My hubby and I are finally walking the Camino de Santiago along with a British couple we befriended here in Spain. We had planned to go in May 2020 but the pandemic started a few months earlier. Things were still dicey in May 2021 but now in May 2022 we finally felt it would be safe to go, with COVID cases way down in Spain and all of us vaxed and boosted.
We first heard of the Camino de Santiago when we saw the movie The Way with Martin Sheen. He did the Camino pilgrimage that starts in France and takes about six weeks to complete. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Way_(2010_film) We are doing the less taxing Portuguese Way for one week. Maybe someday we will do the more grueling Camino too. I have been told that one is much hillier than our planned trek. For example, it requires crossing the Pyrenees Mountains. Need I say more?
We arranged this trip through a company called Santiago Ways. They find the accommodations for you and your group and deliver your luggage from one hotel to the next. This way you can travel lighter. We are too old to be staying in hostels and carrying heavy back packs filled with all our belongings. I did travel this way around Europe for two months when I was 21, staying in hostels, carrying a huge backpack and a sleeping bag and living of $10 a day! But that was then and this in now.
People do the Camino for a variety of reasons. Some people are devoted Christians on a spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, where the apostle Saint James is supposedly buried in the cathedral. Some people do the Camino for the physical challenge or even to just explore the area. As for me in retirement, I feel as though I am on a permanent spiritual journey. I am always in search of God and spiritual signs so this trip is right up my alley, shall we say.
We plan to walk 119 kilometers of the Portuguese Way. However, we are starting in Tui, Spain and hopefully walking from here to Santiago de Compostela. The walk begins tomorrow. Today we walked 11 kilometers, exploring the lovely town of Tui. We also crossed over a bridge above the River Mino into Portugal and walked through a fortress on a hillside, complete with fancy shops and nice restaurants. The fort is called Fortaleza de Valença in case you are ever in the area.
Here are some photos of what we saw today on our trip around the area.