The night was calm except for when in the next room above Mary slept some biker who arrived on the albergue with his colleagues in the evening and then sounds resembling a saw were resounding from the room.
Where has the biker disappeared
But the tiredness is stronger so falling asleep isn’t a big problem. It’s worse when during the night the wine I drank calls so I have to quietly run to the bathroom downstairs. On my way there, I check out the next room the sounds are coming from. However, it strikes me when I see an empty bed above Mary. After my return I get back into bed and continue my sleep.
In the morning me and Jitka go to the bathroom to brush our teeth. Downstairs Jitka asks me if I’ve noticed that someone was sleeping in the office that you walk through. That’s when I realized and I start laughing. When I’m finally able to speak again, I tell Jitka to carefully check the room next to ours when we go back. When she sees the empty bed above the sleeping Mary, she realizes too and tries hard not to burst out of laughter. When we get back to our room, I confide her about how at my nightly walk to the bathroom I even considered Mary just swallowed her roommate or something… 😂
We get a message from Hanka who walked a part of the route from Lisbon with us, that she’s changed the plan and actually the whole Camino again and now she’s moving to the last routes of Camino Norte. We take our backpacks and go outside. A figure in the distance before us seems like Jannik, but we’re not planning to catch him up. We leave it up to the fate. We expect to maybe meet him somewhere in Porto where, as he exposed yesterday during the dinner, he has two free days before his flight home.
Dancing in the raindrops
It is drizzling outside and a look on the sky indicates that it might be time for our raincoats. But since these raindrops are kind of pleasant and because we know how the cloudy morning sky can turn into a perfectly clear sky very quickly, we leave the raincoats in our backpacks and go in the drizzle. The truth is that the very much hated cobblestones on Camino, in combination with rain, they become quite a dangerous dance simulator. Fortunately, we have our bamboo sticks which always save our attempts of breakdancing.
After a few kilometers we enter a forest that resembles an impenetrable jungle. We go uphill and have some runner, who is running back and forth as a company. We shoot a video from the last route and simultaneously, we’re saying goodbye to the nature. For the first time in our lives we see cork trees. They are stripped of bark to a height of 2 meters. Under one of them, there are pieces of bark, so we take one small piece as a souvenir. Bikers are passing by us and I have a feeling that one of them is the one who has slept in the office. I wonder how he explained his escape from the room to his co-bikers.
We arrive to Porto. Although it’s still a lot of kilometers to the cathedral, when we arrive to the sign that announces that we’re in Porto, we start recalling what we’ve experienced over the past few days, when we’ve reached the imaginary bottom, when we met Mary and the others, where we loved it and on the contrary, where we hated it. With the remembrance together, the route passes even more quickly.
So, before we even realize it, there’s Luís I Bridge in front of us and we can already see the cathedral on the left side. We’re excited but at the same time we don’t want to go there yet. So, we extend our route with a few meters by turning to the church Santa Clara, from where there is a spectacular view on Porto. What’s interesting about the church is that it is held by the army, but entry is allowed after paying the entrance fee. But we don’t feel like going in there right now. But the view spot from there is fascinating and literally breathtaking.
It takes a while until we’re capable of shooting another video from the route. A few camera clicks and hurray to the cathedral. We are crossing the bridge and when I look underneath us, I get dizzy. I don’t feel good in big heights. There’s a lot of people so it reminds us of Istanbul at times. The human river, which flows along the entire width of the bridge, is now forced to the railing by a subway train.
“Happiness is not something that is already created. It comes from your own actions.”
It’s here. It’s exactly 11:11 a.m. and we are standing in front of the cathedral. We know that by getting the stamp in our credentials, this year’s route is officially over, so we’re pretending to check out the cathedral for a while to extend it all.
The end of our pilgrimage
We are shooting another video and right once we’re finished, a dude (as Terka would say) comes up to us and pantomimically performs the stamp punch and shows us the way to the cathedral. Me and Jitka exchange confused face expressions and then we finally go inside. How it looks inside, I can’t even tell, because I’m not really paying attention to it. All I hear is the stamp punch in our pilgrim passports.
Just in case, we buy two back up ones for next year and go outside. All around we see pilgrims who are just starting their pilgrimages so we are really envious. Suddenly, there is the scent of lavender everywhere around.
We take a map of Porto in an information center below the cathedral and then we start heading to our reserved hotel. We could take a subway, but firstly, we have plenty of time and secondly and mainly, we don’t want to. So we are walking step by step.
Hotel instead of albergue
Finding the street where the hotel is is easy, but finding the actual hotel seems like a superhuman task. We’re going back and forth but the hotel is nowhere to be found. It takes a while, but we’re standing in front of an entrance that does not look like an entrance at all. We ring the bell and hear a voice. When Jitka says we have a reservation, the doorway opens and someone like the receptionist and cleaning woman with maid at once lets us in. I have a feeling the Tax Office has no idea about this hotel.
She says we are here quite early and our room is not prepared yet. We’re asking her if we can at least leave our bags here somewhere and wash ourselves a little and change to dry clothesm so that we would not go outside with a rabbit out of the sweat on our backs. She willingly shows us the bathroom in the ground floor.
After the quick cleanse we go back to the streets. We don’t really feel like going to the center, since our room should be ready soon, so we go to a restaurant in front of the hotel and order a cold beer and Coke. After the refreshment with cold beverages we go for a quick exploration of the neighborhood. We eventually find out where the subway station is, where a store for buying some drinks to the hotel is etc. We buy a piece of pizza pie in a bakery and then finally we go check in.
Our room has a view to the street where the entrance is and is practically furnished. A simple bathroom, double bed, window. Most importantly, it’s clean and without any bugs which we would not like to meet here at the very end of our route. After showering we lie down for a while and then follows microsleep.
We wake up when it’s already getting dark outside so we agree to take the rest of today in a looser way, that we will just go for a walk and buy something for dinner. Our legs, as typically, protest at the beginning, but unnecessarily. It’s still hot outside even though the sun went to sleep already. The result of our walk is a bought pizza and some drinks including beer and Coke and a chocolate bar from a nearby store. Simply a healthy dinner.
Then we just get back to our room, where we behave like the right sample of a classic consumer society. We’re laying in the bed with a beer in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other watching the TV.
Our thoughts are somewhere completely else though.