In researching the Camino Portuguese, I encountered many opinions that the stretch between Lisbon and Porto, some 380 kms or more than half the route, is little more than a slog through endless industrial areas and along highway shoulders. In fact, the vast majority of walkers don’t start the Portuguese until Porto. Nonetheless, in trying to keep a positive outlook, we headed out today in a good frame of mind. One concession that we did make was to take a bus to the outskirts of Lisbon. I must admit I struggled with this. I have prided myself in walking every step of the Camino Frances and Primitivo. But pride is not always a healthy thing and the thought of walking paved streets for many kilometers with nothing but building on every side made the decision a sensible compromise. In fact, I see this section of the Portuguese as one where public transportation will be a viable option.
Right from the start of our walk the wind blew VERY hard and at times blew us sideways a step across the trail. The wind blew from the north, making our progress very hard. At one point it blew my prized Tilley hat off and I had to chase it down the street. We ended up walking 28 kms through mostly populated country. The state of the trails suggests that the Portuguese government does not see the Camino the way the Galician government does in Spain. On the one pleasant stretch through a valley by a river, construction waste has been dumped indiscriminately.
Despite today’s hard walk in trying conditions, we look forward to the good experiences the Camino has in store for us. Tomorrow is another day.