The Portuguese Way

 

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The Camino De Santiago experience is one that everybody should have in their life.  For some, this pilgrimage is a lifelong dream inherited out of religious faith. But for most, it’san adventure or break from our ritual life and work.  For me, this walk represents everything I am and STAT is about…a sacred bonding journey.   You don’t need to be a hard-core hiker to walk this glorious trail but you certainly have to appreciate the stunning beauty that surrounds you on a daily basis.

We started in the UNESCO city of Porto on our tuk tuks to get the lay of the land before making a detour for cocktails at The FullSizeRenderYeatman with incredible views of the city and to toast our first of many evenings together on this “Princess Camino”…only  because we had the luxury of our big red bus to transport our bags to our nightly far from hostel accommodations. SHHH…Don’t tell the other pilgrims! The portuguese camino is the second most popular after camino frances (stattrip-2013) in terms of the amount of pilgrims on the trail but we saw our fair share of walkers, bikers  and even horseback riders heading north just like Queen Isabel did in the 1300’s following the Atlantic Coast of Portugal and Spain through terraced fields, lush forests, plenty of vineyards and peaceful sleepy villages.
Walking together all day every day 22 kilometers is the ultimate bonding experience
and we shared some real life stories while still taking time alone to reflect on ourselves, our amazing stamina and blisters!IMG_0132

Loved our picnic lunches fresh from the markets and how we indulged in the portuguese special wines, cheeses and seafood. This group of ladies were up for anything and everything. We played games at dinner
using one word descriptions for each other and took no prisoners with 2 truths and a dare as we made our guide Bruno blush.  Not a first for a STAT guide to blush thanks to Gina B but a first for table games thanks to Jane.

There were belly laughs and tears between eight
honest women being authentic. And when I called an audible on the last day en route to Santiago De Compostela to take us to the end of the known world– Finisterre– my  girls were gung ho.  The official stamp we all received on our Camino passport on the very last square on the page will insure we will be back again to walk the extra 6 days/90 kilometers  from Compostela.


Full of emotion and grateful for this journey, we made it to the soaring Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela for evening Mass where we were lucky to witness the Botafuneiro which is the swinging metal of burning incense from one side of the church to the other.  A spectacular and powerful highlight of a sight which reinforces that once you walk the camino, you know that the journey never ends. To live “a way” of life open to newness is the ultimate intention and we certainly left more than footprints on this Bom CaminHO.

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