It was 6.30 am when I left Lisbon, one year ago today, my goal was to walk from Lisbon, Portugal to Santiago de Compostella in Galicia in Spain, the Camino Portgues, a distance of about 400 miles. I did not know how long it would take or if I would finish.
I ended up walking to Santiago de Compostella and then walking on to Finisterra at the coast via Muxia. I took what is called the Central Route, their is a Coastal Route that goes up the coast from Porto.
I walked through some beautful countryside, posting videos and photos when I could to Instagram and Facebook. Many of your followed along on my journey.
It was a journey that has transformed my life. The time spent walking, September 20 to October 20 was a time for reflection, these were all old Pilgrimage Routes, you may have heard of the Camino Francaise, known because of the movie The Way, featuring Martin Sheen and his son Emilio Esteves who also directed it which crosses the Pyrenees Moutains from Fance into Spain and goes across the North of Spain to Santiago de Compostella.
There are multiple routes all across Europe. I found myself considering my life and my relationships. I met some wonderful people and had some fabulous conversations with peoplefrom all over the world. Korea, Germany, France, Ireland, America, Canada, Hungary, Italy, Czech, England, Iran, and Holland to name just some.
Id di not know how I would be affected, but I did know it had been calling to me, almost as if it had an energy of its own. The photos below are from my first day, was just reflecting on this today. I walked along the Tejo or Tagus River, passed under the Vasco de Gama Bridge, very large and later in the day took a selfie of myself with that bridge a long way behind me in the background. see if you can see which one. My guide book I was using told me of an organisation which would put pilgrims up for the night. When I got there I was informaed they no longer did that, so had to backtrack about 2 miles to find a hotel after a very long day walking 23 miles.
Walking out of the city I saw this worker cleaning the streets, washing them down and sweeping them with water from the from the fire hydrant.
It was beautiful to see the sun rise over the river this was about 7.30 am. I got lost on my way down to the river,but knew I has to walk along the river so just made sure I headed downhill o reach the riverbank and head north. I think I walked backwards and forwards by this junction three times trying to find my route.
About 20 minutes later I was down by the river and walking along a boardwalk.
These buildings are part of a large complex along the river, contains a large train station, mall and apartments that look like ships.
This is Catherine de Braganza who made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella along this route.
This below is the Vasco de Gama bridge is the longest bridge in Lisbon and Europe being 17.2 km long just over 10 miles and was built in 1998 for the Lisbon World Exposition. It was now about 8.30 am I had been walking for two hours
Once I left the river, I was walking along dusty trails through different areas, some built up, but many very rural. The route once I reached here was fairly well marked and with my guide book I found my way easily.
It was in the 90's so pretty warm, and when I could I stopped at bars, had a drink and asked if they would fill my water bottle for me. Once I got further along the route, people knew what you were doing and were very helpful, this close to Lisbon,not so much.
Yes, that is the Vasco de Gama Bridge in the background. I was walking through a bird sanctuary here beside the river. It was now 12.33 in the afternoon, I had been walking for 6 hours.
By the time I found a hotel, done some local shopping for lunch the next day, washed my clothes and myself and foundand somewhere to eat having walked just over 23 miles I was ready for anything, it was now 7.30 pm. I found a simple meal for twelve euros, about fourteen dollars, vegetable soup, "real chicken", grilled in this case and was delicious, later I got fake chicken one night, frozen patties, so appreciated real chicken; and dessert. These vegetable soups were a staple along the route and were delicious. Generally dinner cost about 10-12 euros, included something to drink, wine, beer or water, and sometimes dessert was included, sometimes it was extra. I slept well and knew the next day would hold pretty much the same. This would be my life for the next month.