In April/May of 2015 we walked 350 miles across Spain following the Camino Francis. When we finished, I said to Abi, “Well, that was incredible but I will never do it again.” Ha! You know what they say about never say never, right? The Portuguese Camino is calling and it has been for a few years.
We walked out of St. Jean Pied de Port, France on April 12, 2015 and we walked in to Santiago de Compostela, Spain on May 16, 2015. We were battered and bruised, but high on life and boasting a profound sense of accomplishment even though we didn’t quite know it at the time.
Walking the Camino
Here’s the thing about walking the Camino. It takes hold of you and doesn’t let go. Ask anyone who has walked it and most likely you’ll hear the same thing. It’s why people go back and put themselves through the agony of walking a second time or walking a different trail, such as the Camino de Madrid, or the Portuguese Camino, or the Via Francigena across Italy, or the European Peace Walk.
If someone wants to take on the challenge, there are a plethora of long walks available, all over the world, to pilgrims from all over the world. Want to get to know the heart of a country and its people, walk across it.
With all of that being said, and with my sworn oath that I’d never do it again, I have to admit I’ve had my eye on the Portuguese Camino for the past two or three years. I think all of our time spent in Porto has served to heighten my interest. Especially, because pilgrims are all over the City of Porto, at pretty much any time of the year. They serve as a reminder of life on the Camino.
The Portuguese Camino
Along with having my eye on the Portuguese Camino, I’ve also had my eye on Portugal Green Walks, a tour operator based in Braga, Portugal. The website caught my eye maybe three years ago and I’ve had a quiet little notion sitting on a shelf just waiting for the right time to hatch. What I like about Portugal Green Walks is the way in which they help their clients discover the hidden treasures of Portugal.
Even though I swore I’d never do it again, the idea of taking on a shorter Camino with someone schlepping our backpacks to each destination, mapping out the route and booking all of our accommodations for us, well… that’s the little notion that’s been sitting on the shelf. Turns out, now is the time to hatch the notion. The Portuguese Camino is calling and we’re answering the call. And, best of all we are walking with Portugal Green Walks.
- Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. – Allan Saunders
Expect the Unexpected
It wasn’t looking as if Portugal was in the cards for 2019. With two major house projects on the agenda, family commitments, and other travel plans in the works, our calendar pages were filling fast and we had resigned ourselves to the idea that we couldn’t make it happen. But, then that little notion sitting on that dusty shelf started to hatch and in just a matter of a couple of weeks, it was cracked wide open.
- In life the only thing that you can expect is the unexpected; the only surprise is the day that has none. – Joan Rivers
My heart and head are excited and fully committed to this new adventure. My feet, on the other hand, are seriously questioning the wisdom of the decision to walk 145 miles from Porto to Santiago. I have to prove to myself that I can do it again, under certain conditions, and armed with the knowledge we gleaned on our first Camino.
If you followed us as we walked the Camino Francis you know that I was plagued with blisters on both feet. We stopped walking when we reached Leon, Spain so that my feet could heal. We spent four days in Leon and while there we met a man who taught us how to take care of my feet. He truly saved my Camino. I will carry his lessons with me, along with synthetic socks, not cotton, and the magic of Nok cream. I’ve also learned which shoes work best for me – Ryka walking sneakers with memory foam insoles. But enough about my feet.
Portugal Green Walks
When we walked in 2015, we spent a solid year or more researching, charting our route and booking our accommodations. No easy feat (pun intended) since we really didn’t know how far we’d (me) be able to walk each day. While many pilgrims just start walking each day with no set destination planned or accommodations booked, we wanted to be sure we had a private room and bath each night. It was a bit mind boggling to pull it all together. So much so that when we returned home we wrote a 15-page FAQ guide to help other pilgrims find their way.
For this Camino, Paulo and his staff at Portugal Green Walks will take care of all the details. We just have to show up in Porto and start walking. Our route is mapped out, our accommodations are booked, and our backpacks will be taxied each day to our next destination. Does it get any better?
They have already provided us with a preparation guide and they will provide us with a road book for 14 days and 13 nights on the Camino. I feel as if we’re already so far ahead of the game. For two people who love to walk, but don’t have the time to pull together a Camino trek and only have a very tight window of time, this experience will give us the best of both worlds.
So, here we are with just four weeks until we fly. The Portuguese Camino is calling and we’re gearing up to answer the call.