The Camino Portugués

There was a veteran pilgrim I met on the Camino, who provided me with some great advice along the way. I had some really good and meaningful conversations with him; he even gave me advice on how to cope with life post pilgrimage.

There was one thing he said to me that stuck: “When you return home, the Camino will fade and your life will move on”.

I think there is some truth to this, how often do you recall your last holiday? If I asked you what is your most memorable excursion? How long ago was it? And how much do you think about it? If you can’t answer those in a heartbeat, you may need to book yourself on a new adventure?!

My friend’s statement however doesn’t seem to have applied to me (then again, it’s not been 12 months). There has not been a single day since reaching Fisterra, that I haven’t thought about the Camino. The experience is constantly on my mind, even verging on an obsession!

If only I could have 6 weeks annual leave every year, I would be spending it walking across Spain. For those who haven’t read up or undertaken the Camino, you will think I’m crazy for wanting to take this 500 mile trek on a regular basis.

For those in the know, you will get why I’m dusting off my Salomon Trailsters 2, to walk the 160 mile (260Km) route from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. The guide book reckons 10 days. I have booked 21 off, so I have the option to go to the coast again, or I may take a slow pace and enjoy the scenery. My second pilgrimage will start on the 16th of August, 2022.

This journey will present me with new challenges, the main one being the heat. To fit in with my colleagues leave requests, August was the only time for me to take three weeks off work. I envision plenty of pre-dawn starts to avoid the Portuguese Sun!

The Camino Portugués is the second most popular route to Santiago, however there is a dip in August due to the heat. I am hoping this will be to my advantage, as I preferred the less crowded days on the trail.

I also think I will have to be a little more organised in reserving beds in the albergues, it is unlikely I would be able rock up and find a free bed this time.

The ‘Camino Ninja’ app is a must for every pilgrim. I leaned on this heavily last year, it has all the common routes in Spain and Portugal. A very comprehensive app giving information on albergues and amenities for the location you wish to stop at.

I used it to pick my stage ends, contact the albergues and plan my rest stops for the day. A very valuable app for every pilgrim.

There is not much I need to add to my kit list, only small refinements. One being I’ll be leaving my inflatable camping mat and I will be packing my down jacket. You may think why the jacket? But I didn’t expect to need it last year and there were some very cold mornings!

The Camino Portugués is unique in that there are two routes you can take, the coastal path or the central path. I’m leaning towards the central route but the advantage of the cooler winds from the coast are appealing. I could do a mixture of both routes: I’ll decide closer to the time.

I’ll be blogging the adventure again, so you can follow me as I make my way through Portugal and return to that special city, Santiago de Compostela. It’s safe to say, I’m extremely excited, I feel like a child leading up to Christmas!

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