Every morning we start with jackets, beanies and knee socks. The air is crisp. Within 2 hours we’ve worked up a sweat between our backs and packs – the rising sun forces us to exchange clothes for sunblock.
Below are photos taken in order so that you may enjoy the Camino with us.
Today we all felt like barn horses hoping to reach our hotel in Caldes de Reis (known for its thermal waters) sooner than later. We walked with purpose.
31,108 steps and 13.41 miles took us to our rooms at the charming Balneario Hotel Dávila.
A peek into the kitchen at our morning coffee stop.
Bill made it to 70 today! He said we were either going to have a celebration of life or a parrrtay! He is the first male in his family in generations to live this long. Something that can’t be topped since he is the last male Shaw.
Bill, feeling more alive than ever stepped out in front of all us. We struggled to keep up!
It was supposed to rain today but the skies parted and stayed clear as we walked through acres upon acres of vineyards and rose bushes galore! 27,279 steps and 11.55 miles later we rolled into Ponte de Lima – the oldest in Portugal.
Bill got to choose where we sleep tonight and it’s the Municipal Albergue. He wanted Chappy to have a real taste of Camino living. Chappy couldn’t be happier – he gets to sleep with 9 women at the same time.Tomorrow 1 inch of rain is predicted – 100% – all day! On a good day the path is muddy and the steepest climb of the whole Camino…. Here’s hoping for the best.
It poured and poured for hours. Our rain gear wasn’t a match – we were soaked to the bone.
The good news – today was the most beautiful of the Camino so far. Rolling hills with old stone buildings, rich dark brown tilled farmland, freshly sprouted corn rows and heavy with the smell of manure.
Since we managed to stay on the correct Camino today – we finally met up with other Pilgrims. All die hards. The walk continues in rain or shine.
The sun starting peaking out just about an hour or two before we got to our final destination of Barcelos. Our clothes dried but the shoes are still sloppy.
Another foggy start but the sun broke through much earlier today. We peeled off the layers earlier than usual. The sun makes our packs feel heavier.
We climbed straight uphill out of Agueda into a commercial area – our first experience with traffic lights – they cause congestion – roundabouts keep the traffic moving.
The yin and yang of walking….. ugly industrial areas to beautiful abandoned mansions.
Noisy construction zones to peaceful fishing on a Roman bridge.
Pavement to acres and acres of eucalyptus trees with trucks harvesting the same. ***In Portugal it is imperative to own a barking dog. ***In Portugal out of the cities it’s essential to own a tractor to work the fields and to go to town for dinner and shopping.
In Portugal Cala lilies grow wild
and some decorators have a quirky sense of repurposing.
22,634 steps and 10.15 miles into Albergaria-a-Velha.
Yes – we are staying in the lap of luxury! Reputed to be the oldest hotel in the world – the Parador Hostal Dos Reis Católicos – standing right next to the Cathedral – dates back to 1499 and housed Pilgrims.
It is raining! We love the rain. However, not the perfect weather for several of our friends who arrived today.
The noon Peregrino mass was a bit of a bust for us. We arrived 15 minutes early to find the Cathedral bursting at the seams. Every seat taken. Tons of Pilgrims. Unfortunately, the red, yellow, blue, purple and green tourists groups were also there – snapping photos (it was announced in several languages that cameras were strictly prohibited). It took away from any magic we thought we might find. Their itineraries must have read “don’t miss the Pilgrim’s mass at noon”.
We stood for 30 minutes – feet aching – looked at each other and bolted.
We didn’t feel “the love” – got what we needed on the Way.
Enjoying good food, wine, gin & tonics, Cuarenta y Tres, Drambuie (there’s a theme happening here) and the down time!
Tried to savor every last bit of our walk today. We started in the sprinkle of a warm autumn rain and ended with a partly sunny but cool day.
The walk into the plaza in front of the Cathedral de Santiago was uneventful.
The people who we have walked by for the past 33 days have trickled in at various times during the day so there is no receiving line or party – just a few scattered pilgrims and tour groups following a yellow or red flag.
Compostela (certificates of completion) are in hand.
Tomorrow at the noon mass we will gather with fellow Pilgrims.
It is hard to believe we walked 500 miles. I am one of those who drive around the parking lot to find a space closest to the door so I don’t have to walk. Bill on the other hand parks away from the door and jokes about people like me.
It is hard to summarize the Pilgrimage. Each person walks for their own reason, whatever that may be. I did this because it was important to Bill foremost but I also wanted to know if I was capable of the physical and mental challenge.
I love a challenge. Bill always jokes that I would trip my own kids to win a race. This race was between me, myself and I and I won!!! I feel stronger, more alive, closer to Bill (if that’s possible) and now possess a “to do” list longer than the Nile – a result of hours upon hours of time walking – reflecting and planning.