Day Thirteen on the Camino Portugués
~ Albergaria-a-Nova to São João de Madeira, 24.38 Km (15.15 Miles)

Our day thirteen on the Camino Portugués was full of interesting railroad crossings, a walk on a medieval bridge and through the historic town of Bemposta.  

While this day thirteen was shorter than we had grown accustomed to, one could actually extend the day another 3.5 kilometers to Escapães and stay at the Casa da Álvore, an albergue we passed on this day (scroll down to see more info). We did not know about this albergue. It was not in any of our guides. Had we known, we would have most likely stayed here. 

We would have loved to shorten our day fourteen, which turned into a 32.67 kilometer day! We did actually shorten it by a couple of kilometers by staying at the Holiday Inn in Vila Nova de Gaia, a southern suburb of Porto. We had points saved up that we wanted to use for our two nights there. If we had walked on to the cathedral Sé on day fourteen it would have been a total of 34.5 kilometers. 

We found the actual walk on day fourteen to be farther than most guides say, according to our GPS, so some planning ahead on day twelve and thirteen might save you some headaches on your final leg into Porto. 

Alternatively, if you don't like albergues, and have the energy to lengthen your day thirteen, you can walk and additional 7 kilometers from São João de Madeira to Malaposta.  There is the Hotel Feira Pedra Bela, right along the Way.

Or, your third choice to shorten day fourteen, is to make it two stages with a stop in Grijo at 19 kilometers from Sâo Joâo de Madeira. There is an albergue in Grijo, if that is important to you. (Scroll down to see a photo of it).


Reflection

Wanderer, your footsteps are the road, and nothing more;
Wanderer, there is no road, the way is made by walking.
By walking one makes the road, and upon glancing behind
one sees the path that never will be trod again.
Wanderer, there is no road - Only wakes upon the sea.

Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más;
Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar.

~ Antonio Machado, "Proverbios y cantares XXIX" in Campos de Castilla

Map and Stats of Day Thirteen on the Camino Portugués

Here is my Google map from my GPS files. For a full list of accommodation, in addition to the ones I show on the map where we visited, click here. Zoom, pinch move around the map - it is interactive!

You will notice some extra points if you zoom in ~ A and B on this map of day thirteen on the Portuguese Way. It is because we failed to see a yellow arrow for a turn and went the wrong way briefly. I drew in the actual Camino from Point A to B, and kept our walked tracks intact. 

Interactive Google Map of Day Thirteen on the Camino Portugués

Somehow I managed to turn off my GPS when we lost the Camino with all my frantic button pushing on my phone, so that is why there are two elevation maps for the whole day.

There is some climbing on day thirteen, but nothing that is difficult or prolonged. 

Elevation Profile for Day Thirteen, Camino Portugués, Albergaria-a-Nova to Oliveria de AzeméisElevation Profile for Day Thirteen, Camino Portugués, Albergaria-a-Nova to Oliveria de Azeméis
Elevation Profile for Day Thirteen, Camino Portugués, Oliveria de Azeméis to São João de MadeiraElevation Profile for Day Thirteen, Camino Portugués, Oliveria de Azeméis to São João de Madeira

Photo-Rich Travelogue of Day Thirteen on the Camino Portugués

We started off our day with full bellies, as the Albergue Albergaria-a-Nova included a hearty continental breakfast in their rate. It was lovely to start out this way and the day was fresh and clear as we set off north on the N1

Leaving the Albergue on the N1 in Albergaria-a-Nova on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésLeaving the Albergue on the N1

Walking on the busy road was OK with the nice cobblestone sidewalk for pedestrians. 

The way diverts to a side road to the right, off the N1, within a few hundred meters. If you need food passing through here, stay on the N1 for a bakery as the Camino rejoins the N1 a short distance ahead

Right Turn on a Side Road For Less than One Half Kilometer on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésRight Turn on a Side Road For Less than One Half Kilometer

The Camino rejoins the N1 and walks north to the main intersection with the N1-12 at the center of Albergaria-a-Nova, below, with a mini market in this gold building and to the right the Tomas Café. More opportunities for you for obtaining food!

