Camino de Santiago, Camino Portuguese – St. James Way, Portuguese route.
I remember, as kid, go to Santiago and hear my mother telling me stories about the pilgrims coming for all over the world. Some seeking for religion, other to pay promises, others searching for a some kind of spiritual reborn. Others just enjoying the route, or the Camino. And a part of me always wished to do something like that.
So I decided a few months ago to do the “Camino de Santiago”. I’ve decided do the Portuguese Camino. It starts in Porto (very close to my house in Portugal) and it ends +/- 250km after in Santiago de Compostela (Spain).
Isn’t easy. I never though it was, but it’s was harder. I’ve walked sometimes 40km day! But in the middle of that effort, I’d started to feel really confident. Without notice I started to see the Camino passing trough me, not me trough the Camino. My eyes started to see the yellow arrows everywhere (yellow arrows lead the way to Santiago), my legs stop hurting… and there I was walking… smiling and feeling great.
I started talking with others pilgrims. Some of them walking for 2 straight months. I’ve seen people going alone. And lot of couples from Spain, or France. I’ve seen Scouts from Italy, scouts from Portugal. Even people cycling… all of them going on it’s own pace to Santiago. Everyone enjoying their Camino…
And suddenly I was one of them. I was in a multiple culture pilgrimage. Saying to everyone “buen camino” something like “good luck”.
And the rout it self is brilliant. You see great landscapes, marvelous little and big towns. Such Porto, Barcelos, Ponte de Lima, Valença in Portugal. And in Spain Tuí, Porriño, Redondela, Pontesampio, Pontevedra, Calda De Reis, Pádron, Teo and of course Santiago de Compostela.
All this cities have older historical centres. In and between them there’s lot of Roman bridges and roman roads, churches and a friendly people all over . So, it’s much more than a religious route. It’s also a cultural and historical route.
And, it’s a great way to meet new people. Not only the people you meet on the way, but either on the Pilgrims Hostels. Where you can chill and share some experiences and knowledge’s…
And, for me, after 9 days of straight walking I was there, in Santiago de Compostela. And as I was staring the cathedral, watching all the details. Taking photos, and laughing, remember all the good and bad things that happened during that 9 days. I felt bittersweet.. I was there, it was hard and I was happy to reach my goal. But all happen too fast… the road ended….
On that moment I realized that I need to do the French Camino (at least 800km). I don’t know when… but someday I’ll walk it. And, of course…. my Smena will be there. Not to take photos of the best landscape ever, but to take photos of the pilgrims and the Camino.
After all, it’s that what everyone seek in photography, great photos to remember the moments you lived. And you can be sure, in the Camino the Santiago it’s impossible not to have great moments!