We arrived on Porto 3 weeks ago thinking we might stay an extra day and tour the world famous port wine cellars. But we were eager to get on the trail and decided to do the wine tour on our way back.
As happens on the Camino, it was not in the cards. On the return weekend, Porto is having a festival and we could not find a place to stay.
I was whining to the receptionist at our sweet hotel in Santiago. Said she: "you ought to go to Guimaraes Portugal instead of Porto. That's where I'm from and it is charming". She found us a guest house.
This morning we left Muxia by bus to Santiago, switched busses for Braga, switched busses for Guimaraes, met some French women with a Lonely Planet guidebook that we borrowed to find our guest house, and arrived safe and sound about 4:00.
This is indeed a charming town. Our guest house is 90 euros for a great private room and bath for 2 nights, total.
We happened onto a fantastic local food restaurant for a great meal. . . local sheep cheese, spicey olives, bread, soup and fish in the regional, traditional style, wine, and a local, fire water after dinner drink (just gulp it . . . NOT). 28 euros ($38ish) for everything, including these rice of a whole family that owns the place. Amazing. And we have another whole day here, although the forecast is 100% chance of heavy rain.
The Camino provides. We are so lucky.
I had forgotten, since living in Prague, that a narrow cobblestone street can make the tiniest of cars sound like a jet engine going by in the night. Our guest house has more ambiance than quiet. But we didn't come to Portugal to sleep.
The promised rain held off until almost noon.
Our serendipitous visit here is going very well indeed.