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Caminho Portugues

The Camino is an addiction. Last time we were in Spain we met a bloke who'd walked it 32 times, but he was Spanish and didn't have to pay airfares. We've walked it twice, or three times, depending on how you count, but the call of the Path of Miracles won't quite go away. Of the dozen or so main routes, I've walked all of the C. Frances and C. Primitivo, and part of the C. Norte. I'd like to have a crack at the longest and hardest route of all, La Via De La Plata, but Clemency doesn't like the sound of the long hot slog through the dry heart of Spain. She would like to do a leisurely repeat of the Frances, but we are both a bit wary of how popular it has become. So, we're thinking that the Portuguese Camino might be a good option and April might be a good time.

Most people who walk the Portuguese route start at Porto, about 200 km from Santiago,  There are several possible routes, including a couple beginning on the South Coast but we are looking at starting in Lisbon, which is a 632 km walk. I quite fancy the Coastal path as far as Porto, and one of the interior ones from there on, but that won't need to be decided until we are actually stepping out of the alberge door early on an April morning in Porto, en route to Spain. The Caminho Portugues crosses the Spanish border at (appropriately) Tui, and maybe I'd prefer to go from there to Finisterre or Muxia instead of Santiago de Compostela.
 We don't want to rush this one. The plan would be to fly to Madrid, and spend a few days travelling to Lisbon via Seville. Then walk at a pace slow enough to stop and smell the lavender. And having already acquired a couple of Compostela certificates we feel no great compunction to finish: if it all got a bit much we'd hire a car and drive.

So, there's about 34 weeks to prepare.

  1. Budget. The section from Lisbon to Porto might not have many alberges, so we might need to use B&Bs. I originally thought we'd drive from Madrid to Lisbon, but trains and/or buses will be far cheaper. I'll need to check that out.
  2. Physical. At the moment I walk, on average, about 7,000 footsteps a day. 632 km in 4 weeks is about 23 km, or about 30,000 steps a day. So I've got to bring that average up  until by April  it's nearly at the required number. Some cycling is a good preparation for walking up hills.
  3. Gear. All the major bits and pieces - packs and sleeping bags and so forth are fine. We'll need to replace clothing and boots. I would like to try and track down some Altus ponchos to take instead of Goretex jackets. 
  4. Research. We need to swot up on Portugal, and on the things it would be worth making a detour to see. 
  5. Other things. This is going to be more of a walk than a pilgrimage. Unlike last time, I'll blog about it, and take photos. So I'll need to work out the lightest way to do that - at this stage my phone and  a little folding keyboard seems a reasonable option. 
I'll keep you posted on how it's all going. 


Kay said…
Bom Caminho!
Elaine Dent said…
Sounds fun and definitely something to look forward to...I write as I lie here in my tent with it raining outside. Hiking buddy and I are starting our 4th and last week for this year if the rain doesn't conquer us. I should have found more time to stay in shape!!! Climbing is harder. Won't make it to the big Whites this year. But even if older and slower, the walking is good for the soul. Met "Kiwi Legs" from your part of the planet. She was definitely a contemplative walker, a person of faith and shared in our morning walking prayer before leaving us in the dust...or mud as the case is here in New England. (She didn't know you, but thought she might have heard of you.) Don't neglect the getting in shape like I have!

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