We’ve just had dinner at one of the finest seafood restaurants in all of Porto – a small place right opposite the docks, where they cook your meal over hot coals on a grill out on the street.
And walking back to the hotel, it hit me hard that tomorrow morning we start walking the Portuguese Camino de Santiago.
With all the good eating and the swish hotels and the cabs here and the Mercedes van there, it’s easy to forget that we’re about to start a pilgrimage tomorrow. We’ll be setting off on the way of St. James.
St. James has a particular connection to Portugal which I’ll talk about during the coming days…
I reiterate here though that I’m not a Catholic, and I’m not even religious in the conventional sense. But I do feel keenly the significance of what we, or rather I, am about to undertake. I say “I” because I can’t speak for the others on this. Each will walk for their own reasons. Which is how it should be.
For me, this has been a difficult period leading up to the walk. I’ve had work commitments which have interrupted my training, and so I don’t feel as physically prepared as I was this time last year.
As well, I’ll be walking with a knee brace this time. I’m unsure how my knee will hold up doing long miles day after day.
Mentally – or spiritually – I don’t feel as well prepared either. The tour has taken an inordinate amount of organising – more than would be apparent if you just looked at the itinerary – and so it’s inhabited the space in my brain that by rights should have been set aside for initialising into the Way.
Tomorrow I begin a pilgrimage – tour leader or no – and so when I wake in the morning, I will be a pilgrim, setting off on The Way.
A few things about today:
- Catarina joined us, and brought a wonderful sunny clean energy into the group with her arrival.
- We picked up the van – a brand new Mercedes Benz eight seater. To be driven by Catarina, it will shadow us along the way.
- We moved into the Porto Mar Hotel, in Matosinhos down by the docks of Porto – and close to the start of the coastal route.
- I held the first photo tutorial, and talked about the importance of ISO selection. The first fundamental decision you need to make before you take any photo, is deciding what your ISO setting should be.
- We had dinner at one of Porto’s finest seafood restaurants and Steve showed us pictures of himself as a champion body builder.
- Then he showed us pictures of Jill, his ex wife…
- We walked back to the hotel in a thin fog, and passed a wall covered in scallop shells.
- Greg used his newly acquired knowledge from the first Photo tutorial, and took photos using high ISO.
- I was very proud of him…
Bill, now let go of the reins and let the Camino take over… remember in all things, a tourist demands and pilgrim accepts… be a pilgrim and don’t sweat the small stuff, it will take care on it’s own. Everything else, you already planned out to a T. Buen Camino Light and Love to you all
LikeLiked by 3 people
hi Ingrid – thank you – and yes, yesterday after everyone left the hotel, I became a pilgrim again. A walker. It felt good to be back on the road to Santiago again.
May peace and love fill your heart as you begin your pilgrimage. May the brace understand the significance of this its first of many Caminos. Travel with a spring in your step and lightness in your soul. Be safe, and reflective, as always. Julie
LikeLiked by 3 people
WOW Julie you definitely have a way with words. Thanks for letting us all into that part of your world 🙂 Britta
Hope you all have a wonderful and safe journey!
WOW, Steve, even from such a small photo, I’m pretty sure you (and Jill) have muscles that the rest of us mere mortals have no idea existed! What I want to know is what happens to that muscle definition when you stop with the Mr / Ms World activities?!! 🙂 Britta
It atrophies, but why stop? I call weight lifting and healthy eating “ARRESTING THE DECLINE. With age, we decline, but proper exercise and nutrition slows down the decline. Those three pics are at 39, 51, and 69. I rest my case.
That pic of Jill was her first show when she won her first 4 of 24 trophies. It was a week before 45th birthday. No, she definitely does not look that extreme normally, but still incredibly fit. I did not know Bill was posting them. Someone asked if I had a before and after.
I don’t have anything wise to say that hasn’t already been said except I am so happy for those who have made the journey, and I will joyfully follow along spiritually, if not physically. I may not comment every day, but know I am reading and praying for all of you. My turn will come when it is supposed to. Love and peace to each and every one of you….Julie
PS: I just checked the weather and it looks like it is going to be glorious for you all!
Dear Julie, yes, the Camino calls at the right time. It will call you, it’s inevitable – and you will know when the time is right for you.
Yes, so far we’re lucky with the weather. It was pouring all last week!!
Although from the comfort of my own (rented) home, I’m looking forward to journeying with you and your fellow pilgrims for the next few weeks.
Side note – are there albergues in Porto? If so, how do they compare from the ones on the CF?
Hi Kathy – it will be great to have you along with us!! Yes there are albergues, although the infrastructure is not as developed as the Camino Frances. Sorry, don’t know what they’re like, but they seem the same sort of standard as CF. There are fewer choices though…
Bill, you have not stopped being a pilgrim. Every morning you awake, you are a pilgrim. This time, you just have a different focus and purpose as you awake.
Enjoy each moment and let the Camino speak. Be prepared to listen. Be inspired. Be humbled. Be giving and forgiving. Let go. The journey will be incredible.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Sorry it’s taken so long to reply Anne – but thank you. I try to be. I’m not always successful at holding pilgrim principles. But I try…
Don’t we all!!
Bill, you have put together a great group. First 15 miles under our belts. You are a great host. Thank you.
LikeLiked by 2 people
We are all anxiously awaiting step by step reviews of the trek from each of you. Those of us following you all are Camino addicts.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Steve, and you’re a great companion mate, thank YOU!