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…