Camino Portuguese & Celtic Camino – it comes to an end

A year ago, I sat in a train heading to Porto.

I’d just finished the Camino Frances, and I could barely walk. I was in a huge amount of pain from a damaged knee, and the last thing I ever wanted to do was walk another Camino.

I’d scratched my irrational itch that was the Camino Frances, and that was that. I’d done it. I’d had enough.

The train stopped for a moment, to allow another train to pass as I recall, and while waiting I looked out a window and down on a small lonely wooded lane.

Way below me a pilgrim stood at a crossroad. She had a backpack on, poles, and I could see the scallop shell hanging off her pack. She had a guide book out, and she was trying to figure out which way to go.

At that moment my heart leapt.

I wanted to be down there on that wooded lane. I wanted to be wearing my backpack again. I wanted to be lost, trying to find my way to The Way.

At that moment I knew I had to walk the Camino Portuguese, even though only moments earlier I had vowed to myself I would never walk a Camino again.

And so here I am, twelve months on, having not only completed that walk, but I had the privilege and honour to lead a wonderful group of pilgrims too.

And what a time I had!
What a time WE had!

I will remember it always as being one of the most enjoyable times of my life. To walk a sacred path with friends. To share stories, meals, to share unforgettable memories.

How lucky am I?

And then Ireland. I don’t know what drew me to Ireland, but it reeled me in and landed me flapping and smacking on its decking, in awe and wonder at the power and magic of the place.

I want to go back. I need to go back. For some reason it holds a spell on me that I just can’t explain. I need to know all about that spell. I need to feel that magic deep within.

I’ve shared this walk, these walks, with my wife Jennifer who each day seemed to glide along the paths as though she was transported on wings. Perhaps she was.

She made every stage of the Camino Portuguese look effortless – with her relaxed easy gait and her readiness to help others. She showed me what it is to be a true pilgrim.

And so it comes to an end.

But there’s never an end, is there…

There are more paths I want to walk, more mountains I want to climb, more rivers I want to cross. The act of walking is a powerful statement. There’s something inherently honest about the simple act of walking.

It levels you.
It elevates you.
It heightens you.

And walking towards a higher purpose –
Well, what can be better than that…

Two arrows


12 thoughts on “Camino Portuguese & Celtic Camino – it comes to an end

  1. Bill,

    It was a wonderous time for me. Finally meeting you face to face with the added bonus of meeting your wonderful wife, Jen. I will always remember how peaceful and ethereal it was walking with her. Yes, you are correct in saying she glided along the paths as if with wings – she did have wings for she truly is a Camino Angel!

    I loved the friendships that I am sure will be life-long that were formed along the Way. Thank you for putting together the Camino Portugués, it was GREAT, a regular HOOLY DOOLY time!

    Remember what I said about being “Once Bitten”, it appears you too have been infected by this wonderful phenomena called the Camino.

    Safe trip home, looking forward to hearing from you.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Arlene, what a treat it was to finally meet! And then to walk together, and get to know you better. We laughed, hey? Yes, well and truly bitten! And soon you’ll be out there again. My goodness you’ll have to put an extension on your house to accommodate all your Compostelas! Jen and I are flying out first thing in the morning, but will touch base with you next week.

    What great memories we have of that time hey? And Steve too! What a character!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Safe travels mate,

    So glad we were able to share our time together. Look forward to hopefully see on your US tour next month. I grateful for our friendship. Hugs to Jen.



    • Steve, how fabulous to finally meet you in person. Although when I gave you a hug it was like hugging a truck tire.

      I really enjoyed our wale together, and our chats, but there’s no way am I ever going to take testosterone! Or that other one you inject you know where!!


      Yes, it would be great if we could meet up again in the US in late May or early June. I’ll touch base again when I surface in Oz next week.

      Hope you had a good and hearty welcome home!



  4. Once into the rhythm and repetition of walking I know I feel a real connection with the earth. It’s a very special feeling I only achieve by walking. Maybe a walkers high? It’s something that the first people of most lands seem to naturally have.

    I have enjoyed catching up with your blog and the wonderful photos Bill. Thank you.



    • Hi Debbie, you’re absolutely right about the meditative aspects of walking. That’s why I liked the Meseta so much. And yes, there’s nothing more natural than walking. Thanks for the kind words re the log and pics! Bill


  5. Bill

    An uplifting and a sad blog.

    Uplifting because I too get a heart leap when I see a pilgrim. I was getting on a plane at Melbourne yesterday and I even got a kick of seeing a couple of backpackers ahead of me.

    An an aside, when Julie and I were leaving the airport building upon arriving in Melbourne on Saturday morning heading to our son who was waiting to pick us up in the car, this backpacker approached me and asked me if we could share a cab into the city. I politely said we were being picked up but my immediate thought was why is he picking us out. He was around 20 years old and we’re whatever we are, so no real connection here. I haven’t had that request in a long time. I was a little taken aback until I realised I had my backpack on, so to him we were sort of brothers. It was a nice thought. Pity I wasn’t quick enough to realise this and go back and offer him a lift before he approached the next backpacker.

    Anyway, your other uplifting thought was your description of Jen. She just breezes along and is one of a kind.

    And a sad blog? Well it was sad when we finished our camino but we had this bit of thread we were hanging onto as we read about your Irish expedition. It wasn’t quite over. Now it is. …………Sad.

    But there will be a next time and we can be thinking, investigating, planning and musing over that next trip.

    Italy here we come!




    • Dear Peter, we are hooked, aren’t we. If a fleeting image of someone with a backpack can make our hearts leap, then what hope do we have?! 🙂

      Thanks for these very evocative words about the post. And your kind words about Jennifer. I was so proud of her. I didn’t realise she would handle the distances as well as she did. I think Marie helped. I think they had a great time chatting those times. They walked together!

      And yes, I now am going to start doing some serious research on the next one. Assisi is a magical place. Perched on a massive rocky spur, with the cathedral right on the end built into the rock, and on several levels – it truly is magnificent.

      And the food… the pastas and pizza. Assisi has the best pizza joint… (Do they have white port in Italy?)

      Take care, give Jules a big hug for me, and will speak soon.



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