Camino Portuguese Day 15 – farewells pts 2+3

As I write this I’m in my hotel room waiting for a taxi to take Jennifer and me to the airport.

It’s all over.

I’m sad that it’s all over.

I found that I had tears in my eyes when I said goodbye to Marie this morning – Marie the beautiful Basque – and then Steve and Arlene.

Yesterday morning Jennifer and I walked the Landers Express down to the railway station and said goodbye to them.

Landers express leaving

I took a final photo of them, and it occurred to me that the railway tracks were like the railway tracks outside of our hotel in Matosinhos in Porto, that very first morning I took a group photo before we set off.

Landers express on platform

That first morning we had no idea what the next two weeks would hold for us. What truly memorable experiences we would share – what laughter we should share – what friendships would be formed.

We said our final farewells to Peter, Julie, Ken and Angela. It was sad too. Very sad. But I feel we’ll see them again soon. These bonds formed are too strong to be easily forgotten.

Jennifer and I then walked back to the hotel to find Greg and Donna waiting for their cab to take them to the airport. We said our goodbyes to them too – and again it as though we’d been with them for months. Two very beautiful people, who allowed Jennifer and me to share what I believe was an important part of their lives with them.

Greg and donna at cab Greg and donna at cab closer Greg and donna in cab_

Peter later called to say he’d left his credential behind – his Pilgrim’s Passport, with all his stamps in it from his journey. He and Julie had started further back, from Coimbra near Lisbon – and so it was something he treasured.

Jennifer and Marie and I went to the church where we’d all received our third Compostela – one prepared by the Franciscan monks to celebrate the 800 year anniversary of St.Francis of Assisi walking the Camino to Santiago.

The church was closed, but later Marie went back and ferreted out Peter’s credential – and we’ll post it back to him on our return to Australia.

We had dinner last night at a local restaurant outside of the historic quarter – Steve & Arlene, and also Tim & Cathy, from Virginia. They’ve become good friends, and it was inspiring to hear of Tim’s plans to cycle across America later this year.

Cathy each day writes a blog (he walks she and keeps a wonderful record of their journey. Two amazing people.


Last night I slept nine hours. That’s why I didn’t blog. I was more tired than I realised. I woke at 9am – and that’s highly unusual for me.

Jennifer had arranged to meet Marie for breakfast, and again we had a tearful farewell. She said it was the best Camino she’s ever had, and told Jennifer that before the Camino, she saw the world through dirty glasses, and that she, Jennifer, had cleaned her glasses for her.

Marie and Jen with umbrellas

Jennifer and Marie became very close during the walk – and for Jennifer, Marie was a joy to walk with, because she learned so much from her, and because they laughed so much.

Marie is a healer, and she had offered to do a healing session with me – but I had always politely deflected. Over breakfast, she asked me why I had not taken up her offer.

I told her that I had wanted to walk this Camino without any help. Without any help from the van, from lightening my load with a day pack, without any painkillers or Voltaren for my aches and pains – I’d wanted to be self reliant.

She accepted this, but she said with a twinkle in her eye: “Bill, you are sometimes too hard on you. And you think too much with your brain.”

I laughed and said that my brain was really small, and laughing, she said: No no no Bill – it is too much like this…”  and she stretched her hands out wide either side of her head.

I think what she was saying is that I shouldn’t intellectualise too much. That I should just allow things to unfold without thinking.

I will have to think about this.

As we said our goodbyes to Marie, Steve and Arlene walked into the coffee shop. We sat and chatted and agreed that it had been an extraordinary time together, and that sometime soon, somehow, we would all meet up again.

Marie with Steve and Arlene

We took photos – Steve being particular with Arlene about “headroom,”

Jen and Arlene with cameras

And then we strolled back to the hotel.

My relationship with Steve has been very special. he has entered my life firmly and decisively, and I’m still not sure why. I just know that he has.

Steve & me

I told him that when I first met him, he surprised me with the mirth that lay within his face. You don’t get to his age and have a face full of mirth, unless you’ve lived a life full of mirth.

arm wrestle

Steve has had great tragedy in his life, and he’s had highs and lows that few of us will ever experience, but he’s now has reached a place of tranquility and peacefulness. A place many of us would want to reach.

