Friday, June 14, 2013

Running in Portugal #1: Porto-Gondomar

I landed in Porto, Portugal, on Tuesday afternoon after a connection in Frankfurt and some delay because of the strike of the air traffic controllers in France which caused a jam of flights trying to cross Europe over France... Incidentally, and very unfortunately, this strike caused the cancellation of Max's flight from Paris, preventing him of spending a few days with us and discovering a new country, damned!

I had checked a few websites advertising several runs in and around Porto, in particular one trail run in a nearby forest but it seemed pretty far away on the East side of Porto. Without precise goal I decided to follow the famous Douro on the right/North bank. There is a very nice sidewalk through the city, up to the Porto harbor. When you see the Museu da Imprensa (Printing History Museum) on your right, run through the parking lot and take left at the harbor dock to follow the river.
You will find there the best part of the run, a very nice bike and walk path along the river for a couple of miles. I wish it would be much longer because, when it ends, you are left with only one option, run on the narrow express way N108. While most of the car drivers were considerate, a few were definitely not happy with the idea of sharing the road with a runner. Needless to say, run against the traffic to see it coming. I stayed on this express way for a mile before taking a road climbing on the left. The good news is that, as soon as you leave the highway, the traffic is minimal, yet stay alert as the roads are winding.

I kept going and exploring the country side, aiming East and, very luckily, found a service bridge over the IC29/A43 highway which got me into some woods with steep and rough fire roads going down to the Rio Ferreira. On the other side, you are in the woods and have a maze of hilly trails to get some good training!
I just climbed to the top of the first ridge, to the power line, but there is at least another higher ridge further East. I came back by the same route and logged 22.5 miles overall with about 2,500 feet of cumulative elevation (2,790 ft on Garmin Connect and 2,230 per SportTracks). If interested and up for a long run when visiting Porto, you can find and download the detailed route on Garmin Connect.
I didn't run with my camera this time but you'll have plenty of pictures from my next run along the Ocean, stay tuned!

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