TAP airlines to Porto, a metro train to Vila do Conde and we start our redux Caminho feeling great.
Peregrino passports in hand, our first stop was the church as we entered town. Our backpack is streamlined and our camelbaks are filled; we are psyched to follow the Senda Litoral (coastal route) again towards Santiago de Compostela.Today, however, is all about Vila do Conde and getting a good night’s sleep.
We marched all over town and learned some fascinating information. Here are a few fun facts about VdC:
The beautiful and nearly intact Santa Clara Aqueduct took almost 90 years to complete and it spans more than two and one half miles and has 999 arches. The main reason it took so long to complete… they realized they had miscalculated the slope in the 1630’s and needed to adjust it.We were aware that Vila do Conde was a fishing harbor and beach town, however we did not know it was, and still is, a wooden ship-building town. There is an exhibit explaining the history of Portugal’s ship building prowess with photos, actual templates and a life size model of a ship.
As we walked from the river to the ocean we passed a field of low stone pillars, each with a piece of rusted barbed wire around the top. We discovered that this was how and where they dried cod fish. Happily, there is no remaining cod fish odor, only wild flowers.A final surprise to us was the bobbin lace museum (Museu das Rendas de Bilras). The lace making, most likely, was introduced to Vila do Conde from Northern Europe. The museum houses samples of old and new lace and a massive lace curtain made up of individual squares completed by local contemporary lace artisans. There are several classrooms filled with amazing lace projects.It would be easy to fill more than a day in Vila do Conde. The convent, sitting on the beach, and multiple other cultural sites could easily keep us here.
Then there is the food. Delicious aromas waft past as the grills in front of restaurants are fired up to roast freshly caught fish and meats. We snacked along the streets and then stopped close to our hotel, for, of all things, a carb loading Italian dinner. It was superb. Grilled wild boar with mushroom risotto and a mango salmon linguine with a Vinho Verde and some delicious basil bread. Tomorrow we will head about 20 miles north to Esposende and see what special treats the Portuguese Coast will send our way.