Why do the Camino, you ask? And why the Portuguese variant? Several reasons. We do treks...Everest, Mount Blanc, Abel Tasman, Milford, Routeburn, Kepler, the W, the Inca Trail, not to mention a number of multi-day hikes in the US. The Camino Santiago, once among the great Medieval pilgrimages, is now one of the great 20th and 21st century (recreational) treks. We like trekking, hiking, seeing things on foot. The Camino, in its many variants, offers the opportunity to hike, but then to shower, dine, drink, and rest comfortably; for a price. Expiation for the Sin of Gluttony is another reason, although neither of us at length got expiated very much. Another reason is just the visual and intellectual stimulation of the trail, the Camino, the history, in Portugal and in Galicia. Another still is the sharing of the experience with others, fellow Caminantes from all over the world. Some we hope to see again in future travel. Some people do the Camino for religious reasons, we understand, and I was among them, imbibing spirits all along the way, whenever possible. Did you know that on the Camino the proper way to fix a carajillo is to flame the brandy before adding it to the coffee?
And why the Portuguese Camino? Because a) it's more scenic, cooler, and less crowded than the French variant (from St. Jean Pied-in-his-Pants) and b) we were in Portugal, not France. We may yet do the French variant, but not before we do the full Portugueser, at least from Porto, along the coast.
As the next nine or so posts appear, I'll have further observations and reflections, in passing. As will Vicki, on practical matters, on the website or elsewhere.
|At the outset|
|Granite...everywhere...the principal building material in this part of the world...|
buildings, houses, barns, fences, trellises, etc.
|Plants and fruit everywhere as we walk through village after village|
|Principal among which are grapes...everywhere; even the most humble hut|
has a little vineyard
|Early June, everything in bloom, or beyond|
|Nice suburbs of Valenca|
|For nine days, never very far from a church or chapel|
|On the trail|
|On one of dozens of Medieval bridges (usually reconstructed Roman bridges)|
|In the (star-fortress) walled city of Valenca|
|Roman military mile marker; much of the Camino Portugese|
in Spain follows Roman road XIX--interstate 19; seriously
|In the cathedral at Valenca|
|Last bar/cafe on Camino before Espanha|
|Tui, Spain, across the river|
|Bridge over the Minho|
|Crossing the Minho|
|Vicki, right foot in Portugal, left foot in Spain|
|Looking back to Valenca and the fortress|
|Welcome to Spain|
|The scallop shell becomes the principal blaze, now; and below it,|
the mileage to the cathedral in Santiago; it took us some days to
figure this out
|Main plaza Tui|
|Very nice boutique hotel Villa Blanca where we crashed for|