26km. A really horrible day’s walking, probably our worst of either Camino. The first half was spent walking through Porto’s northern suburbs on cobblestone paths and roads.It’s very well-marked, but on the N13, a busy major road. At the 10km mark at Araujot, the camino route used to leave and go on a smaller road, but pilgrims used to have to cross dual carriageway with a central barrier dividing the road! Yikes! The new alternate route goes along the busier N13, and requires no death-defying road-crossing feats. Those come later in the day for everyone regardless of which route they take at Araujo.
We did a total of 20kms on cobblestones, then the remainding 6km on sealed roads, through the villages of Mosteiro, Vilar, Giao and finally to our destination, Vilarinho. We had been somewhat unexcited about staying at Vilarinho as our guidebook listed a pilgrim alburgue as the only accommodation. The thought of sharing a room with up to 15 other people, at least one of whom snores, sleeping in bunk beds and being woken by the endless rattle of plastic bags at 5am just isn’t our idea of what a camino is all about, so we were delighted to meet a gentleman at Mosteiro who told us about his ‘hostel’ in Vilarinho. It’s actually a self-contained unit at the back of his house with space for up to 4 people. There is a double bedroom, kitchen-loungeroom with another double bed and a shared bathroom. 10 euros per person including breakfast, and there are also washing and drying facilities.
So we were pretty happy about finding some nice accommodation, and after the horrors of the last 4km of the day, we needed it! We had to walk on a road that was barely 2 lanes wide, with absolutely no margin at all. Stone walls on either side, fairly busy road that we had to keep on crossing to avoid meeting oncoming traffic on blind corners. I’m amazed that the camino route hasn’t been changed to quieter, safer roads – if today had been my first day of walking a camino, it might also have been my last – really scary walking conditions.