The 8th day of my pilgrimage on the Camino Portuguese was a big one for me. I would reach the official halfway point between Porto, Portugal and Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
I also planned to cross the border from Portugal into Spain. Or, I would come very close to it – depending on where I decided to spend the night.
I could either stay in Valença, a historic town built inside a stone fortress, or in the charming city Tui on the other side of the river.This was a tough choice. Both cities looked really cool.
In the end, however, I went with Valença. What can I say… I’m a sucker for historic medieval cities.
Good Morning Rubiães
I began the day in the village of Rubiães at a pilgrim’s hostel. After a simple breakfast at a local cafe, I started walking north.
Right away, the path dipped into the woods and followed a picturesque little stream. A halo of morning light glinted on the water as steam rose into the air.
It was such a lovely way to start the day. I just about squealed out loud with excitement.
By late morning I was ready for a break. So, I stopped in the town of Igreja for a snack at the Taberna Igreja.
The bar has a shaded porch overlooking the village church. I sat there happily for a few moments while consuming a few savory croquettes.
And sparkling water. I’m sort of obsessed with sparkling water and drink it whenever I get a chance.
I walked through some really lovely countryside as I approached the outskirts of Valença. I also crossed another small mountain.
Here are some of my favorite photos from this section.
Lunch at Maritone 2
By the time I reached the outskirts of Valença, I was quite hungry. It was mid-afternoon and I hadn’t had a proper lunch yet.
So I stopped at the first restaurant that I came across. It was packed with people inside. There must have been at least a hundred locals in there – which I found surprising since it was a Tuesday afternoon.
The restaurant is a churrascaria which specializes in grilled and barbecued meats. I had to wait a while for my meal, but the grilled chicken was worth the wait.
Just after leaving the restaurant, I passed a small chapel on the side of the road. These are quite common on the Camino and usually only hold a handful of people inside.
This is the first one I encountered, however, that had a Camino stamp. I was happy to add it to my growing collection.
Welcome to Valença
As I entered the walled city of Valença, I suddenly found myself engulfed in a sea of people. I had heard from other pilgrims that Valença was a bit touristy – and wow they weren’t kidding.
The narrow winding streets were crammed with souvenir shops and cafes and lots and lots of people.
Valença Igreja Credencial Stamp
After checking into my hotel, I made my way to the nearest church – the Igreja de Santo Estevão. A man spritzed my hands with sanitizer as I entered the church.
I asked about a stamp and he pointed to a room near the back. There, I was greeted by a priest who stamped my Credencial.
This wasn’t one of those cheap stamps that have their own ink pad – it was an old-fashioned wooden seal about the size of pepper grinder.
It’s definitely the most official looking stamp that I’ve received so far.
A Glorious Sunset
As sunset approached, I headed to the city’s westernmost walls. From there, I could see across the Minho River to Spain on the other side.
I walked the walls for a bit and found a quiet place to watch the sun sink slowly into the horizon.
A few minutes later, I happened to run into Dianne from Australia. I had met Dianne the previous day while we were climbing Alto da Porteo mountain.
She invited me to join her for a beer. So we grabbed a couple of seats at an outdoor cafe and watched the sky turned pink and yellow.
This was Dianne’s last day on the Camino as she was heading back to Porto the following day. What a fitting farewell for such an incredible journey.
Dinner with Dianne and Natalia
In one of those funny Camino coincidences, Dianne and Natalia and I discovered that we were all staying at the same hotel. We had made reservations independently of one another.
The three of us decided to get dinner together around 8:30 pm. By the time we emerged from the hotel to find food, almost every restaurant had shut down and the streets were deserted.
It was funny because just across the border in Spain, restaurants don’t typically even open until after 8:00 pm.
Eventually we found an upscale restaurant that was still open and had a very fancy meal together.
Portuguese Camino Stats
Date: Tuesday, October 12
Starting Location: Casa de S Sebastião in Rubiães
Ending Location: Residencial Portas do Sol, Valença
Camino Distance Walked: 10.1 miles/ 16.3 km
Distance to Santiago: 84 miles/ 118.5 km
AllTrails Map Recording
Click here to view my map recording for today:
Note: the distance in this recording doesn’t match my Camino distance because it includes some off-route walking.
Stamps Collected Today
- Previous journal entry: Portuguese Camino Day 7: Climbing the Camino’s Tallest Mountain
- Next journal entry: Portuguese Camino Day 9: The Magnificent Tui Cathedral
For more information about my pilgrimage along the Camino Portugués, visit my Portuguese Camino web page.