When my friend Lisa emailed to ask if I wanted to join her for a walk, I never imagined that she was talking about a very long walk up the coast of Spain following in the footsteps of faithful pilgrims who walked the same path for centuries. Pilgrimage is defined as a long journey to someplace sacred or a place of religious devotion. Santiago de Compostela, Spain is the final resting spot of St. James and considered to be one of the important pilgrimage spots for Christians after Rome and the Holy Land.
I had seen Martin Sheen’s movie The Way and read several books over the years about the Camino, but never really considered that it would be possible for me to participate.
Thankfully, Lisa continued to ask and eventually 7 of us made our way to Caminha, Portugal to begin the adventure.
I am sure that I will be unpacking the lessons of the Camino for many months and years to come, but I wanted to share some pictures and thoughts with you now. My mother in law was thoughtful and sent me a blue Camino journal before my trip. I wrote each of your intentions within its pages and carried you with me over the miles as we walked toward Santiago.
Expect the Unexpected
We started in the cold wind and rain with a water taxi ride across the Minho River because the ferry we anticipated taking did not begin running until 2:00 in the afternoon. This was our first lesson. We had done all that we could to be prepared for the moment that our feet set out on the trail. Unfortunately, we were not able to get started as fast as we wanted because we had to wait for the water taxi guy to get out of bed, change boats, and take us across the river.
After a few days on the road, we encountered another truly unexpected sight. The town of Redondela, Spain celebrated Carnival on the first Sunday of Lent. As we entered the main old town, we heard live music and saw the beginnings for a parade. At first we were confused, but were able to figure out what was going on. The dance troupes included entire families from babies to grandparents all dancing in synchronization with each other. As you can see the costumes were fabulous.
Walking Gives a Different Perspective
Traveling by foot causes you appreciate so many things that you normally take for granted. Walking gave us access to paths that lead through small country towns, rocky coasts, forests, and industrial parks. We were able to see things that we never would have had the opportunity to witness but for taking the slow path.
There are many more pictures that I can’t wait to share along with other observations. Thank you to my fellow pilgrims for sharing your pictures with me. At this point, I can’t remember whose photos are whose, so thank you for allowing me to share.