Friday, October 21, 2016

Camino de Santiago: The Portuguese Route

I just recently got back from a Pilgrimage. Everyone who knows me, knows that my boyfriend is a hiker. He walks everywhere. He does not own a car. He enjoys walking hundreds of miles on the Appalachian Trail, on the Pacific Crest Trail and anywhere else. And if you know me, you know I like to read and I like to sleep in!! But I wanted to spend time with Ryan on his terms and experience what he does all the time.

So for me to commit to walk for 10 miles or more a day was huge. The Camino is a special walk. It is historical. People have been making the pilgrimage to Santiago from EVERYWHERE in Europe for hundreds of years. So when you walk the Camino, you have a lot of support. You walk through towns and they take care of you. There are special Pilgrim menus at restaurants and there are albergues that provide lodging only for Pilgrims. In Europe, they like to say that you start the Camino, when you walk out of your front door because all roads lead to Santiago.

When I walked through Portugal, I had little old ladies giving me blessings every day. They would see me walking along through their neighborhood and ask me if I was going to Santiago, "Si, si, Santiago" I would reply. And they would gush on in Portuguese and I really have no idea what they were really saying, but they would pat me on the shoulder with a "Go with God" type of attitude, so I am convinced that they wished me well.

We walked from Porto, Portugal to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. We took the Coastal Route sticking close to the coast and walking boardwalks along beaches. I really enjoyed this part of the hike. I got to eat lots of great seafood along the way!

Everywhere you go, you get a stamp in your passport to prove that you were there, every restaurant, every hotel or hostel. Once you get to Santiago, they want to see that you really walked the distance. In order to get your Compostela, you must walk 100 kilometers. This is basically the distance from the border of Spain and Portugal to Santiago. Ryan started in Lisbon, I started in Porto, so we had a longer distance to walk. There were no worries about getting the Compostela. I would have more than enough miles logged to qualify. 

Every day was a new adventure. I had such a wonderful time and I loved seeing the small towns and parts of the country that I would not have seen otherwise. A few days were beyond my physical limitations and I did take a taxi ride or train ride to jump ahead to another town. But on the whole, I really enjoyed the journey. 

You might notice that in all these photos, I am wearing the same clothing. I had two shirts that I alternated every other day. I had the blue long sleeved shirt that I wore over for sun protection and warmth. I only did laundry once on this 14 day odyssey.  

 You might think that I was stinky, but by spending every night indoors , not camping out, I was able to have a shower every evening or morning and even though I might have been sweaty and stinky at the end of the day, every evening in the hostel or albergue I would have the opportunity to clean up.

Making it to Santiago de Compostela was a huge achievement and I am very proud that I had the opportunity and was able to complete my pilgrimage. 


clueless said...

What a great experience!

Debbie St.Amand said...

Go, Amanda!

Ryan said...

I just checked into the alburgue in Pontevedra. You know the one... Across the street from the hotel we stayed at and originally thought was a train station! =) U did NOT avoid the rain this time walking into town! I did do the road walk instead if the scenic creek, however. See something new!😁

Tink Rabey-Hall said...

So glad you were able to do this. We loved the movie "The Way" which is about the pilgrimage. We also loved our postcard from Portugal :)! Thank you, Amanda!

Unknown said...

Thanks for awesome pics and story behind them. I hope to do this walk someday. Looking forward to your next journey. Rejan