Walking the Camino: Steeping it out in Oporto…

We arrived in World Heritage listed city of Oporto three days ago, by train from Lisbon. Our first sighting of this enchanting city was of colourful stone houses, churches and monasteries cascading down steep hillsides beside the river Duoro. Sao Bento station itself is quite incredible, with an imposing stone facade and the entrance hall filled with blue and white tile azulejos depicting scenes from Portuguese history. After checking into our apartment in the historic centre, Ruth, Deborah, Sue and I had a leisurely, late lunch in a nearby streetside cafe overlooking the impressively grand Placa Liberdad, which later that night was turned into a massive and noisy fiesta for soccer fans… It seems that Oporto had recently won some European competition.

20120604-214108.jpg20120604-213451.jpgLater in the afternoon we met Catherine, who had arrived in Oporto two days before. Her prior experience of visiting local attractions was most helpful. We headed back down to the Ribiera district in the evening for dinner and to sample some of the Mateus Rose and Port wine for which this city is renouned. Especially good were our photos of silhouettes of boats and the lights on the shimmering water, as the sun set. An early morning trip on a river boat to see the seven bridges which span the water way that divides Porto, provided another great opportunity to capture some more scenic shots.

Stopping for water along the Camino Portugues

Stopping for water along the Camino Portugues

But perhaps the most dramatic occurrence associated with our three days in Oporto, was when Ruth tripped on an uneven pavement (not even in a steep cobbled steet) and had to be taken to hospital. She was attended by three very charming male doctors who liked her Australian accent, confirmed that she had indeed broken a bone in her foot, and advised that she would not be walking to Santiago. They recommended that she drink a glass of port wine to relieve any ill effects associated with this news or the broken bone. We alll agreed that we would modify our plans to take account of this unexpected event and to ensure that Ruth would see as much as possible of the Camino, without actually walking on it. Just as well we had hired a car!

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