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Archive for September 14th, 2017

2017.09.14 Day 8 – Viana do Castelo

The bus ride to Viana do Castelo was wonderful. Besides the fact that I wasn’t walking (LOL), the scenery was amazing. So many stunning little villages and places I would have loved to stop off for and explore…but time was hastening on.

Even though I didn’t walk the actual route today, I still did just on 11 kms between exploring Esposende and exploring Viana do Castelo. The origins of Viana do Castelo date back to before the Christian era. It received its first foral from King Afonso III of Portugal in 1258, as well as the name Viana da Foz do Lima, because of its geographical location. In 1848, by a decree of Maria II of Portugal, it received the name of Viana do Castelo and became a city.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Fountain at Praça da República, at the Praça da República (Republic Square) – This granite fountain, richly adorned with carved figures, was built by João Lopes in the 16th century.

VdC is a very big city with what looks like the most beautiful replica, albeit a lot smaller, of the Sacré Coeur in Montmarte, Paris, on the hill above the city. The Basilica of Santa Luzia, on Mt. St. Luzia is exquisite. Perched on top of a hill behind the city and reached by funicular or car. I guess you could probably walk….I didn’t 😉

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Riding the funicular to visit Santa Luze. Basilica of Santa Luzia, on Mt. St. Luzia Viana do Castelo

I hopped off the bus at the depot just behind the train station and after crossing via a pedestrianised walkway I followed an intriguing passageway and straight onto a wonderful pedestrianised area lined with fabulous architecture, restaurants and bakeries.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Viana do Castelo Train station. Casa de Carreira on Avenida Conde da Carreira

This manor house was founded by Fernão Botelho, a nobleman who settled in Viana do Castelo in the year 1519, when he was distinguished by D. Manuel I with the commendation of S. João de Cabanas, due to services rendered in the North of Africa. Following this wide avenue I made my way to the riverside and from there headed upstream back towards the bridge we had just crossed on the bus; Eiffel Bridge.

2 bridge

Eiffel Bridge (designed by Gustav Eiffel)

The HI Hotel (? a misnomer if ever there was one), was situated a short distance beyond. Gosh, I came down to earth with a bump. This venue was not at all what I had expected. In fact it is last on my list of places to stay. It was an unpleasant concrete edifice with no attractive features at all.

camino de santiago, viana do castelo

HI Hostel, Viana do castelo

But there it was, I had already paid for it and anyway it was very cheap. Although to be fair, the other places I stayed were equally as cheap, however, they were of a much BETTER quality than this place. I disliked it intensely. Cest la vie eh! All part of the experience. If I wasn’t so impatient to get out and explore I may well have just written the money off and gone on to find something else more suitable.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

HI Hostel, Viana do Castelo – not my favourite place to stay

As soon as I had been allocated my bed, I stuffed Pepe into the locker that didn’t lock and sending up a wee request to the Universe to keep an eye on the contents, I set off. Wow. I have to say this right now…. Portugal on the whole literally blew me away. It has been high on my list of places I really wanted to visit and it did not disappoint. As I was climbing towards the funicular station I passed a wee bakery and bought myself a couple of the traditional Portuguese pastries that are so famous; Pastel de Nata (Custard Tarts). Oh my word. They are delicioso.

On my way I passed this beautiful church; Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo,

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Viana do Castelo

so popped in for a look…absolutely stunning. The interiors are all so incredible.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

interior Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, Viana do Castelo

Riding in funiculars are a particular favourite of mine and if there’s one in town, I always endeavour to have a ride. For this ride I paid 3 euro return. Absolute bargain. Up, up and up we went. And oh joys, the cathedral was open.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Riding the funicular to visit Santuário de Santa Luzia, Viana do Castelo

One word.  13 letters. – Extraordinary!! Wow, even now as I look back at the photos, I’m blown away once again. The exterior is stunning, the interior is breath-taking. Santuário de Santa Luziaalso referred to as the Santa Luzia Temple-Monument or the Sacred Heart of Jesus Temple in Santa Luzia , is located on the top of Santa Luzia mountain, in the district of Viana do Castelo in Portugal.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Santuário de Santa Luzia, Viana do Castelo. Constructed in 1903, it was inspired by the Sacré Coeur de Montmartre in Paris.

Construction started in 1903/4 and the Shrine of Saint Luzia is widely considered to be inspired by the Basilica of Sacré Cœur in Paris, but this idea has been disputed, since, at the height of the project of Ventura Terra (1899), the Parisian church was still under construction with no visible configuration. However, it looks like a mini replica of the Sacré Coeur in Montmatre, and absolutely exquisite. It has to be seen to be believed. The pure white exterior is dazzling and looked astounding against the blue of the sky. Free to visit, enter via the front steps and as you step into the round interior, prepare to be astounded. Tried to think of another word, but what best describes it; magnificent!!

