Blessings and Flags

After two nights and a day on the Ferry from Portsmouth it was a relief to drive off into Spain, more than a relief really quite a pleasure as the Spanish roads were free, smooth and empty, a great starter for Nelson to get warmed up for the trip.

Driving from the Ferry on lovely clear Spanish roads a lucky rainbow

I was even treated to a lucky rainbow right across the road to add to my collection of blessings and good luck which seems to be the good theme of the start of this trip.  Not satisfied with this I was on my way to a great centre of pilgrimage Santiago de Compostela for an additional blessing at the start of the trip.  Driving there in Nelson is a bit easier than the standard pilgrims’ hundreds of miles walk as the map below shows.

My destination on the first day is the same as the pilgrims.

I did get parked up and was able to visit the shrine for a blessing ( Saint James one of the apostles is reputed to be buried there which is why pilgrims visited for centuries). The shrine is quite a sight, as you can see, but the best impression is from the many pilgrims who celebrate their arrival at the end of the Camino with great joy.

A blessing from another Saint for my trip

By the time I had driven to Santiago and done the rounds of the tourist trail it was nearly nightfall, one of my golden rules is not to drive at night so I set up camp in the very mundane environment of the parking lot and got an early night ready for the drive to Portugal the next day.

My first night after the ferry is a quite unromantic, but safe, car park

The trip to Porto was really easy as I opted for the motorway route to give me enough time to visit the city in the afternoon.  One of the things we look out for when travelling, a kind of hobby of ours,  is the local snack at motorway services or petrol stations, the Empanana in South America was a favourite but Portugal has its own offering in the shape of great custard tarts, a regional speciality and great with a double expresso

I decided to camp up to the south of Porto city at Espinho and take the train into the city to ensure the truck was secure as I saw quite a few reports of robberies from campers parked in the city car parks, probably over cautious as the city seemed quite easy going and did not “ping” my threat radar at all.

The Torre dos Clerigos church tower a symbol of Porto dominates the skyline

Porto was quite nice with blue sky and 27oC weather made more bearable by the sea breeze keeping everyone reasonably cool.  It was easy to walk around and catch the main sights the famous Ponte de Don Luis II dominates the old area of the Riberia and the lively cafes and markets gave the place a nice friendly feel

Ribeira is a pretty and colourful combination of old waterside houses
Ponte de Don Luis II

So a nice day of sightseeing was finished by a quick train ride back to Espinho station and a walk along the beach back to the campsite.  Once there a final ritual, the addition of the flag number 57 to Nelson the first of many expected on this trip.

Nelson gets his first new flag since Uruguay pre-Covid

Celebration with one of the remaining cans of Guiness 0.0%, off to Lisbon tomorrow


About Gerry Mulligan

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