For any of you following in our Portuguese Route footsteps, here are some notes on places we stayed.
Lisbon -- The Keep earned us bragging rights for the steep hill we climbed to get to it, and for the angled, metal, long, spiral staircase to get to the main level, reception, terrace, and rooms. The view is spectacular. On the downside, the walls are thin so it is noisy, and that is a lot of climbing in a backpack.
Porto -- Porto Lounge had good staff to advise us on our rest day activities in Porto. It had albergue rooms, doubles with shared bath, triples with ensuite bath. Four floors and no lift.
Rates -- Casa de Mattos had a charming room, good breakfast, beautiful garden, and delightful hosts.
Barcelos -- Hotel Dom Nuno was clean, had a good breakfast, no special ambiance.
Lugar do Corgo -- Casa Fernanda is a must stay. It is a highlight of the trip.
Ponte de Lima -- We rented a nice room from the Restaurant Encanada. The albergue (cots, not bunks) didn't open until 5:00. It was pouring and we had no interest in waiting.
Rubiaes -- Quinta das Leiras was modern and welcoming. The hostess opens her whole house to the guests. She arranges a ride to a restaurant for dinner, which was most welcome on our rainy day. Breakfast was excellent. We heard the albergue was one, noisy large room.
Tui -- The Parador was upscale and lovely. They had turned off the heat because it is supposed to be warm in Portugal in May. They gave us a space heater. The restaurant was pricey. Internet was spotty.
Between Tui and Porrino, be careful to find and take the new route from Orbenlle, which has a nice cafe-restaurant beyond where you turn onto the new route. Eat and then backtrack or ask about the shortcut from the restaurant to the new route.
Porrino -- We stayed at the Hotel Parque which is ready for renovation.
Finisterre -- It is a beautiful walk from Cee. Hotel Spa Rustico had ambiance and views, although it was quite a hike up the hill to get there and then we had to hike back down to enjoy the town. We met the owner and saw photos of Albergue y Pension Finistellae. It may be a winner. If I go again, I will take a full day in Finisterre to walk the trails all over the hill between town and the Lighthouse Point. The views are gorgeous and peaceful.
Lires -- Casa Raul was rustic, welcoming, quaint, and comfortable. We could buy sandwiches for lunch or supper. Breakfast was included. The town also has a restaurant.
Muxia -- We reserved at Casa Lorena which seemed to no longer exist two days later when we got there. We stayed at the modern and friendly Hotel LoLo, which has a restaurant serving a fantastic shrimp LoLo recipe. they provided a box breakfast for our early morning bus departure.
Guimaraes -- Our plan had been to return to Porto and spend a day visiting the Duoro Vally. A festival in Porto filled all the rooms. With the help of the staff at Hotel Moure in Santiago, we chose to go to Guimaraes instead. We took the bus from Muxia to Santiago. Another bus to Braga, and a third to Guimaraes. It is small and delightful. We had some of our best food there, and we had a lot of good food everywhere. Our favorite restaurants were Cafe Oriental for its mid day buffet of Portuguese specialties and Tasca Nicolino for dinner. The Guest House Vimaranes was centrally located, nicely appointed, and clean, but only freshened the room weekly. We made our own bed, but missed have dry towels and extra toilet paper.
Lisbon -- For the night before our flight back, after our train ride to Lisbon from Guimaraes, we stayed at the modern Hotel TRYP Oriente, a block from the train station. It was ideal. Good dinner. Excellent breakfast included. Wonderful places within walking distance to explore in the afternoon, including a waterfront promenade and Oceanarium. The hotel provided a free taxi ride to the airport.