Mini-Market at N1-12 Intersection in Albergaria-a-Nova on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésMini-Market at N1-12 Intersection
Leaving Albergaria-a-Nova on the N1 on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésLeaving Albergaria-a-Nova on the N1

Several hundred meters from the center of town, we turned left off the N1 to follow a less-traveled road along the railroad. 

Side Road Follows the Railroad on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésSide Road Follows the Railroad

Here day thirteen on the Camino Portugués follows the same path as the N1, but west and parallel to it on an unnamed road. We encountered the construction of a sidewalk below, that I found interesting. The Portuguese love their cobblestone!

Cobblestone Construction on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésCobblestone Construction

Onward, and we stayed to the right, here. 

Stay Right Here on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésStay Right Here

A lovely home graced us, with the King Protea, a tropical flower that matched their iron fence ornaments. I loved it!

Protea at Home in Escusa on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésProtea at Home in Escusa

And in the garden of the same home, a statue of Jesus with the sacred heart and arms wide open drew me in. I was grateful for the homeowner for this. I felt loved.

Arms Wide OpenArms Wide Open

Less than a hundred meters onward, and we saw this pile of cobblestones! It was the cache for the sidewalk construction we had seen earlier! I was very intrigued by this amazing and time consuming process. 

Pile of Cobblestones on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésPile of Cobblestones

Next the pilgrimage travelers crossed the EM533 and turned left on the CM1453-1. We were walking on quiet roads, still paralleling the N1 through rural areas. 

Cross the EM533 on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésCross the EM533 on day thirteen on the Camino Portugués

The road is still paved, but quiet as it continues on the CM1453-1. 

Walk on the CM1453-1 on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésWalk on the CM1453-1

Continuing on the Cm1453-1 for about a kilometer, we stayed right on the Estrado dos Reis. 

Right Onto Estrada dos Reis on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésRight Onto Estrada dos Reis

It was along this road that I noticed that the orange trees carried both fully ripened fruit and blossoms. Does this mean the tree bears fruit for many weeks? If so, what a wonderful thing! We continued to help ourselves to them when they were just by the wayside. 

Oranges and Blooms on Same TreeOranges and Blooms on Same Tree

The Estrada dos Reis ends here,at this railroad crossing and at the junction of the N1. 

Railroad Track by the N1 on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésRailroad Track by the N1 on day thirteen on the Camino Portugués

I was very happy not to cross over the railroad track to the N1, but to folllow it along this wonderful path. There is something about railroads and the tracks that spark our imagination, isn't there? The vagabundo concept, I think, that is so appealing. 

Path Along the Railroad Track on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésPath Along the Railroad Track

And here I am, confirming this is the way to go as I stand next to the Waymark for Rich to snap a photo. 

Elle by Waymark Along the Railroad Track on day thirteen on the Camino PortuguésElle by Waymark Along the Railroad Track

This railroad path, unfortunately, lasted only briefly and then back on the pavement of the Rua Tinturaria we went. 

Camino Portugués Joins The Rua TinturariaCamino Portugués Joins The Rua Tinturaria

Following the waymarks, on country paved roads, we took three more right turns, and then a final right on a more major road, the Rua de São Paio to walk into the town of Pinheiro de Bemposta.

Right Turn onto Rua de São Paio on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésRight Turn onto Rua de São Paio

We walked up a small hill and soon came to the square in Pinheiro de Bemposta and one of the best cafés we had been to along the Way, the Alfazema Pastelari, shown below. We had logged in about six kilometers, a bit early for a stop, but the place looked too inviting to walk on by! We knew to seize an opputunity when it presented itself!

Alfazema Pastelari in Pinheiro de Bemposta on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésAlfazema Pastelari in Pinheiro de Bemposta

And what a delightful break it was!

Café con Leite and Pastel de Nata!Café con Leite and Pastel de Nata!

No sooner had we finished our delights when a bicyclist showed up with his walker partner close behind! While we had made our own road by walking, it was a great pleasure to meet up once again with our Aussie mates!

Christine, Chris and Rich at the Alfazema Pastelari on the Portuguese WayChristine, Chris and Rich at the Alfazema Pastelari

After our break, we chose once again to make our own roads. We had different walking styles and paces, but we knew we would meet up again eventually. 

