From Porto to Arcos
On our first day we decided to take a soft option and catch a train for the first ten kilometres or so of the Camino so that we could avoid walking along the main highways. Not exactly the kind of thing real pilgrims do!We have also decided to walk the classic central route of the Portuguese Camino (about 250 kilometres) instead of the increasingly popular coastal route.
Today we were lucky with the weather, a fresh morning, clear blue sky and no wind whatsoever. Surprisingly we didn’t get lost once and found the way marking of yellow arrows to be excellent. About eighty percent of the route was flat so today’s 20 kilometres has been a gentle introduction to the Camino for us both.
Sometimes walking along the roads became tiresome and potentially dangerous but overall today’s walk was scenically pretty because of spring colours and some wonderful historical buildings.
The old Variao Monastery built in the eleventh century was a highlight just before Vilarinho. It was an unexpected treasure as we walked around a bend. It has been restored and now operates as an albergue for pilgrims.
A few kilometres after Vilarinho we walked across Ponte Zameiro a fabulous old medieval bridge built in the thirteenth century.
Arriving in Arcos in early afternoon with the sun becoming intense we were delighted to find our Villa d’Arcos hotel on the main route. Wonderful to have a shower, enjoy lunch in the garden by the pool and put our feet up.
Dinner was a 4 course beautifully presented meal which we shared with other pilgrim guests from Germany and Switzerland. Our host Katarina was especially hospitable.