Day Twelve on the Camino Portugués
~ Águeda to Albergaria-a-Nova, 21.24 Km (13.2 mi)

Day twelve on the Camino Portugués, was an historical day, filled with old mansions and a 2nd Century Roman bridge, to capture our imagination. 

While the traditional stage is from Águeda to Albergaria-a-Velha, for only a 16 kilometer day, we decided to go only 5 km more to Albergaria-a-Nova. This shortened our next stage, day thirteen to São João da Madeira, from 29 kilometers to only a bit over 24 kilometers, for two more reasonably staged days, in our opinion. 

Albergaria-a-Nova is not as large nor as attractive as Albergaria-a-Velha, so make your own decision here! It's the difference between an old town and a new industrial one! But the albergue where we stayed in Albergaria-a-Nova was wonderful, and they even drove us to the grocery store, free of charge, to get food to make for our dinner!

“Life is a pilgrimage. Each moment is to be lived in depth, because each moment contains God, hidden within it.” ~ Banani Ray, Glory of OM: A Journey to Self-Realization

I felt like I had many God-moments on this stage of our Camino. I definitely get charged up when I feel like I am walking on the ancient paths, and this would be true for our day twelve on the Portuguese Way. 



Map and Stats of Day Twelve on the Camino Portugués

Here is my Google map, uploaded from my Geotracker xml files. Remember, I only included the albergues/hotels/cafés on the map that we actually visited. For a complete list of accommodations from Ivar's forum, click here. 

This stage has many more cafés than most, but as always, I advise to carry snacks and plenty of water, at a minimum, at all times. 

Interactive Google Map of Day Twelve on the Camino Portugués

For my Google map of day twelve on the Camino Portugués, with photos included, those from this article and yes, even more, click here. 

For the elevation changes in day twelve, you can see it is essentially flat until a small drop to the Vouga River, and back up, and a slow, steady and barely noticable climb to Albergaria-a-Velha, followed by a cruise into Albergaria-a-Nova. 

Elevation Profile for Day Twelve, Camino Portugués, Águeda to Albergaria-a-NovaElevation Profile for Day Twelve, Camino Portugués, Águeda to Albergaria-a-Nova

Photo-Rich Travelogue of Day Twelve on the Camino Portugués

We started out our day, making a delicious and hearty breakfast of eggs, toast, coffee and fruit, in the kitchen at the most hospitable Albergue St. António and Residencial Celeste complex.

We set off early, at dawn and walked out the door and directly onto the not-so-hospitable N1, below. But the shoulder was wide enough and it was too early for much Portuguese traffic.

Heading North on the N1 at DawnHeading North on the N1 at Dawn
Continue on N1 at RoundaboutContinue on N1 at Roundabout

It is a ways on the N1, so after about 2.5 kilometers, we veered off the highway. 

Turn Right off N1 at Rua Liberdade After 2.0 KilometersTurn Right off N1 at Rua Liberdade After 2.5 Kilometers

The first town we walked into was Mourisca do Vouga. It was to be a most interesting town, for which I would love to know more of its history. If you know it, pass the infomation along to the rest of us!

Entering Mourisca do VougaEntering Mourisca do Vouga

If you were interested in a café, the Pompeia Caffé is the first one we stumbled upon. However, being that we arrived before 8:00 a.m., it was not open.

Stay right here at the café to continue on the Rua Liberdade.

Telltale Umbrellas of the Pompeia Caffé in Mourisca do VougaTelltale Umbrellas of the Pompeia Caffé in Mourisca do Vouga

Just a bit farther along the Rua Liberdade is where the town starts to get interesting. Below is the first mansion that we encountered. 

First of Interesting Homes in Mourisca do VougaFirst of Interesting Homes in Mourisca do Vouga

Mourisca do Vouga and the connecting town of São Sebastião appear to have been quite the flourishing towns at one time. I'm not sure how these estates came to be, but I do know that this area is located in the rich, fertile valley of the Vouga River, full of vineyards, commercial forests and fruit trees.

At the large open square of the Largo Sebastião Saraiva Lima, we stayed left at this intersection. 

Stay Left at Largo Sebastião Saraiva Lima in Mourisca do Vouga, Portugal on day twelve of the Camino.Stay Left at Largo Sebastião Saraiva Lima

And then, the first of the grand, abandoned estates began to appear! This one was my favorite and we nicknamed it the Munsters House because it looked like something out of the 1960's comedy T.V. show of the same name. You may remember it!