Partially because our days were shorter with more frequent breaks, and partially because I was beginning to really get my Camino mojo, I was feeling great on day thirteen of the Camino Portugués. Or maybe it was because we saw our friends again? Whatever the reason, it was working for me and I rolled with it!

After walking straight through Pinheiro de Bemposta, the road became the Rua da Banda de Música or the "Band Street Music." However this delightful street got its name, I didn't care, but it sure brought sweet music to me as I walked upon it! 

Along the Rua da Banda de Música on the Portuguese WayAlong the Rua da Banda de Música

And soon enough, the all-too-familiar N1 was up ahead in our path, and we crossed up and over it on this wonderful pedestrian bridge. 

Up and Over the N1 on Pedestrian Bridge on the Portuguese WayUp and Over the N1 on Pedestrian Bridge

The view of the Rua do Pinheiro from the top of the bridge was lovely, as we scanned the horizon towards our next destination. 

Towards the Rua do Pinheiro on the Portuguese WayTowards the Rua do Pinheiro

From the Rua do Pinheiro, we turned right on the street below, toward the historic town of Bemposta

Along the Rua Dom Manuel on the Portuguese WayAlong the Rua Dom Manuel

The Rua Dom Manuel becomes more narrow as it nears the historic section.

The Narrow Rua Dom Manuel on the Portuguese WayThe Narrow Rua Dom Manuel

The historic square of the town can be seen below. We had no tour guide to illucidate us regarding the nature and importance of these buildings. 

Even though we knew little, the town enchanted us, none-the-less!

Historic Square of Bemposta on the Portuguese WayHistoric Square of Bemposta
Most Interesting Gate in Bemposta on the Portuguese WayMost Interesting Gate in Bemposta
Continuing Through Bemposta on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésContinuing Through Bemposta on Day Thirteen of the Camino Portugués
Another Intriguing Old Building in Bemposta on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésAnother Intriguing Old Building in Bemposta

I thoroughly enjoyed this walk back in time through Bemposta. I wish I could locate more of the town's history, but I could find nothing on the internet. Were these 18th century buildings? If anyone knows, please comment below and educate all of us pilgrimage travelers!

Then down the hill, around bends to cross over the N1 once again,  paralleling it on the western side.

We walked on to the town of Besteiros and joined the Avenida do Espiritu Santo, below, and down another hill. 

Down the Hill on the Avenida do Espiritu Santo in Besteiros on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésDown the Hill on the Avenida do Espiritu Santo in Besteiros
A Right Turn Here off the Rua de Besteiros To Rua de Estrada Real on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésA Right Turn Here off the Rua de Besteiros To Rua de Estrada Real

We made our road for about one kilometer along the Rua de Estrada Real, before turning and bending numerous times, following waymarks and arrows through the countryside and small villages. 

We were continuing to essentially travel north and parallel to the N1 (IC2) towards the next town of Travanca.

And then we turned left onto the N1, now the Rua do Pego, after a roundabout.

The Rua do Pego After Roundabout in Travanca on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésThe Rua do Pego After Roundabout in Travanca

After a full kilometer on the N1, we missed a turn to the right on a lovely side road. We totally missed the yellow arrow on a concrete pole telling us to turn off. The N1 gets much busier and steeper as we got closer to Oliveria de Azeméis, the next major town, as you can see below. It is definitely better to get the turn right!

Off Route to Oliveria de Azeméis on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésOff Route to Oliveria de Azeméis on day thirteen on the Camino Portugués

If  you zoom in on the map above, you can see where we made our error, just south of Oliveria de Azeméis, denoted as Point A for your clarity. 

We quickly realized we were headed the wrong way, as we looked to our right and down into the valley and saw our Aussie friend Chris riding his bike! We were like, "What??"

I checked my reference GPS tracks on my phone and sure enough we had missed a turn. I could easily see how to rejoin the actual Camino up ahead. We rejoined the actual Camino at Point B on my map above!

This would prove to be the only error we were to make on our entire Camino Portugués! I was bummed that I even missed a few steps on the actual Camino, but not bummed enough to go back!

