Day 1 – Viana do Castelo
Our trip began on June 12, 2012 when we left home with our backpacks to catch the urban train to Porto, then the connection to Nine and, finally, the regional train from Nine to Viana do Castelo, the first city we visited.
Just a note, the train time search of the Portuguese Railways website only returns connections between trains with more than 5 minutes. I decided to check the timetables of the 3 trains we had to catch, one by one, and I found a more suited connection for us than the ones listed on the results of the site search engine. We just had to keep in mind that we only had 4 minutes the catch the train to Viana do Castelo. But, as there wasn’t any delay and as the two trains stopped beside each other, it was more than enough time.
We spent the first day and night of our trip in Viana do Castelo, where we visited the “Casa dos Nichos” (House of Niches) and where we followed the pedestrian route named “PR9 – Trilho dos Canos de Água” (Trail of Water Pipes). The night was spent in an unusual place, a ship – the Gil Eannes Hospital Ship, which is now converted in a museum and in an youth hostel.
Day 2 – Viana do Castelo, Vila Nova de Cerveira, Valença
On 13th June we began the day by visiting the Gil Eanes Hospital Ship Museum, a place worth a visit. Then we caught the train to Vila Nova de Cerveira, where we stayed the following 2 days.
We stayed in Vila Nova de Cerveira Youth Hostel, located near the Train Station. This cozy place, inaugurated in 2008, has self catering and laundry facilities, a bar, a common room where we can watch TV, browse the internet, play chess or read a book, for example, and a terrace where we can enjoy the sunset.
In the afternoon, we went by train to Valença to visit the Fortress.
Day 3 – Vila Nova de Cerveira, Caminha
We had planned to follow a small part of the “Grande Rota da Travessia da Ribeira do Minho” (Great Route of Ribeira do Minho’s Crossing), from Vila Nova de Cerveira to Valença, but, because of the bad weather, we decided to cancel it.
We visited the “Aquamuseu do Rio Minho” (River Minho Aquamuseum) in the morning and, after lunch, we caught the train to Caminha, the town where we can see the Minho River reaching the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 4 – Viana do Castelo
The last day of our trip, June 15, quickly arrived. We returned to the first city we had visited, Viana do Castelo, where we visited the “Museu do Traje” (Costume Museum), the “Museu de Arte e Arqueologia” (Art and Archaeology Museum) and the “Forte de Santiago da Barra” (Santiago da Barra Fort).
On that day, we found the center of Viana do Castelo decorated for the Medieval Fair that was going to take place on that evening and on the coming weekend.
It was time to return home. That time we caught the inter-regional train that goes directly from Viana do Castelo to Porto.