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Santuário de Santa Luzia, Viana do Castelo

The ceiling is absolutely exquisite. I’d be hard put to find words that would sufficiently describe how beautiful the interior and exterior of this church. I’ll let the photos do the talking. All I will say is that if you’re in Viana do Castelo, do make a plan to visit this church. It is so well worth the effort. The funicular is only 3 euro return and they stamp your pilgrim’s passport too. You can also climb to the dome for 1 euro (at the time I was there). I didn’t because after climbing a multitude of towers and domes and hills I’d had enough and said no more. Hah. What was that I said about no more hills? Still had Spain ahead of me LOLcamino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelocamino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelocamino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelocamino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Back to VdC. The panoramic views from the church were stunning and you could see for miles and miles. I was blessed with a beautiful clear day.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

view of Viana do Castelo from the Basilica of Santa Luzia

From there I made my way back down into the city to explore. I spent a few hours meandering the streets, finding fascinating buildings of all shapes and sizes. I was wishing I had another day to spend in this fascinating place.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Antigos Paços do Concelho (Town Hall), Viana do Castelo – located in the Praça da República

This intriguing fortress like building; Antigos Paços do Concelho is the old 16th century town hall. In the facade you can see the coat of arms of the city: a boat and an an armillary sphere.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

scenes of Viana do Castelo – Porta de Santiago

I visited the cathedral;  Sé Catedral de Santa Maria Maior, also called Viana do Castelo Cathedral is a Catholic church and fortress built in the 15th century. A Romanesque church with a Latin cross, the facade is flanked by two large towers topped by battlements, and highlights its beautiful Gothic portal with archivolts with sculpted scenes from the Passion of Christ and sculptures of the Apostles.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Sé Catedral de Santa Maria Maior also called Viana do Castelo Cathedral

Inside, are the chapels of St. Bernard (by Fernão Brandão) and the chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, attributed to stonemason, João Lopes the “old”.

The interior was so beautiful I could have stayed for hours, so peaceful and ethereal.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

interior of the Sé Catedral de Santa Maria Maior also called Viana do Castelo Cathedral

 

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

The Cathedral of St. Mary the Great (Portuguese: Sé Catedral de Santa Maria Maior

One of the things that amazed me was that people hung their laundry up to dry on lines in front of their homes….clearly theft of laundry is not an issue in VdC.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

streets of Viana do Castelo

There was a lot of interesting graffiti that I wish I knew more about.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Graffiti or Street Art? – Viana do Castelo

One of the streets had colourful umbrellas hanging overhead.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

colourful umbrellas

I visited the harbour where I saw a ship built the same year I was born. Hello Gil Eannes, you’re looking mighty fine for an old lady…much like me I guess LOL

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Gil Eannes, Viana do Costelo Harbour, Portugal

The view of the church on the hill from this perspective was wonderful, and the setting sun bathed the walls in a soft pink. I walked all the way to the edge of the harbour, a beautiful evening. Sadly I just couldn’t find a way to the sea for the sunset.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

sunset in Viana do Castelo, Portugal Torre de Vigia – This is the old pilot station of the port of Viana do Castelo.

Fountains, churches, memorials, a fort, a lighthouse, ancient fishermen’s houses, beautiful tiled ceramics; a heady mix of old and ancient history, the streets of Viana do Castelo were just amazing.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

sculptures and monuments

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

fishermen’s cottages

 

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, viana do castelo

Fort of Santiago da Barra, on Campo do Castelo. Consisting of an quadrangular outer wall with the Roqueta tower in the center, this fort was constructed during the reign of Dom Manuel I.

As I was walking back to the hostel I stopped off at a small local restaurant for supper. I chose the soup which was so delicious I had a 2nd bowl. Freshly made vegetable and lentils with fresh crusty bread. Yummy. And then it was time to head back for bed.

Altogether an amazing day. Tomorrow it’s the coastal walk to Caminha where I’ll spend the night before heading inland to Valenca and my last night in Portugal before heading over the border into Spain. I can’t quite believe it. I’m almost halfway thru my #Camino2017 I’ll be really sad to say goodbye to Portugal.

If you missed my earlier post; a morning in Esposende

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2017.09.14 Day 8 – a morning in Esposende and then onto Viana do Castelo

After yesterday’s marathon walk I was pretty much exhausted by the time I arrived at my hostel. I had decided to bus today instead of tomorrow and give my hip and ankle a rest. They were fairly painful and I didn’t want to do any damage. So after a quick meal, a lovely hot  shower and putting out my clothes for the morrow and repacking my bag (done at night so as to not disturb my room-mate in the morning), I settled in and soon fell into a deep sleep. The foam earplugs I carried with me were an absolute bonus. I could have slept through an invasion and not heard a thing! I loved that the bunk had a dedicated locker, so I could pack Pepe away along with all my valuables and not worry about any of it continuing along the Camino on it’s own. 😉

Come morning, I needn’t have worried about disturbing my room mate! By the time I woke up she was long gone LOL. I dressed and popped downstairs for a lovely breakfast and then checked out officially…but left Pepe at the hostel while I went walkabout. Having decided to bus to Viana do Castelo and discovering that the buses are not that frequent, I had time for a brief explore of this town of Esposende, which is apparently a city!! There you go then!! Esposende gained city status on 2 July 1993 🙂 In 1801 the population was 4,157 and in 2011 34,254.