Here is the juncture where we picked up the Camino once again. 

Rejoin Actual Camino at this Juncture on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésRejoin Actual Camino at this Juncture

It was a steep climb up this hill, as we looked back on the actual route, below.

Look Back on Actual Route We Missed on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésA Whimsical Look Back on Actual Route We Missed

There was even more hill climbing as we turned up and onto the Rua do Cruzeiro, below. 

Farther Uphill to GoFarther Uphill to Go
Passing By Prayer Niche in Wall on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésPassing By Prayer Niche in Wall

Then the Rua do Cruzeiro gives way to a larger street and we were in the center of Oliveria de Azeméis. And wouldn't you know it, we spotted Chris on his bicycle ahead!

Wherever Chris was, Christine was not far behind and we joined them to find a nice place for lunch. We were all carrying our own food, so we headed to the central square to sit and have a picnic. 

Nearing Center of Oliveira de Azeméis on Rua do Emigrante on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésNearing Center of Oliveira de Azeméis on Rua do Emigrante

It was in the town square, the Praça José da Costa that we sat in the park for lunch with our friends from Down Under. We had logged in about 13 kilometers so far, a bit more than half of our day. 

After eating our picnic, we just happened to notice a pastry shop on the square and had more coffee and sweets for dessert! (There is also a supermarket on the square if you need to replenish your pack.)

We gathered up our things, put back on our shoes and socks and set off once again to complete day thirteen of the Camino Portugués.

Back on the Camino, we walked by the lovely church, the Igreja Matriz  de Oliveira de Azeméis...

Igreja de Matriz in Central Oliveira de Azeméis on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésIgreja de Matriz in Central Oliveira de Azeméis

...and up the hill to join the Rua Antonio Pinto de Carvalho at this most interesting blue-tiled building.

Straight on at thsi Azulejo-tiled  Building on Rua Antonio Pinto de Carvalho on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésStraight on at this Azulejo-tiled Building on Rua Antonio Pinto de Carvalho

We continued on and down the hill...

Down the Hill on the Rua Mte. Guilherme Pereira da Silva on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésDown the Hill on the Rua Mte. Guilherme Pereira da Silva

...following the yellow arrows as the Way bends and turns through the suburbs of Oliveira de Azeméis. 

Continuing on Rua do Monte thru Suburbs on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésContinuing on Rua do Monte thru Suburbs

A right turn off the Rua do Monte to this lane, one of the few on day thirteen...

Turn Right on Lane on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésTurn Right on Lane

...then left onto this fun, high-walled street, the Rua da Sardoeira.

Turn Left on Interesting Rua da Sardoeira on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésTurn Left on Interesting Rua da Sardoeira

In another kilometer or so, after leaving the city far behind, we came upon this railroad crossing, which led us to the Rua Ponte Medieval. 

Crossing Railroad Tracks Again on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésCrossing Railroad Tracks Again
Approaching the Medieval Bridge on the Rua Ponte Medieval on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésApproaching the Medieval Bridge on the Rua Ponte Medieval

We walked across the ancient bridge...

Cobblestone Road Across the Medieval Bridge on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésCobblestone Road Across the Medieval Bridge

...and around to the south side to get a close-up. It is a wonderful old bridge. Passing over it kicked in our imaginations, as we envisioned ourselves in times of yore with our staffs and gourds filled with water strolling along the bridge!

Close-Up of Medieval Bridge on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésClose-Up of Medieval Bridge

Immediately after the wonderful historic bridge, the Portuguese Way turns left and onto the street below, to  walk into the town of Vila de Cucujães.

Along the Rua de Riba in Vila de Cucujães on day thirteen of the Camino PortuguésAlong the Rua de Riba in Vila de Cucujães

We turned right on the Rua do Ferral and more hill climbing was needed. 

Uphill Walk on the Rua do Ferral on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoUphill Walk on the Rua do Ferral on day thirteen on the Camino Portugués
Left Turn on the Rua do Mosteiro in Vila de Cucujães on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoLeft Turn on the Rua do Mosteiro in Vila de Cucujães

The Rua do Mosteiro bends to the left and heads straight on to the Rua Dom Crisostomo de Aguiar at this intersection and kept climbing...

