One year ago today

Real Estate Agent with Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 PA License - AB067198

Leaving Lisbon

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.

Lisbon early morningWalking 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.


Sunrise LisbonIt 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.






Lisbon sunriseAbout 20 minutes later I was down by the river and walking along a boardwalk.



Train station on outskirts of Lisbon and mallThese buildings are part of a large complex along the river, contains a large train station, mall and apartments that look like ships.









Catherin de Braganza statueThis is Catherine de Braganza who made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella along this route. 


Vasco de Gama bridge






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.

Santiago de Compostella trail out of Lisbon

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.

Soup for dinner 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.


Real chicken

Posted by


Nick Vandekar
Nick is a Tredyffrin Easttown Residential and Commercial REALTOR selling The Main Line, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties.

Giving you the confidence to make
the right decisions.

92 Lancaster Avenue
Devon , PA 19333
Mobile: (610) 203-4543 [call or text me]
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If you are buying or selling on or around
Tredyffrin Easttown or along the Main Line, 
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Comments (34)

Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - I can relate. My life altering journey was a year cruising on a boat. Left the world behind and just focused on each day.

Sep 21, 2019 03:20 PM
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I'd love to know how you did it. My feet give out after about 5 miles, never mind 23! Sounds like a dream come true.

Sep 21, 2019 05:06 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor® sounds wonderful, yes, the focus on each day, each step each moment, that sums it up exactly.

Jill Sackler you focus on just taking the next step, it is actually quite simple. Do you suffer, yes, there were times when it was really difficult, very painful, but pain was something a lot of people were going through, so you helped each other out, and you took the next step, and then the one after that...

Sep 21, 2019 06:51 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543 - This was an adventure to last a lifetime. You made what appeared to many to be an impossible journey and you did it with your head and heart in the right place. May you be healthy and continue on with all the dreams yet to be made. 

Sep 21, 2019 07:25 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP I am hoping to do a variation of this route, from Porto, going up the coast to Santiago de Compostella, for my next walk. 

Sep 21, 2019 07:36 PM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

Wow this is amazing ! It is definitely a Life Changing journey !!!

Sep 21, 2019 08:15 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

What a storyteller you are! So vivid and incredible! Love and light and all the best!

Sep 21, 2019 10:38 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Michael J. Perry it is an amazing place to be, whatever route you take I believe the energy and the people you meet will be transformative.

Laura Cerrano thank you, I hope you enjoy the journey, I think you would enjoy these routes with all the energy flowing around them. People have been walking them for thousands of years.

Sep 22, 2019 04:27 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

A friend of mine said the same thing before embarking on her camino - she wasn't even sure why she was going but it had been calling her for a long time. That's so interesting.

Thank you for sharing your photos and memories of your first day. 23 miles is quite the walk! Kudos to you.

Sep 22, 2019 06:20 AM
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

What a wonderful journey to share!  I need to be in better shape to take on such a walk the rewards of the people and the countryside are motivating!!  Thank you for sharing!

Sep 22, 2019 06:43 AM
Stephen Turner
Burkentine Realty Group (Burkentien Builders) - York, PA

Simply awesome! Sounds like a trip of a lifetime and thanks for sharing some of the amazing sights in your photos.

Sep 22, 2019 08:03 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Nick,
I enjoy seeing your posts about the Santiago walk.  I have two friends who did that a couple years ago. They gave a community presentation that I attended. Very impressive. 

Sep 22, 2019 08:11 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Kat Palmiotti Pelegrinos all talk about how the Camino called to them. Many do not know why they are doing it, some find out, others not till they return home. But it is a wonderful thing to do. If you are not called I don't think you will get the same out of it actually. I feel the pull to go again, but trying to work out the right timing.

I was not in awesome shape, I did walk regularly about 3-4 miles, but frnakly had never walked the distances I did the duration of the Camino Shirley Coomer 

Stephen Turner I was in York yesterday, it was an amazing trip.

Carol Williams it is an amazing place, you meet so many people, but also have time to be alone and think. Very interesting.

Sep 22, 2019 08:50 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543,

I like that you photographed your journey.  It is always there for you to access and remember your journey. Memories can fade put pictures help to clarify those memories.  

Sep 23, 2019 06:57 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

An adventure worth sharing thank you

Sep 23, 2019 07:12 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® I also filmed several videos daily, and wrote down my thoughts at the end of the day. It has been very helpful and great to look back over the trip.

Richie Alan Naggar thank you. It was truly an adventure.

Sep 23, 2019 07:56 AM
Steffy Hristova
HomeSmart Elite Group Tempe AZ Tel: 480-966-9353 - Tempe, AZ
Tempe AZ Realtor - Your Home Close to Your Work!

Hi Nick, Thanks for sharing this story and the photos. It is very intriguing, and I am sure you got a lot out of it. I read a few years ago, here on Active Rain, somebody else did a similar pilgrimage in the same area. It sounds like a very memorable, insightful experience.

Sep 23, 2019 07:59 AM
Eva B. Liland Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service 661-714-1643

Kudos to you for being able to complete your journey. I loved the photos you shared with us as well.

Sep 23, 2019 03:17 PM
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

Fantastic - what an adventure!  You only live once, and this is the way to do it.

Sep 25, 2019 07:16 PM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Exactly, Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089 and I say live it to the full at maximum speed.

Steffy Hristova I had not heard that, I did post I was going to do it, and posted a few photos afterwards, but not a series as I am doing now.

Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson they say a photo is equivalent to a thousand words.

Sep 26, 2019 04:56 AM