What a delightful ‘city’. Just a short walk away from the hostel was the main square, the roads are mostly narrow and cobbled, gaily coloured awnings covering cafe tables set out for patrons, and brilliant to see artisan shops and local stores rather than streets lined with charity shops, one-pound stores and ubiquitous high-street grocers. #noTesco

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago

the streets of Esposende

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago

The main Square, the beautiful Teatro Club with a fabulous interior, a church, the fantastic cycle and pedestrian lanes, an interesting coat of arms, and the Maritime Museum

I was well impressed with the pedestrian and cycle lanes. They are light years ahead of Britain in this respect…although to be fair, these lanes were not in the city centres or older towns. Still I think our road people should have a look.

Occupation of the area of Esposende, dates back to pre-history, but nowadays there are only artefacts of stone or ceramic, with Roman occupation known through archaeological finds, including the barbarian kingdoms and Middle Ages.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago

Esposende – Coat of Arms – The arms were officially granted on April 27, 1995.

There are some fantastic churches in the town, and as with all the churches I had visited so far, the interiors were stunning. One of the churches, the Church and House of Misericórdia dates back to 1579, while the current building dates back to the 1893 renovation works. The interior is of Rennaisance aesthetics and the chancel has a beautiful baroque woodcarving, surmounted by a 17th-century altarpiece where Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia (Our Lady of Mercy) is presented. The church had a pilgrim’s stamp set up, so you could just stamp your own passport, and to my delight I found a small statue of St James perched on a decorative sconce on the wall with a Camino sign beneath 🙂 So exciting!!! The ceiling was absolutely stunning, decorated with polychrome woodcarvings representing the prophets.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, esposende

Nossa Senhora da Misericórdia (Our Lady of Mercy)…so beautiful

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago

the mouth of the river, ship in the children’s playground, fantastic sculpture; Monument to the Men of the Sea, the town square and an intriguing sculpture; bust of a firefighter

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago

scenes of Esposende – note the stunning boat sculpture in the fountain. The statue is of King Sebastian who, on 19 August 1572, by Royal Charter, turned Esposende into a village

The boat sculpture was inaugurated in 2010 as a tribute to the Atlantic fishing vessel of the fishing community of Esposende. The Catrain is a traditional open boat (although in this instance they took the concept of ‘open’ a bit far ;). The tiled wall I saw inside the Teatro Club and the view of the square is from the balcony of the same building.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago

scenes of Esposende – Capela do Sr. dos Aflitos, old buildings, a sea-side sculpture; Cavaleiro and map of the river and estuary

And then it was almost time to go. Esposende to Viana do Castelo. Sadly I would be missing out on visiting the Monastery and seeing the Ponte Sabastiao enroute. Oh well.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago, esposende

Camino de Santiago – Esposende to Viana do Castelo – the signs are there 😉

After checking out of the hostel Pepe and I took a walk along the road to visit the fort and lighthouse. Set in front of the Forte de São João Baptista de Esposende. The 15 metre tall lighthouse that dates back to 1922 is unusual in that it is made of metal. The fort dates back to the late 17th century and was built to guard the mouth of the river Cávado just behind Esposende’s beach. The fort looks very derelict, but from the washing on the line, I’m guessing someone lives there.

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago

The Farol de Esposende (Esposende Lighthouse)

While exploring I noticed some tiny blue arrows and white metal church shaped insets in the paths and streets. Seems there’s a mini-camino route in town that takes you to the many churches in the area. To much for me on that particular day….but if I ever return!!

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago

The estuary and Camino dos Mareantes, Esposende…intriguing

On the bus to Viana do Castelo, my next overnight, looking out the window as the countryside and villages whizzed by nearly killed me…. seeing all the photo ops I’m missing 🤧🤧 But better to rest than not be able to walk at all by tomorrow. It’s 24kms from Esposende to Viana do Castelo. I’ll walk again tomorrow. Once I leave Tui on the weekend there will be no rest days.

I was blessed with another fantastic day of blue skies and sunshine……

Buen Camino 🙂 I’m loving my #Camino2017

camino de santiago, portuguese coastal route porto to santiago

Bom Caminho

and whilst the road to Esposende was not paved with gold, the gold from Brazil reached Esposende during the age of the great Atlantic voyages 🙂

If you’d like to read more about my Camino adventures
Day 5 – Porto to Vila do Conde

Day 6 – Vila do Conde – rest day

Day 7 – Vila do Conde to Esposende

Don’t miss Day 8 part 2 – an afternoon in Viana do Castelo

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