We took photos and said goodbye. The photos are a ritual of severance, as if they protect ourselves from revealing our true feelings – of sadness, of hopefulness, of knowing that our spirits have co-joined in a shared history that will never be forgotten.

trio walking away 2


25 thoughts on “Camino Portuguese Day 15 – farewells pts 2+3

  1. It has been wonderful following you all on the Portugues Camino. Well done to you all. I will be walking the French Camino in three weeks. I expected to see photos of Semana Santa processions. Weren’t there any in this part of Spain? I was in Seville and Carmona in 2010, and there were processions every day of the Easter weekend. If you are interested I am currently putting my notes and photos on the blog – still much to do to finish that blog.


    • Hi – not sure of your name – but I hope your Camino Frances goes well. We did put shots up of the procession in Padron. it was raining in Santiago on Easter Sunday, and so they did the procession inside the Cathedral. Bill


  2. What can I say except Hooly Dooly! You’ve touched my heart – all of you.
    I’ll share a quote from a beautiful card I received last week for my birthday …
    “This planet, this life, our years, there is so much to celebrate” – you all have so much to celebrate, and so much to be thankful for, as we are thankful for the privilege of being able to walk with you all in spirit.
    Jenny xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Steve – sad to leave you and Arlene behind this morning. Jen and I are now in a little B&B in a place called The Meeting of the Waters, about 100kms south of Dublin. Beautiful. We’ll see each other again soon, I’m sure. Take care, Bill


  3. What lovely experiences you all have had on an unbelievably fabulous trip and the chance to meet so many remarkable people. Safe travel home.


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Bill, perhaps Marie reminds you to think less and PGS more! It is very hard to believe that the group is now separating and follow their individual paths. What an awesome journey you have had, and lifelong friends made. I am so very happy for each of you. I’ve appreciated the glimpse into the journey provided to us couch travelers! I hope you and Jen have a fabulous time in Ireland! Hugs. Julie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Julie – many thanks. Yes it’s sad to see everyone go – and Jen and I left Steve and Arlene and Marie this morning. But We’ll all see each other again soon, I’m sure. Thank you for your well wishes. Bill


  5. It was great to have dinner together last night; thank you. I’m so glad we had the chance encounter in the café which led to a great Camino friendship. Your group completely changed my mind about group tours; you all always appeared to be enjoying each others’ company, having nice talks and fun. I hope to join one of your tours in the future.


    • Dear Cathy – wonderful to have the opportunity to get to know you and Tim a little better too! And wasn’t the food great?!

      I hope our paths cross again soon – perhaps heading towards Assisi??


      Take care, and tell that big fella of yours to look out for crazy drivers as he cycles across the states!


  6. I would totally agree with Marie, Bill. Maybe sweat some things less and use that expansive brain on the bigger issues and definitely let the fun and Steve’s mirth run through it all!! I hope the green of Ireland seeps through your bones 😉 See you both back in Sydney soon. Britta


    • Hi Britta,

      Marie didn’t mean not intellectualising – because I used my PGS all the time through the tour, as I do every day. You have to use your brain to use your PGS. You have to sort through the various signals to work out what to do, which way to go.

      To not use your intellect is to ignore the signals that come to you.

      Your mental body has to work seamlessly with your etheric body.

      What Marie was talking about was will force. Use less will force. She believes that I use my will force to walk through pain, which is what I do. And to push myself, which is what I do.

      But if I didn’t do that, then I wouldn’t be ME.

      I will post more about this, but essentially this past walk was a test run for me for a much longer walk, of about 2500kms – to see if I could do it without pain.


      ____________________ Bill Bennett +61 412 944 777



      • Hmmm… We’re you following your PGS when you tot lostf and walked 6 extra kilometers or was your PGS just helping you check alternate routes for a future Camino? :-). You are rights if you were different you wouldn’t b e you and I love the you that you are, mi amigo.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you for setting an inspiring example of how to enjoy life in general, and on the camino in particular. I am so looking forward to my plans for the Camino Frances in October-November. I feel that I need to get that classic experience under my belt before I start other routes.
    – Clare


    • Hi Clare, I think you’re right: if you have the time and the level of fitness to do the Frances, then it’s a real achievement, and it’s likely you can then do any other Caminio. Keep in touch and let us know how the preparation goes. Bill


  8. Your photo of Jen and Marie is fantastic. That has to be one of my favourite shots of the whole trip. It sums them up beautifully.


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