Portuguese Coastal shells.

Day 2 of our Portuguese Coastal Route pilgrimage took us from the coastal towns of Labruge to Aguçadoura. The weather stayed within the comfortable range of 50 to 60 degree temperatures.

Anyone who has been on a classic pilgrimage before is bound to make comparisons. Having walked 500 miles of the Via Francigena with my family, I was a hardcore devotee of walking sticks. I doubt I would have been able to get over the Swiss Alps and through Italian woodlands without them.

However, on the Portuguese Coastal Route, hiking poles aren’t a necessity. The walking surface, at least in the early stages, consists primarily of stone, asphalt, wooden planks, or sand. Hiking poles don’t really mesh well with any of those tools.

Perhaps it’s because I pared my base weight for the Portuguese Coastal variant to 14 pounds (I carried 17 on the Via Francigena), but I’ve managed just fine so far without the poles.

One Man’s Trash is Another’s Treasure

Given the utter beauty of the area, one of the things that deeply saddened me was the enormous amount of debris that accumulated near the coastline. Many places along the breach were pristine. However, many other places en route to Aguçadoura were littered with plastic waste and garbage.

As it turns out, the same powerful wind and waves that made coastal Portugal so exciting, also deliver copious amounts of trash from neighboring regions. In the small seaside town of Mindello, a sign by an enormous bust of King Pedro IV dryly notes that the bust was created from trash on the beach, deposited by the same waves that brought liberalism to Portugal.

Other seaside towns likewise made the decision to transform their garbage into art. Passersby are encouraged to take photos with it.

Favorite Memory of the Day

Hands-down, my favorite place to visit was a seaside chapel near Vila de Conde. Inside the Chapel of Our Lady of Guidance (Capela de Nossa Senhora da Guia), local women carefully dressed the figures of Virgin Mary in snow-white fabrics.

The artwork in the chapel dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Seeing the chapel so close to the ocean was a poignant reminder of the dangers fishermen and mariners faced every time they went to sea. I can only imagine how many candles had been lighted over the course of centuries from concerned loved ones praying for their safe return.

There’s an excellent reason that church has no windows on the ocean-facing side: the nearby rocks were getting pummeled by strong ocean waves, and ocean mist coated the outside.

Portuguese Coastal Route Lodging

We had the good fortune of scoring two dormitory beds in a hostel that evening. The Albergue de Aguçadoura was conveniently located directly across the street from the beach.

I was sorely tempted to leave the window open to listed to the mesmerizing sound of waves crashing.

For a bargain €15 a person, we got access to clean bathrooms, piping hot showers, and a bunk bed with freshly laundered bed linens. And although the albergue was built to accommodate 24, we had arrived so early in the season that my aunt and I were the only two there.

Many town restaurants are closed until the regular pilgrim tourist season, which properly begins in early March. In order to get a meal at one of the few open rest stops, we had to walk a half mile. A steak and potatoes entree ran €14, with a carafe of Portuguese red wine running less than €5.

Wherever your journey takes you, Buen Camino!

By Katie Cerezo

Thank you so much for visiting. 😊 I have always loved traveling, and my legs are my primary means of transportation. It's a beautiful world, and I'm eager to explore it…one step at a time.

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