I’ve passed from Spain to Portugal so many times, always on train, car, bus or aeroplane. But never I was on foot. The closest I was in Spain to the Portuguese border, was in A Guarda (see here).
So, as far as I know, the most interesting trip to be made has to be from Tui to Valenca 😊.
Both cities are small in size, yet one is less populated than the other one.
We start off from the train station, next to this beautiful two-tone Spanish Euro 4000 locomotive.
From here the road leads to only one place: the old town. It’s not so hard to spot it, just look out for a huge agglomeration of houses and a dark yellow stone Cathedral.
Tui is very elegant, rich in details and packed with restaurants. Expensive restaurants… but well made, young, modern and filled with goodies. But expensive nonetheless…
In some ways, Tui resembles another “international” tourist location. When you walk the streets you feel like in Santiago. And I don’t talk about trees here, but everything: streets, pavement, walls, some buildings and even the Prison shaped Cathedral.
San Francisco Church.
And because is small, is also more romantic than many other destinations.
In the central area, everywhere you look there are details that try to capture your eyes.
San Domingos Church -> as a pilgrim, in this area (where is this church) there are many hostals with rooms to give, and affordable food. If you are in the central area, well I don’t know what some people think, but Northface is not a cheap clothing brand and I don’t know how could a pilgrim even think of buying that… Even more, how could a pilgrim afford a 7 euro sandwich? 🥪
But back to San Domingos -> here you should go, and not just for the affordable food and bed, but to get the beautiful view that you saw earlier in this article.
Tui’s Cathedral is quite impressive. It is so huge both in footprint and in height and it can cast a shadow on half of the city! Quite a beautiful sight.
I wonder, back in the day, people really thought that God demands huge structures? Or the knew that religion, is some way is political but in God’s name? I guess both… And what is even sadder, people had to give up money to built these cold buildings and work at the same time at the construction.
Seeing huge walls made in the name of the One, the One that created no walls but an infinite free world, I decided I have better things to do than ever bother to find the door to look inside.
So I went back, down to the River Mino, and took a look at this beautiful blue bridge, and the beautiful Fortress of Valenca. (with other walls, but not to protect God, but to protect people. A huge difference)
There is a construction that I like: It enables humans to cross, trains, cars and bikes and whatever else and is called: a bridge!
Crossing into another country is definitely a beautiful feeling and it enables to feel free (at least if you do it for the first time).
And this is the best moment: Sitting in no man’s country, looking just at the flowing water and the trees, and two footprints leading in the same direction…
This moment could only be celebrated!🥂
There are many things that I like about Portugal as a country. One of them is that is clean, small and packed with attractions and most importantly, their most famous food is a dessert! Not to mention they speak English or French or both (besides Portuguese and some Spanish).
Valenca is but a huge fortress that once was sitting in Galicia, now as a welcoming friend at the border.
It is a place very rich in history and very well preserved, with green grass and grey stones to guard. It is a perfect place to walk and let loose in your thoughts.
There is no huge Cathedral, just huge walls that make a labyrinth.
Just like most fortresses in Portugal, Valenca is very much alive, offering all that a tourist might need and at a good price. (but mostly you will find Christiano Ronaldo on every imaginable object)
If you want to be away from the clear sound of birds, go to Praca da Republica. Here you will find beautifully decorated houses in white and blue painted tiles and lots of people drinking coffee or just buying stuff.
Sadly there are no fancy restaurants here, like in Tui. But there are good coffee shops and lots of umbrellas to protect you from the sun.
Outside the main street, everything is quiet again.
Igreja de Santo Estevão.
Capela do Bom Jesus.
By now you must have noticed that Valenca is a green town, open, and quiet.
But as you step outside the walls, things are very different.
Lots of abandoned beautiful houses, shattered glass and missing paint. If the fortress has tourists, some areas of Valenca has only ghosts. 🧐
Now this image is in contradiction with the Cathedrals and the dozens of churches…
Where is the church/religion to actually give into care these houses to people, to people in need?
Many cannot work, because they have no house, no ID and no bathroom (to fake the missing others)
Hope these will become houses of people and not casinos… someday…
Talking about houses 😂. In nature, some things are more simple.
View over Tui, from Valenca.
Now as I look back to Spain, I cannot tell which city is better for a visit. I would say Valenca, because is more opened and more white than Tui, but Tui has better food, medieval streets where two horses could not fit, small doors and small houses all on one huge hill.
Even at night, Tui looks like an explosion of lights, while Valenca’s wall is the only gem shining💎 thru the darkness.
Since it took me a full day to visit both, I suggest you do the same.
I hope you liked this visual article and I hope I did not offend anybody…
Hehehe, here is the same train, one year ago, in Valenca 🤫