Today I was focused as Porto and the beach were so close and all I wanted was swim in the sea and drink beer. Therefore I put my foot down to get there as soon as possible. Stu and Helen prior to the trip had told me about a campsite next to the beach in Villa du Conde that was to be my final destination of the day. However I don’t think I found the right one, unless a crowded rundown holiday camp was the correct place.
The route to Porto was uneventful and passed in a blur, and I can’t really remember much of the trail other than it became more urbanised with busier road sections, large industrial estates and road kill. A cat and frog were the victims spotted today.
At a little café on the way, of which thankfully there are many, the barman gave me a wristband for good luck on my pilgrimage as well as a nice cold can of coke. Portugal was once again proving it’s a pretty nice place to be. I still have that wristband on my saddle bag.
As I’d pushed myself to get to Porto, I arrived late morning, crossed over the bridge and wound my way down through the steep streets to a road that ran along the river to the open ocean. Along this road and the various side streets along the ocean road where numerous restaurants selling fresh fish (mainly sardines) cooked on open grills right on the street. The sight, sound and smell was amazing. However it was too early meaning I pushed on thinking I’d find places like this all along the coast. Wrong! If you do this route make sure you stop when you see them, once I had past the ‘Fishy’ part of the city, it became more upmarket with chain restaurants and bars. This meant by the time I was hungry, all I could find was a soulless place however it was right on the beach so bearable.
Now if you haven’t been to places like this then you may be duped into the ‘I’ll just put this food on your table for you”. Some parts of Spain and Portugal do offer free tapas however most places in Portugal don’t. This food is not free and pretty gross (olives ,yuk, and potato croquets filled with ham, double yuk) but you only find out when the bill comes. Thankfully I knew of this trick and could refuse.
After lunch it was onto find the campsite, the beach front has miles of boardwalks that sadly you are not allowed to ride on. Therefore you are stuck on the coast road with the buses and traffic (if you can call 1 car every 5 minutes traffic). However there are lots of coves and little sheltered beaches to dip your feet in and have a rest.
As I mentioned before the campsite was a little rundown however a welcome place to set up camp and have a swim on the beach. The sea was cold, rough and full of surfers. Basically a beautiful spot where I could have been happy for a while as I like all of those things.
The tent part of the campsite was a tiny bit of grass inhabited by ants and surrounded by lights that stayed on all night. My scarf became a fence tent to shield the lights and my face from the hundreds of other people using the campsite. Note to myself to find more remote places from now on and I suggest you should do the same.