Wednesday, May 24, 2017


It turns out that I did reserve a rental car and we picked it up at the train station in Santiago.  I had reserved the car on my now cancelled credit card which created some problems for Avis.  Seems that you must show them the card that you used to reserved.  I showed it to them but since it had been canceled it did no good.  We show them Cathie's card which they finally excepted, but being Cathie's card, she had to be the driver.  Well that wasn't happening, so for and extra fee of 10€ a day they will add (me) another driver.  Luckily I had read the fine print.  They want to charge us for the whole rental period of 29 days or 290€, but the fine print said 10€ a day not to exceed 70€.  Anyway we escaped with out too much hassle.

Our first stop heading south was to drive west to Muxia on the coast of Spain.  This is one place that pilgrims walk to after reaching Santiago.  Very picturesque with a chapel on the rocks overlooking the ocean.  Then we actually did go in the right direction to the coastal fishing town of A Guarda.  Still in Spain, but you can see Portugal from there.  We stayed in an old monastery that had been converted to a hotel.  Very nice, and I don't think the monks had our room with a jacuzzi tub.  We stayed three nights, enjoying walks along the coast, picking up the Portuguese Camino right outside our hotel door.











We moved on to Portugal to what turned out to be a wonderful B&B near Porto.  We really lucked out when I made this choice.  Our room is small but comfortable, but we would sleep in the barn (if there was one) because our hosts are so fantastic.  We were greeted by José, who gave us a tour of the property.  This is a huge two story house with a center courtyard, game room, three guest rooms and a huge lounge and dining room.  There is also a pool and pool house with bar and a billiard table.  Lots of open space all enclosed by a wall, which is common in this area.  José and his wife Luisa along with their son Gonçalo make you feel like your are part of the family.  After settling in, refreshments consisting of a Portuguese Spumante and the famous Pastal de nata, a you can't stop eating, egg custard in a pastry shell delight were served.  Then José's mother a father arrived.  Both in their 80's, José's father is retired, but his mother still teaches English at the University.  This is the reason we choose B&B's, which for the most part are family run affairs.  Their personal touch makes the stay all the more enjoyable.





Luisa gave me a little history of the home which was originally built about 150 years ago.  The home was a collection point for milk supplied by dairy's in the area.  The downstairs is were the animals were kept while the family lived upstairs.  Over the years the home became a ruin until, 1980, when a new owner began restorations. He completely dismantled the building, numbering each block as he went and rebuilt the entire home.  Jose's family bought the home and it is now their family home and B&B. With the exception of the family quarters upstairs, we have the run of the place

Each morning at breakfast, Luisa helps us map out our day with suggestions of things to see and do.  The other morning we headed into Espinho to check out the street market held once a week.  This place was huge, running for at least 10 blocks where merchants sell everything from fish to pots and pans.  We never saw so many shoes for sale.  We restrained ourselves and only purchased some cherries.  Luisa gave me specific driving instructions for our day in Porto.  Of course I got lost right away, but eventually everything worked out.



Porto is of course famous for it's Port wine, which to be called Port must be made from grapes grown in the Douro Valley.  We didn't do the wine tasting thing but spent our time in the city exploring it's churches and landmarks.  It was hot, around 90 degrees, but by staying on the shady side of the street it was manageable.  The city is in many places in a state of disrepair, but as evidenced construction cranes that is changing.  Blue tile is everywhere on the outside and inside of many of the historic buildings and churches.  The train station is one such place with the tile covering the station walls.  While Cathie stayed below, I climbed the 240 steps to the top of the Clérigos Church bell tower for the view overlooking the city.  Built in 1763 and at 250 feet it can be seen from all over the city.

After walking for who knows how far, up hills, down hills and around and around, we found a sidewalk cafe on the shady side of the street.  We spent a leisurely hour or so having a late lunch and watching the people go by.  There are lots of tourist walking the historic part of the city with double decker tour buses squeezing around tight corners on the narrow streets.  The place was pretty crowded.  We continued on, making our way back down to the river, following yellow arrows on the Portuguese Camino.  We ended with an ice cream before heading back to the B&B.  Of course I got lost on the return, taking several wrong turns.




1 comment:

Dibb Family said...

Wow, what a beautiful B&B. You have a knack for finding those places.