very good.



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