The The "Munsters" House in the Largo Sebastião Saraiva Lima

From the Largo Sebastião Saraiva Lima we walked onward on the Rua de Abril and quickly came to yet another dilapidated estate. I loved the widow's walk on the top this one. But would the wife be watching for her long-gone husband in the fields instead of the sea?

Another crumbling estate in Mourisca do Vouga, Portugal on day twelve of the Camino.Another Crumbling Estate

The rich gardens of the estates were gorgeous, even if some of them were overgrown. There is always a God-moment for me when I gaze upon a flower! The Protea blooms were magnificent.

Tropical Flower ~ ProteaTropical Flower ~ Protea

The final estate that captured my imagination:

Overgrown Estate on the Rua de Abril in Mourisca do Vouga, Portugal on day twelve of the Camino.Overgrown Estate on the Rua de Abril

If only we had the time, the desire or the resources to fix-up one of these glorious estates! I do find God-moments when I gaze upon the creativity of man, and these wonderful places, despite their neglected state were something to behold.

If walls could talk, perhaps we'd know what had happened to them? Maybe an albergue or country inn conversion is calling someone's name?

And so we chattered on and on about the possibilities that lie in these old estates for minutes, if not for hours as we walked merrily onward! Fantasies are the making of dreams and dreams allow us to dare to think of possibilities, whether realistic or not!

Positive thinking and faith are closely intertwined, don't you think? You never know how your thoughts may become matter, unless you dare to dream! 

Back on day twelve of the Camino Portugués, after the last estate, we crossed over the N1 again, to join the Estrada Pedaçães to walk into the town of Pedaçães in another kilometer or so. 

On the Estrada Pedaçães in the town of Pedaçães on the Portuguese WayOn the Estrada Pedaçães in the town of Pedaçães

After entering the town, at its center, we turned right at the fountain in the photo, onto the Rua Espanha.

Stay Right at Fountain in Pedaçães, on the Portuguese WayStay Right at Old Fountain in Pedaçães

In another 100 meters or so, the Camino turns right at this "Y" intersection...

Along the Rua Espanha in Pedaçães, on the Portuguese WayAlong the Rua Espanha

and starts down the hill, here...

Leaving Pedaçães on the Estrada Costa on the Portuguese WayLeaving Pedaçães on the Estrada Costa

and drops down steeply to the N1, and once again, fortunately, crosses it. 

Down the hill on the Estrada Costa and cross the N1 on the Camino Portugués in Lamas do Vouga.Down the Hill on the Estrada Costa and Cross the N1

After crossing the N1, the best sight of the day was just ahead, the wonderful Roman bridge called the Cabeço do Vouga. It is also known as the Ponte Velha do Marnel or the Old Bridge of Marnel. It was probably built in the second century and is located in the village of Lamas do Vouga, in the municipality of Águeda.

The church of Lamas do Vouga can be seen at the end of the bridge, in the photo, below. 

Walking on the Ponte do Cabeço do Vouga, Crossing the Vouga River in Lamas do Vouga on the Camino PortuguésWalking on the Ponte do Cabeço do Vouga, Crossing the Vouga River

I felt very fortunate to be here in the spring, when the flowers and the algae were blooming. It was an inspiring sight and I actually felt like a "real" pilgrim as I imagined myself in a bygone era, walking across this bridge. This was most definitely a God-moment for me. 

A Look Back at the Roman Bridge, the Ponte do Cabeço do Vouga in Lamas do Vouga on day twelve on the Camino Portugués.A Look Back at the Roman Bridge, the Ponte do Cabeço do Vouga

An interesting feature of this bridge is that the archways are asymetric. None are of the same dimensions! I wonder what had prompted this archectural feature. 

Close-Up of the Roman Bridge Over the Vouga River, the Ponte do Cabeço do Vouga in Lamas do Vouga on day twelve on the Camino Portugués.Close-Up of the Roman Bridge Over the Vouga River

As we climbed upward towards the town of Lamas do Vouga, we caught our final glimpse of the Ponte do Cabeço do Vouga here: 

Final Glimpse of the Ponte do Cabeço do Vouga on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésFinal Glimpse of the Ponte do Cabeço do Vouga

We were following along the Rua Freguesia Santa Maria de Lama, toward the church of Lamas do Vouga at the top of the hill. At this point, we were about seven kilometers into our day twelve on the Camino Portugués.

Just beyond the church in Lamas, we climbed a small hill, and joined the N1 in this photo, turning left toward Porto! It was the first time that it hit us that Porto was only a two-and-a-half days walk away! Indeed, our spirits were lifted.

