Camino Portuguese Day 9 – The Way works its magic…

The Way works in the subtlest of… well… ways.

light and cross

Today is our 9th day, and I see amongst the group several people starting to open up, starting to reassess their lives, starting to question their way of doing things.

I won’t go into specifics, because of issues of privacy – however I see the Camino really starting to work on them – get into their bones, into their souls.

Many will leave this Camino having undergone some fundamental changes.

Will these changes be permanent? Who knows. That’s the challenge, once you leave the Camino. And perhaps it’s one of the reasons why so many like to come back.

As Steve said the other day, the Camino is not the real world. I agree, it’s not – but maybe you need to step outside the real world for a while to see how unreal your real world is.

Only then can change happen.

Couples who’ve walked together the past week are now, quite amicably, wanting to walk alone. They need the “alone” space to think things through. The other respects that. And often the other wants that time alone too.

Allegiances have shifted. So too the dynamics between people. It’s subtle, and fascinating to observe.

What about me? Have I undergone any changes?

It seems my changes this time – or at least the lessons I’m learning – are coming to me through the refraction of others.

There have been a few occasions when one of the group has broken down and started crying – not because the walk has been tough. Not because their feet hurt. But because they’ve suddenly faced a realisation they’d been denying for so long. Or they’ve suddenly seen a way forward that hadn’t been apparent before. Or they’ve suddenly understood a universal truth that hadn’t been clear before.

Or they suddenly realise they’re surrounded by love. Their emotional overload has required a release. And so they cry. And they feel much better for it.

It’s only been a relatively short period of time – but it’s been an intense time – and some of our group have had, or are having, some deeply affecting experiences. Some have had experiences that cannot be easily explained.

Would all this have happened if we’d walked across Tasmania for 9 days? Or the South Island of New Zealand? I doubt it. This stuff is a product of the Camino – the ancient energetic lay line that seeps up through the ancient stones, that swoops down from the lichen covered stone crosses, and wheedles its way into your heart.


Today I felt great.

Yesterday I felt crap.

Last night I was woken periodically by insistent pain from my left heel. Sharp stiletto pain.

I got up, put Betadine on some of the reddened skin – it hurt like hell, but I went back to sleep thinking it would do some good. It didn’t. I took Ibuprofen, against my better judgement. But it worked. It put me back to sleep.

When I woke at 7am, all the pain was gone, and I felt like I could walk half way across Spain again.

Today’s walk was short – only 13kms – from Arcade through to the old pilgrimage town of Pontevedra.

Leaving Arcade was beautiful – fresh clean light as we crossed the old Roman Bridge leading out of town. I walked with Donna and Greg and Julie this morning. I hadn’t spent much time with them up until today.

bridge and boats donna on bridge greg on bridge donna greg and julie on bridge bridge

Greg dropped off the pace – he wanted to walk by himself for a while – so Donna and Julie and I kept going, chatting all the time – marvelling at the beauty around us.

julie and donna on path

donna shot of arrow on tank julie and donna with sheep

After about three and a half hours walking we stooped at a small cafe to have breakfast. I had my requisite Coke Zero and ice, times two – plus some yummy scrambled eggs. The Spanish do eggs amazingly well.

breakfast coke breakfast eggs

Tim and Cathy – our two friends from Virginia in the US – walked up and we chatted for a while.

Tim and Cathy

We’ve been criss crossing paths for near on a week now. Cathy very kindly read my book, liked it, and on my handwringing insistence she wrote a very sweet review. Tim last year walked the Appalachian Trail – some 3000kms. This Camino must be easy peasey for him.

Julie, Donna and I got to Pontevedra before midday –

donna and julie walking into pontevedra


i did my laundry, did some work chores, waited for my beautiful wife to arrive then we wandered around the old town.

Jen in Pontevedra

cafe in pontevedra pontevedra lane shell in church

Jennifer can’t walk past a church without walking into it. Pontevedra has a church dedicated to Camino pilgrims. The church seats have a res scallop shell etched into them.

We only have three more days walking before we get to Santiago. It’s all happened so fast. But a lot has happened, a lot has changed.

That’s the magic of the Camino.

red shell in church



27 thoughts on “Camino Portuguese Day 9 – The Way works its magic…

  1. so so love this post, Camino magic all the way. Your pics are beautiful as usual. Ingrid


    • Ingrid – thank you. Although I was a little late leaving this morning so the light wasn’t as nice as I would have liked. Steve got a better shot of the bridge than me. – but hey, I’m not competitive… 🙂


  2. Beautiful post my friend!

    It’s incredibly difficult to sum up the Camino in words but you did it so well in this post – “the ancient energetic lay line that seeps up through the ancient stones, that swoops down from the lichen covered stone crosses, and wheedles its way into your heart”!

    Beun Camino

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Agree with the above comments. Your pics and writing are top notch. Not that you don’t already have enough to do, but you need to write more books. Well, you don’t have to, but if you did, you’d be a best seller. Elegant and captivating writing. Glad to see another picture of Jen. How is she liking her first camino? How is Arlene doing?


    • Lynda, thank you. I do love writing, and if I thought I could make a living out of it I would devote my life to it.. thank you for the words of inspiration. bill


      • Bill, what are your blog stats? Way, way up there right? If you wrote another book, we’d all buy it. The reason your stats are up there is because of your ability to captivate a reader. You wouldn’t have the stats you do if you were boring and a mediocre writer. All of us would agree I’m sure that you are hilarious and an expert at making us all feel like we are right there walking beside you all.
        PS. Have Jean give a guest blog on her thoughts so far.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Lynda, the stas on the log are pretty good, but they’re not JK Rowling good! But thank you. I do enjoy writing, and I do enjoy being wicked! Bill


      • Bill,
        I have a most wonderful idea!
        A short background first. A few years ago I tried to get my granddaughter more interested in reading by giving her my old Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. Since they were 50+ years old she found them “old fashion”. I bought some newer ones for her and here’s where the idea comes in. In the Hardy Boys books first one brother gives his account of what’s going on in the mystery and then the other gives his as the next chapter. It says Frank here and then next chapter is Joe here. Soooo a collaboration of the three bloggers: Bill, Arlene and Steve on the Portuguese Camino!!! Day one Bill here: Arlene here: Steve here: etc.

        Just think: the port stories, the Vaseline stories, the bootdet (bidet) stories.
        You will be a best seller!!


        • Thanks Lynda – and sorry for the delayed response. It’s been a very busy last couple of days. Thank you for that suggestion. I think blogs are a good venue for that type of thing. If I were to do a book, I would need to do it on my own. But a neat idea!!


  4. Hi Bill and Arlene, I love following your Camino tour and Bill the photos are great. I leave in three weeks for my own first experience of the Camino walking the Via de Plata route with a similar distance to your Portugese route. The excitement is mounting. Maddie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Maddie, you’re going to have such a wonderful time. And in three weeks, the weather will be just perfect, and the countryside beautiful. Glad to hear that these postings are helping get you excited! Bill


  5. We are enjoying following the group, especially reading the blogs of three of you, it makes it so interesting in a different way. I am glad to hear that the Camino is doing its soul work( and not just the port.) Your blog and photos continue to be great bedtime material. Portugal seems so amazing! THX


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