We have become addicted to hiking.
You see, walking is really really wonderful. Especially when there aren’t any great big hills and there are lovely little towns with friendly coffee shops along the way.
After finishing our hike in Finisterre on the west coast of Spain, we had booked to stay on the Iles Cies, a set of undeveloped white sand islands off the coast of Vigo. Vigo was an incredibly lively city full of interesting shops, restaurants and cafes. There was a young nightlife scene and I loved it so much that I want to go back for more. The islands were completely stunning and we had an incredible two days lazing out on the white sands and frolicking in the sea. Yes, I used the word frolicking.
However without our little routine of getting up early and hiking through the dawn and seeing the sunrise and the satisfaction of earning our morning coffee we were a bit discombobulated. We craved the quiet rhythm of footsteps and constantly changing scenery.
The next morning we donned our backpacks and hiking shoes once again and set off for the coastal towns of Northern Spain and Portugal and joined the Camino Portuguese the long distance path that stretches down to Lisbon and beyond.
Our new companion, the sea, accompanied us on our right as we took to the road. Early morning mists at times obliterated our view and reminded us of it’s presence with the crash of roaring waves.
The further south we travelled the temperatures rose and the cool Galician breezes gave way to warm orange days.
The town of Oia was our favourite stop. We stayed at this B&B located right in the centre of the tiny village. It has a garden that backs right onto the sea with this incredible view of the local monastery. We were in the backwaters of northern Spain and stumbling upon treasures at every turn.
Well maybe not these fitness areas that seem to be forced upon and decidedly abandoned by each town.
The golden, green Galician coast is the whispered emerald of Spain with few visitors save the Camino hikers.
We crossed the border to Portugal by a short ferry. The distance only being a mile but the architecture and language transported us a distinctly different country.
My love of architecture was reignited by the colourful tiles with wonderfully clashing colours and patterns. My heart fluttered at the sight of white washed buildings and stylish coffee shops – a hint of what was to come in hipster cool Porto.
The weather rose to boiling point and as deadly forest fires wreaked havoc on inland towns we stuck to the safety of the coastal camino and spent rest days at the beach with roaring waves attacking the shore.
Eventually we had to accept defeat as our senses began to fail in the sweltering heat. We took our wilted bodies to the local train station and made the final leap to Porto from the air-conditioned comfort of a plastic cabin. As the stations and towns rolled by I almost wished that we could continue like this down the full coast of Portugal, stopping every now again at the little towns along the way.
In Porto we had landed in design heaven. Our last minute trip allowed us to get incredible deals on high end accommodation and our apartment was luxury to the last. With hidden bathroom behind a mirror, beautifully decorated kitchen and a huge loft suite with balcony overlooking one of the most picturesque tile facade streets in the city.
Porto had stolen my heart. With only two days before our onward flight to the Azores we gorged on hipster cafes, expensive port and feasts on our balcony as we watched the world go by.