This moment was my first actual realization that we were halfway to Santiago de Compostela and we could truly make it! Without a doubt, a God-moment.

Turn Left on the N1 Toward Porto on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésTurn Left on the N1 Toward Porto

Even though the shoulder was wide on this part of the N1, the traffic was intense, with lots of trucks and speeding cars. 

Walking on the N1, Once Again Toward Porto on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésWalking on the N1, Once Again

Fortunately it is only a few hundred meters before the bridge across the Vouga River is there, with a sidewalk and a guardrail to protect the pilgrimage traveler!

The Bridge across the Rio Vouga on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésThe Bridge across the Rio Vouga

After crossing the long, high bridge, it is only a short way before one leaves the N1 to turn left here at this intersection. 

Turn Left Off the N1 Here on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésTurn Left Off the N1 Here

The sign points to the next town of Serém de Baixo

Signpost to Serém on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésSignpost to Serém, Day Twelve, Camino Portugués

It's a short walk on a serene country road...

Country Road Toward Serém on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésCountry Road Toward Serém

then into the town of Serém.

Walking Through Serém on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésWalking Through Serém

At about 11 kilometers, we decided it was time for a pit stop when we stumbled onto the Café St. António in Serém. The ususal café con leite and pastries were the welcome lift we needed, halfway through the day. 

If you need supplies when you arrive here, there is also the market next door, the Casa Leonel. Our packs were full from the Lidl market by the albergue in Águeda, so we were good. 

Pit Stop at the Café St. António in Serém on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésPit Stop at the Café St. António in Serém on Day Twelve, Camino Portugués

After our break we encountered another beautiful Fátima mural on a home along the main road, the Rua Central in Serém. Another God-moment. I breathed in the legend and the hope as I walked by. 

Fátima Home Mural on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésFátima Home Mural

Then suddenly, on the Rua Central, the Camino Portugués finds a side street lane and follows it. 

Turn Right Off Rua Central to Tractor Lane on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésTurn Right Off Rua Central to Tractor Lane, Day Twelve, Camino Portugués

The lane crosses a road, the Estrada Paus and goes straight on into this eucalyptus forest, below. 

Cross the Estrada Paus Into Eucalyptus Forest on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésCross the Estrada Paus Into Eucalyptus Forest

Then onto the long, eucalyptus-lined road. 

Eucalyptus-Lined Road on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésEucalyptus-Lined Road

After about three kilometers on this long road, at this place, below, the road becomes the Largo Liz and you join the main road. 

End of Forest Road at the Largo Liz on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésEnd of Forest Road at the Largo Liz

At the end of the forest road, we made a right turn onto the Rua Dom Dinis, and walked into the town of Assilho.

Entering Assilho on day twelve of the Portuguese WayEntering Assilho

Here in Assilho there is a café, on the far right...

Walking Through Assilho on day twelve of the Portuguese WayWalking Through Assilho

and another café, here on the far left. You are approximately 15 kilometers into your day twelve on the Camino Portugués, at Assilho, so a stop here might be on your radar.

Cafés Abound in Assilho on day twelve of the Portuguese WayCafés Abound in Assilho

And then, a mere stones thow away and we entered the large town of Albergaia-a-Velha, the old town. "Velha" means old. 

We walked by the main roundabout when entering town, below...

Entering Albergaria-a-Velha on day twelve of the Portuguese WayEntering Albergaria-a-Velha

and walked into the heart of town...

The Alameda 5 de Outubro in Albergaria-a-Velha on day twelve of the Portuguese WayThe Alameda 5 de Outubro in Albergaria-a-Velha

and through the main square.

Local Government Office in the Town Square ~ Albergaria-a-Velha on day twelve of the Portuguese WayLocal Government Office in the Town Square ~ Albergaria-a-Velha

As discussed in the introduction to this day twelve on our Camino Portugués, despite many amenities in the old town of Albergaria, at only 16 kilometers, we decided to walk on to Albergaria-a-Nova, or the "new" Albergaria, only 5 kilometers down the road and the albergue there. 

If your Camino lands you in Albergaria-a-Velha, click here to see the accomodations available, in addition to the Albergue (check the Accomodation Guide).

After walking through the main square, above, we turned left onto the Rua Hospital and straight on, at the intersection in the photo below. 

Straight on from the Rua Hospital on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésStraight on from the Rua Hospital

Continuing to walk straight on and north out of Albergaria-a-Velha, we came, once again to the busy N1. 

