Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Day 16: The Seashore Path

Oct 2: Today would be an easy, completely flat 12-km (7.5 miles) day of walking. I had to break Amanda in easy. =) So we were in no rush waking up in the morning, then went out for a late breakfast/early lunch along the waterfront before hitting the trail seriously at around 11:30.

Today, for the first time, I'd be leaving the Central route and following what was called the Seashore Path--not to be confused with the Coastal Path. The Seashore Path would merge up with the Coastal Path, but it followed alongside the Douro River while the Coastal Path followed busy, crowded roads directly through the city before hitting the coastline to the northwest. The Coastal Path was shorter but seemed less scenic, so we opted for the Seashore Path.

The first half of the day's hike, like I said before, followed the Douro River downstream to its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean, then veered northward following the Atlantic coastline. It was a scenic but non-eventful walk with waterside views the entire distance. Along the river, we could often times see fish swimming around. Along the ocean, we watched waves crash against the rocks and beaches. The absolute best part of the walk was that it didn't cross any roads. When you walk alongside a river, the only roads that might cross your path would have to go across the river--which requires a big, high bridge that soars well above the walking path. Along the ocean.... well, there are no roads or bridges that go into the ocean. There were a couple of small roads we had to cross when the trail skirted around a dock or other installation on the shore, but for the most part, we didn't have to worry about vehicular traffic which is always nice. And the views were great the entire way.

Early in the morning, Porto was socked in with fog which we feared would ruin some of the views, but as the day grew old, the fog burned off. We could often see fog in the distance in the direction of the ocean, but it would burn off by the time we got there. It seemed like we had a magical ability to make fog vanish simply by walking in its direction.

Although cars were never a problem, the beautiful Sunday afternoon brought out walkers and bicyclists by the hoards. Tons of them crowded the sidewalks--especially as we reached the beaches along the Atlantic. I wondered if the path would be noticeably less crowded had we passed through on a weekday.

Near the halfway point, where the trail turned off from the Douro River and followed the Atlantic, there was a lighthouse and Amanda took a short rest and bought some roasted chestnuts a guy was selling.

We reached our destination for the day in Matosinhos by around 3:00 in the afternoon and checked into a hotel. We dropped off some of our gear then immediately headed out again where we ate lunch at Munchies (hamburgers!) and walked around town a bit.

Back at the hotel, Amanda wanted to watch the newest edition of the Big Bang Theory, so I installed a VPN client on my computer which allowed me to pretend my IP address was in the United States and so we could watch TV shows from CBS's website. (There's no reason for me to promote the fact, but AQ's servers includes a VPN--which is usually only used by Amanda to watch US shows over the Internet when she has a layover in Europe. We don't really use it often, but it comes with the server so it's not like it cost anything extra for us. May as well use it! But I did have to install the VPN client on my new laptop to use it.)

Near sunset, I headed back out on the streets again to take photos, but that was it. We were done for the day! Amanda completed her first day on the trail in a good mood and with high spirits! =)

The trail follows alongside the Douro River about 6 km to the Atlantic Ocean.

Arrábida Bridge ahead, one of the handful of bridges to cross the Douro River. That's Amanda hiking ahead of me. She's hard to keep up with when she gets going! =)
About to pass under the Arrábida Bridge

The Arrábida Bridge is now behind us in the distance. (That's Amanda again on the left!)

Fish! There are fish in the river! Lots and lots of fish! Not very big, though....

Lots of walkers and bikers on the trail! Mostly locals, though, not pilgrims. (Although we would see a few pilgrims throughout the day.)
Crab traps!

Amanda was so excited about the roasted chestnuts, she couldn't stop smiling! =) Actually, I suspect she's thinking, hurry up and take the stupid photo--the sun is in my eyes!
The lighthouse marked the end of the Douro River and the start of the Atlantic Ocean portion of the walk.
Just look at the giant waves crashing against the rocks! Splash!
Foz do Douro was a fort at the mouth of the Douro River--presumably to protect Porto from attacks by sea.

Fort of São Francisco do Queijo is frequently shortened to "Castle of the Cheese." (Queijo, apparently, is the Portuguese word for cheese.)
I don't know Portuguese, but this building is called the "Edifício Transparente" which—I'm going to go out on a limb here—translates into "Transparent Building."
She Changes, known locally as anémona (the anemone)

Amanda enjoys a local beer while waiting for our hamburgers.
Holy giant lobsters! That thing is HUGE!

Halloween is later this month, but who knew that the Portuguese celebrated it?! They're also already prepared to build snowmen later in the year when it snows. *nodding* =)
The sculpture "Tragedy at Sea" (2005) remembers the greatest nautical tragedy ever recorded on Portuguese water: the tempest of 1-2 December 1947, in which several fishing boats sank causing the death of 152 crew members and pain and despair in the whole community. 72 widows and 152 orphans came out of this tragedy.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Hey, that's totally cool - we have Her Secret is Patience here in Phoenix!
Gad XX