O Porto

We arrived here in the late afternoon of 15 January by way of a curious route. We started out early enough. It was raining lightly with its consequent heavy overcast. We followed our yellow arrows faithfully for around an hour and then they disappeared. Well, we didn’t see them any more for a while. We missed one on some unknown corner. We asked a couple women for directions. “You have to go this way up to the National then turn left.”
the “National” (like a US highway: ex. US 30) is a highway with much traffic. We went that way but refused before getting there. We don’t like the traffic when there is an alternative. Deciding we could find our own way back to the arrows, we took a road to Sta. Maria do Feira, a town according to the guide, on the path.
After another hour we found ourselves at a bar (café) just outside Sta. Maria. By then we realized that the path was three kilometers (2 mi.) from Sta. Maria. The waiter spoke good English and gave us directions to get to Malaposta which was clearly on our path. I should have known from the name (“Malaposta”=”bad place”) it wasn’t going to be easy.
We lost ourselves in a coup-de-sac before 15 minutes. So we crossed a ditch and walked along the National for another kilometer or so—it does have a wide shoulder making the traffic somewhat tolerable. Finally we stopped an another bar and then a hotel to get more directions. In the hotel I realized we had walked the last kilometer southwest, the opposite direction from where we wanted to go. It is almost impossible to tell directions when the sun is not out and the roads are constantly turning. As you can guess by now we had no detailed map.
As we talked, I spotted the clock. It was 12:54. We had been walking for more than four hours and we were less than 4 kilometers along our way to our destination in Grijo, 20 kilometers from our start, still 14 km (8 mi) from Porto. We had been walking in circles.
As we came out of the hotel, Petra spotted a woman at a bus stop across the National, the opposite direction from where we were to go. She lead me over and asked her where a bus is going. “To Porto, express.” She says. The labyrinth we had been walking lead us here just in time for the next bus when the chances of making the original destination without a lot of effort were few. The rain and wind were once again heavy. We decided to celebrate my birthday and the first birthday of this pilgrimage in Porto instead of on the way walking there.
The bus came. We tied the cart in the baggage room under the seats. On the way to the autostrada we passed a sign, “O Porto 30 [kilometers – 19 mi, a long walking day.]” In an hour we were checked into the Quality Inn in Porto. We didn’t arrive walking, but in the way of our pilgrimage on this particular rainy day.

It never happened this way in all our walk across North America, but then we were not following yellow arrows there. We had to make our own route from the start.
We have been here since then resting, enjoying the city, and waiting for a break in the rain. Maybe tomorrow – or the next day. This is a great city to rest and wait in. As we arrived the music on the bus was “Let it be, let it be….” So we try to do as we continue eastward with this pilgrimage


  • 1

    Hello! I’ve been following your progress and it sure hasn’t been easy but you certainly can’t give up after coming so far! The weather should start to get better which will make your life that much easier. I’ll continue to follow you and wish you all of the best.

    Your friends from Coimbra – Democrática Rest.
    Rose and Nelson

    Comment by Rosemary — Tuesday, January 19, 2010 @ 10:37 am

  • 2

    Hello Mike and Petra,

    Happy belated Birthday and Happy Walking Anniversary. Hope you are getting better weather and better luck on your path. At least there is no snow like here in Canada.Keep your spirit up and also I will keep following you on the site on your long journey to Jerusalem.
    Take care and greetings from Thamesford Canada

    Comment by Martha Arts — Tuesday, January 19, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

  • 3

    This is in reply to Rose and Nelson: I sent the following message to the email address you supplied and it bounced saying the account was suspended for inactivity. But I want to let you know we heard from you. Here’s what I wanted to send:
    Thanks for the comment and encouragement. We’re getting used to the weather here and enjoying the country at the same time. It’s just that it’s a but more than a little soggy at times. Hope all is well with you.

    Comment by Mike — Tuesday, January 19, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  • 4

    Mike & Petra
    Hope you had a happy birthday & walking anniversary in Porto.
    Your European welcome has been a real challenge, but that is a pilgrimage, and things will only get better.
    The Paso Robles weather is similar with overcast and rain ( up to 15 in. ) for the next 7 to 10 days. Yesterday the power was out 12 hours for 10 of thousands of people from Salinas to Santa Barbara due to heavy winds, gusts up to 70 mph.
    Good luck and a wish for you to have improved weather.

    Comment by bill — Tuesday, January 19, 2010 @ 4:15 pm

  • 5

    Hi Mike and Petra,
    Reading Bill’s comment from Paso Robles was interesting. We are on our way home to Atascadero from Scottsdale, AZ and today we will never forget. We went from highway 10 to 40 on # 95 on the CA side. The rain was heavy but the washes even heavier. We got stuck between two of them for about 3 hours and not even the super big trucks dared driving through the washes. We thought it’s sitting in our car for the night. Now we are in Lake Havasu City, AZ. (not in our plan). We hope your weather has turned better. The positive spirit be with you.
    Helga and Alex.

    Comment by Alex & Helga Zanini — Friday, January 22, 2010 @ 4:43 am

  • 6

    Dear Mike and Petra,
    Long time, long time…since we last connected way back in Sept. walking between Richmond, Il. and Twin Lakes, Wis. Great to catch up with you and to see that you are safe in Portugal. Amazing, truly amazing.
    A few of the guys from our class get together for lunch once a month and your name came up. Over $1.00, 1/2 lb. hamburgers, someone asked where you were …how far in the journey. I’m happy to report back to them that you are walking right along and moving across Europe.
    The more I think about you and Petra and your walk, there is something very moving deepdown in the soul. Somewhere between a whisper and a shout , I can’t give it a name, but I know that what you two are doing reflects a special something about dreams and what man is capable of. You both are very special for doing this.
    God speed always,
    Tom and Gale Trausch

    Comment by Thomas Trausch — Saturday, January 23, 2010 @ 10:59 pm

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