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Porto - Douro River - Santiago de Compostela - La Coruna

Trip Details

Road Trip 2006 II
Date: Sun, 20/08/2006
Portugal, Spain
Distance: 517 km
Motorcyclists: Manolis, Ploumisti
Photographers: Manolis, Ploumisti
Authors: Manolis
Translators: Ragas
Map: Trip map
Photographs: Link

Sightseeing map

20 August 2006: The stress for the machines wakes me up before the alarm clock rungs. It is the first time in the trip, that I think that we do not have parked the machines in a secured environment. Anyway, I go down and I realise that everything is fine. The square, with the day light, is a lot different. The imposing town hall steals the impressions, while the blue sky changed my mood. We take our breakfast, we prepare ourselves and we drive to Ribeira town.

Despite the fact that it is still early, the riparian region is full in people. The landscape is impressive constituted from graphical, traditional houses and an imposing bridge that links the 2 banks of river Duro, while in the opposite side we see the buildings of known wine manufacturers. In the river there are boats with which, at the past, they transported the barrels with the wine at the estuaries of the river so that they would be transported in each corner of the planet. Today, they play a tourist role. In the buildings that are found in the opposite bank, somebody can try the various varieties of wines, something that we realised, unfortunately, late...

We decide to follow the riparian way at the extent of Duro River. Very fast we realise that our choice is good! The narrow street, with a lot of turns gives us the possibility of finding ourselves in front of amazing landscapes and graphical small villages. The multiple bridges give you the change to move in the opposite bank and enjoy the river from different optical corners, in a green environment with dense vegetation constituted from pines and planes.

The village Rio en entree is the point from which we select to pass in the opposite bank and continuing in this amazing way, we begin to go up hypsometrically enjoying the panoramic view of the wider region. Covering some kilometres we found also the first vineyards, by which the wines of Porto are prepared. The Remarkable thing about the particular vineyards it is their way of configuration in terraces, providing thus the possibility to turn to advantage the abrupt slopes.

Having covered roughly 170km from the Porto in an amazing way that the more exigent motorcyclist will appreciate, we reach in the Paso de Regua that signals the end of the provincial street. From there and beyond, we follow the national network N2 - that in certain points it makes you believe that you are in a motorway - with destination the borders of Portugal - Spain, at the village Feces de Abajo. Before we leave the beautiful Portugal, we decide to enjoy for the last time the local foods. The first effort is unsuccessful, since for the last 10 minutes the restaurant it has ceased to accept customers and served only those that has ordered already. The schedule of restaurants is something that you should mind in the countries of Iberian. Finally, however, we stood lucky and we find a likeable restaurant next to the national road, in which we select the shop’s menu... that impressed us!

Impressed once more we leave Portugal and entered in the NW part of Spain, with destination the Santiago de Compostela. We follow the national roads N532 and N525 and late the afternoon we reach in the town that it is known for its Cathedral. We direct ourselves to the historical centre and after we parked the motorcycles, we follow the paved streets on foot that lead to the Temple of Saint Jacob. This particular temple constitutes the basic sight of the city and the pole of attraction of many persons who follow the "Path of St. Jacob". Basically it is about 2 ways that follow the faithful pedestrians on foot or with bicycles, 400km (from San Sebastian) and 700km (from southern France) respectively. These faithful people- characteristically - keep a walking stick that in the point of handhold of their hand there is a white shell, on which a cross is painted.

These walking people cover this ways by making intermediary stops in specific points (Camino de Santiago), in which they are supplied with a document that proves that they passed from there. In the end of their way, the documents that they have gathered constitute the evidence that they made the walk through this way, therefore they take the benediction of priests - and the Saint indirectly – of the temple of Santiago de Compostela. At our roaming in the alleys of the city, we see many of these faithful people and I am sure that we will meet more at our tomorrow's way to the Bilbao.

Beyond the Temple the city presents enough interest since by walking in the paved streets, you believe that you are in other time period! The well preserved imposing medieval buildings impress also the most exigent visitor. As we walk we meet also a small band, but the time once more presses us since we should travel up to the La Coruna and it has, already, began to get darker.

We leave, therefore, this beautiful city and following the national street N550, so that to cover the last 70km of the today’s day. Despite the make that it has get darker for good, we realize that we cross wooded extents...  At 11pm. we reach in La Coruna. At first sight, it appears to be a quiet city and with the help of GPS we were directed to the harbour, where are found 2 guesthouses that we have located from the tourist guide. Indeed in a pedestrian zone parallel with the central coastal road, we find the guesthouses. For our good chance, the likeable householder of the 2nd that we visited, despite the fact that the hostel is full, he show willingness  to serves us and he finds a spacious room (price: 34euros) at a hostel, that reminds mansions in Thessaly. Before we sleep, we throw a glance in the tourist guide, in order to be informed about the sights of the city, and put the alarm clock to wake us up early.
I do not know why, but the particular city gives me a good impression...