On the Way to Portugal

Day 7: Making Friends on the Way Day – Sao Roque to Ponte de Lima 20 k

Today was another winner on the Way. Wonderful walk in the morning mostly on the old Roman Road. Quite amazing how they built these roads that are still functional today. Loved the quiet and the beautiful country. Met a number of pilgrims today and had good conversations with a few including a young man from Phoenix and another fellow from Belgium. I’m definitely more at ease with meeting people than I’ve been before on the Camino. 

Arrived at Ponte de Lima around 1:30 and found a Pension with nice room for 25 Euros. As I was making my way to the Pension I saw a pilgrim at a cafe and after checking in went back and struck up a conversation with him. John was Irish and has lived in Hawaii for the past 25years. Later we were joined by, Thomas, another pilgrim from Germany. We had beers and shared stories of the Camino. Both had done the Camino Francais at least once. The afternoon went by quickly and it was 5:00 when they left to check into their Albergue. We agreed to meet at 7:00 for dinner. 

I returned to my Pension showered and napped. At 7:00 I met my new friends, plus one more, Phil from England. We went to a recommended restaurant and had an inexpensive but tasty pilgrims’s meal. The conversation was wide ranged and varied and I enjoyed sharing their company. Phil and John had both started in Lisbon and said that before Porto there were few people on the Camino. Most pilgrims pick up the Camino at Porto to go on to Santiago. I’m taking advantage then and enjoying the company of Pilgrims for a few more days. 

I also gleaned good information about coming into Porto as there are several routes and it seems the coastal road will be the best. They also recommend staying an extra day there too. I may even detour to Fatima after all as that would only add an extra day. From what they said the last few days into Lisbon are not very interesting, mostly industrial suburbs so if I needed to cut a day out at the end to stay longer in the pretty north I may. 

My body after 6 weeks, now on week 7, seems to finally be in sync with the walk and I’ve been in the Zone all day for the last two days. No pains or physical complaints. It is such a sweet feeling. I think I’ve lost enough extra body weight that I’m much easier moving and feel light and lithe. There’s a synergy with the road as if we are one. 

When I left Portugal 40 years ago I went the University of Vermont to study forestry. I imagined myself walking amongst the forests and woods much as I am doing on the Way today. While that wasn’t the path I ended up walking down I think what inspired me to choose that career was the sense of freedom and simultaneous harmony I experience when I’m in nature. How wonderful to be rediscovering that experience all these years later. If I could walk a Camino in Spain, France or anywhere in Europe, from spring through fall I think I’d be a very satisfied man. 

Tomorrow’s recommended walking the guide book is 34K but John suggested cutting it short and staying part way. I may do that as I’m finding after 25k my enjoyment and efficiency diminish considerably. Doing so would also add another day so I’ll need to look at my overall route schedule. What I’m learning, amongst other things, is to pay attention to what’s in front of me and not get to stuck in a future plan. What I need comes to me! 

Que Bem! A teo logo mis amigus!


Coming into Ponte de Lima. 


Old Quinta (ranch-farm). 


Old – New – Old – New – Old Again. New Chapel to St. Sabastian. Will and pilgrim. 


Ponta de Lima at night. 


Dinner with friends. 


Portuguese church under the freeway. 

More Pictures Coming!! 

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