Approaching the Familiar N1 Once Again on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésApproaching the Familiar N1 Once Again

However, we veered to the left here, crossed a roundabout and found this road that took us to the left of the N1, then under it..

Skirt the N1 to the West, then Walk Under It on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésSkirt the N1 to the West, then Walk Under It

to join the Rua Sra. do Socorro. A turn to the right, below, and we were back on this lovely dirt lane. 

Leave the Rua Sra. do Socorro and Turn Right Onto Dirt Lane on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésLeave the Rua Sra. do Socorro and Turn Right Onto Dirt Lane
Parallel the Rua Sra. do Socorro and Walk Into Forest on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésParallel the Rua Sra. do Socorro and Walk Into Forest
Quiet Eucalyptus Walk on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésQuiet Eucalyptus Walk
Straight Rows of Commerical Eucalyptus Forest on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésStraight Rows of Commerical Eucalyptus Forest

At the end of the forest path, we turned left and joined the EM556, a quiet paved road. The albergue in Albergeria-a-Nova is only 3 km from here. 

Turn Left on the EM556 on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésTurn Left on the EM556

At the next intersection, there is a lovely statue, below, of the Nossa Senhora do Socorro (Our Lady of Help), curtesy of the nearby diocese.

Elle at the Statue, Nossa Senhora do Socorro on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésElle at the Statue, Nossa Senhora do Socorro

Once again, we veered off the paved road to the left, and onto a dirt road ~ into yet another eucalyptus forest for the final kilometer-and-a-half of our day twelve on the Camino Portugués.

Veer Again Into Eucalyptus Forest on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésVeer Again Into Eucalyptus Forest

The dirt road gave way to the pavement, as we walked toward Albergaria-a-Nova

Approaching Albergaria-a-Nova on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésApproaching Albergaria-a-Nova

And suddenly, we are back on the N1 after a right turn once in town. Almost immediately after turning right, just before us are these yellow footprints leading us to the albergue, below. 

Yellow Footprints to the Albergue Alberaria-a-Nova on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésYellow Footprints to the Albergue Alberaria-a-Nova

Whenever I see well-kept flower gardens outside, I know a place is well cared for inside as well. And I was not to be disappointed. These Alstroemeria were a welcome, cheery sight, full of hope and inspiraton for our night in the albergue. 

Cheery Alstroemeria at the Albergue on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésCheery Alstroemeria at the Albergue

Here is the entrance to the Albergue Albergaria-a-Nova.

Entrance to the Albergue Alberaria-a-Nova on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésEntrance to the Albergue Alberaria-a-Nova

The Albergue Albergaria-a-Nova is an actual home converted into an albergue. But the word "albergue" is truly a misnomer because it is so homey and inviting. I almost never take a bunch of photos of the places where I stay, unless it really impressees me. This place was the exception. 

We stayed in a private room, below, but there are also bunk rooms in the home. 

Private Room in the Albergue Alberaria-a-Nova on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésPrivate Room in the Albergue Alberaria-a-Nova
Dresser and Chairs in the Private Room in the Albergue Albergaria-a-Nova on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésDresser and Chairs in the Private Room

The homey kitchen is well-equipped. We cooked our dinner here after the propietor drove us to the grocery store! Unbelievably, we were the only ones staying here that night. Our Aussie friends had let us know by text that they were staying in Albergaria-a-Velha. They preferred private bookings ahead of time, and no albergues. If they only knew!

Well Equipped Kitchen in the Albergue Alberaria-a-Nova on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésWell-Equipped Kitchen in the Albergue Alberaria-a-Nova

There is an indoor sitting room and outdoor sitting areas as well, to relax and have a beer, which we did! The albergue sells inexpensive beers right there. We thought this was a nice service and helped ourselves to one and dropped the payment into the jar provided! 

Plus, breakfast the next morning is included in the price.

Outside Sitting Area in the Albergue Alberaria-a-Nova on day twelve of the Camino PortuguésOutside Sitting Area in the Albergue Alberaria-a-Nova

Reflections on Day Twelve, Camino Portugués

This was a most pleasant day for me, short and sweet, yet indeed full of inspiration and God-moments. I was thrilled to be alive, despite being oh-so-alone on the trail, except for Rich and me. It was one of my best days on the the Camino thus far!

Salutation

May your own day twelve on the Camino Portugués be delightful and full of God-moments for you as well!





***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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