More Uphill on the Way Towards São João de Madeira on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoMore Uphill on the Way Towards São João de Madeira

...and then a bit of a downhill reprieve....

Down the Hill on the Rua Dom Crisostomo de Aguiar on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoDown the Hill on the Rua Dom Crisostomo de Aguiar

...before it starts the slow climbing again. The route becomes more quaint...

Quaint High Walls on the Rua Dom Crisostomo de Aguiar on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoQuaint High Walls on the Rua Dom Crisostomo de Aguiar
Briefly Turns to this Lane on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoBriefly Turns to this Lane on day thirteen on the Camino Portugués

...then in one more kilometer comes to Faria and crosses the railroad again. 

Railroad Crossing in Faria on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoRailroad Crossing in Faria

After the railroad crossing, the pilgrimage traveler truly arrives in the outskirts of São João de Madeira.

Walking on the Rua Jornal Quinzena de Cucujães in São João de Madeira on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoWalking on the Rua Jornal Quinzena de Cucujães in São João de Madeira
Turn Left on the Rua Dr. Ângelo da Fonseca on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoTurn Left on the Rua Dr. Ângelo da Fonseca
Straight On at Roundabout ~ Road Becomes the Rua de Cucujães in this Industrial Area on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoStraight On at Roundabout ~ Road Walks Through this Industrial Area
At 2nd Roundabout, Left Onto Rua Dr. Renato Araújo on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoAt 2nd Roundabout, Left Onto Rua Dr. Renato Araújo
At 3rd Roundabout, Walk Straight On Welcome Tree-Lined Rua Dr. Renato Araújo on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoAt 3rd Roundabout, Walk Straight On Welcome Tree-Lined Rua Dr. Renato Araújo
At 4th Roundabout Follow Yellow Arrow to right onto the Rua Padre António Maria Pinto on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoAt 4th Roundabout Follow Yellow Arrow Right onto Rua Padre António Maria Pinto

For the final approach, we walked up the hill and this church loomed above us to our left. It was here that we turned left onto the Rua Visc. de São João de Madeira.

Turn Left at Church on the Hill onto the Rua Visc. de São João de Madeira on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoTurn Left at Church on the Hill

The Rua Visc. de São João de Madeira is a narrow street that led us to the final destination, the square in the center of town, marked by this white pillar in the photo below.

Final Steps Toward the Central Square at White Pillar on day thirteen of the Portuguese CaminoFinal Steps Toward the Central Square at White Pillar

After a beer break in a cafe in the square, we walked to our hotel the Central Suites Impacto, mere feet from the square. It is a wonderful new place, very modern with private rooms, a shared kitchen and living area, a rooftop sitting area and BBQ grill for you to use. You can click on the link to see the photos of the place. I would highly recommend staying here, and you can't beat the location, just steps from the central square. 

The hotel is up stairs on a higher than ground level and you have to call a number posted on the door, upon your arrival, for someone to let you into the building. The staff is ultra-friendly and helpful and speak great English. 

There is an albergue in town (see the accommodation file) and several other hotels in town. For pre-booking click here.

And for the third time on day thirteen of our Portuguese Way, we ran into our Aussie friends and joined them for another lovely dinner. It was a special day indeed. 

Lessons Learned on Day Thirteen, Camino Portugués

This was the day we walked on and didn't look back, made our own walk yet met up with friends. Yes, our footsteps became the road, a road filled with history and enchantment.

At times it felt we were indeed one with the road. There was no more struggle, only the singular purpose of putting one foot in front of the other. We had reached a comfortable rhythm of our own walking. 

If only life were so clean and easy...

Salutation

May your own day thirteen on the Camino Portugués bring you into oneness with the road! May you always look forward and never back, and make your own road by walking!





***Please note that I will be adding articles for each day that we spent on the Camino Portugués, as I write them. All 26 days! So check back frequently, or subscribe to my feed, to make sure you don't miss any! (To subscribe to my feed, go to the left Navbar, find "Recent Articles," and click on the little orange box on the top right hand corner)


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