Monday, September 26, 2016


As promised, here are a couple of shots from the top of our highest climb in Portugal, only 405 meters, but quite a steep one.  We had left Pont de Lima early that morning and headed up the "hill."

There was quite a celebration with all the Pilgrims when the top was reached.  On the way, we saw 
trees that had been tapped for the fluid that will be used in urethane products.

Among other tree wonders we found that day was this one here framing Latona.😍

Another speciality tree we saw was the cork tree, and learned that Portugal is one of the top producers of cork in the world.
Finally, I want to share a picture of the rather abundant chestnut tree. These are often planted in orchards and of course the chestnuts are sold in markets, along with other fruits, nuts and veggies.

Here a few shots along the trail. 
The scallop shell symbol of the Camino.

One of the many, many amazing walls in this country.

A cafe rest stop.

Finding water and rest at the base of the cross.

And a few bird pictures taken as we hiked.  Not easy but I did capture a few birds who are not too 
shy to be photographed. The Magpie and 

The Pied Wagtail (picture from the Internet)

This one reminded me of our Bluebird

And some beautiful flowers. We saw many wild Calla Lilies.

And this amazing lily always surprised me. It seemed to just grow with a stem and flower and no leaves. We saw hundreds.

And a small precious flower that seems to belong to the orchid family.

   *****Often, there is a jewel that someone passes to you as they walk by you or with you.  A lovely young woman passed me and rather than the standard "bom camino" that  Pilgrims usually use to greet one another she smiled and said "Enjoy your journey." Her words really touched me. I often reflect on that simple greeting and it continues to bring me peace and joy as the meaning continues to expand.

The following hiking day, we went on to the town of Valenca, our last stop in Portugal.  Part of this city is inside a walled fortress that dates back to Roman times.  We had a rest day here and truly enjoyed the city.


And here is the bridge we walked across this early morning into Spain.  The final leg of the journey started today!

We all really loved our three weeks in Portugal.  Hopefully, you have gotten a little idea of the beauty of the country and the wonderful time we have had as Pilgrims there.  Now we walk through a part of Spain, Espana, with about 70 kilometres left, and will end the Pilgrimage at our destination in the Cahtedral of Santiago.  

More to come...😍

Friday, September 23, 2016

On the Camino...

Last time we said we would look up on Google the "chicken" statue we found in Barcelos.  We learned that the Barcelos Rooster is the unofficial symbol of Portugal. Now we can understand why we have seen it even included on the steeple ironwork on top of churches.

One of my favorite shot on the way to Barcelos! Forgot this in last post.

So we move on from Barcelos!  Moving toward Porto de Lima.  Again, forgive me for a superficial smattering of all we are experiencing!   I want to share some of the pictures that perhaps tell more of the story than any words can do.


Here is a picture of a picture I took at one of the Albergues. This is the prize, the cathedral at Santiago where we "officially" are received as Pilgrims! Keep you eyes on the prize!

Jean snapped this shot of Latona and I coming in for a rest!

The sky carries its own message.

Several things developed major importance for us.  Perhaps the most important is the Cafe.  We stop at least once a day for a coffee and a stamp in our passport book.  Often a pastry, tooπŸ˜„

A great spot to rest during a hot afternoon is the local bus stop shelter.
And of course the final stop each day is where we sleep. Here is a hostel where we stayed and we had the best meal of our trip so far.  Han is the owner and the chef and he really treated us well!

There certainly is a quality in life that only happens because of the people you encounter.  Sometimes it develops into a life time friendship ( like those reading this perhaps) or it might be a sweet momentary encounter that provides a special gift of friendship just for a few hours.  Here are some of those gifts - Ursula and Bruno...

Pauline and Marty...

And Magdalena and Josie.

And oh yes, our dear friends Pat and Jean who invited us on this trip and perhaps gave us a special gift we never would have experienced without their kindness to us.

Well, back to the adventure of Portugal. Picking grapes in a small familiar vineyard.

Some of the harvest.

Porto de Lima:  One of the many spots to be reminded to look up, and a medieval bridge leading to the church.

This town, Porto de Lima is considered the oldest town in Portugal and once was a stronghold of the Roman Empire.  This tower is part of the remains of that time.

One of the waterfront statues in the town.  When we have access to the Internet, I want to learn more about this statue.

One of my favorite shots to take.  A fruit market in Ponte de Lima. Isn't that a work of art!

Another statue in the Center of the city.

This morning we hiked out around and headed for our first real climb of the Pilgrimage.
A view from the top...coming on next post😍

Sunday, September 18, 2016

On the Way #2

(Please forgive the typos. I am excited to get this published and I often miss the obvious, like the last post said "lentils" instead of "leantos"😍 Thanks)

So much has happened since the last post.  We stayed four days in Alitalia at the Casa do Patriarca with new friends Luis and Monica.  There never have been hosts more helpful or wonderful than these two  people!  They took us to the grocery store, a restaurant for a meal, to a park with sculptures that tell important cultural themes, to a spot to pick up Latona's shoes that she left at the last hostel, and to a medieval castle that was part of the defence of Portugal in the 12th century. All in all they made it a fantastic visit.  In addition, Monica is a nurse who doctored Pats feet and made an amazing difference.


Military fort built in 1141!

  Monica helped us get our tickets to Porto, and on the final day in Alitalia, we wished them well and set off.

From Porto there are 150 miles to Santiago.  Whn we arrived on the train, we went to the Cathedral to get our passports stamped and to find our way out of the city.  

The challenge of finding the yellow arrows through a city maze has been overwhelming at times.  But here in Porto, we begin the final push of the pilgrimage and it seems that the waymaks have really improved. In addition to yellow arrows we often have this official looking marker. As I may have mentioned, the scallop she'll is the symbol of,the Camino.  Each ridge represents one way,that a pilgrim can get to the one central point, Santiago de Compostela.

  ***** Now, I will add photos that really tell there own story. I wish I could share with you the salty taste of the olives that usually come as as appetizer with our evening meal, or the grape arbors that line yards and gardens, the smell of the Eucalyptus trees that are mixed with the pines to make up the forests, and the lovely villages that we find along the way usually with white houses covered with red tiled roofs.  The cobblestones through the villages always challenge the feet but are better than our road walks when we feel very vulnerable due to the traffic.  ( Happily, the latter seems to be disappearing each day!)

A bakery

And a fruit market.

WAlking out of Porto during our one rainy day out of eighteen.

Stopping at a Cafe with a group of pilgrims.

So many wonderful sweet churches as we travel along the Way.

A fascinating aspect to buildings in Portugal.  Tiles are everywhere.  This is in the outside foyer of a home.

Bread delivery.
This church is tiled from top to bottom.

Building the cobblestone roadway...

Off in the distance.

Inside the wall along our hike.

Pat and Jean 

One of the many pumpkins...

So many fields of corn, I needed to add this.

The grapes are beautiful and delicious.

A flock of sheep in the field.

Entering the town of Barcelos over a medieval bridge.  Amazing city...

I am looking this up in a few minutes. The Barcelos chicken.?

Latona with her pack.  Hiking through the city on the way to our hostel for the night.

We have been on the Way from Porto to Barcelos since I last posted.  

There is much to say and to celebrate:

I have been hiking with Crocs due to a damaged nerve in my right foot and doing very well.

Our schedule has been very helpful to me.  I am carrying 15-17 pounds on my back and seem to be getting stronger as we go along. I am sure I am strengthening my 73-year old bones.

We have been exploring a new country and loving the countryside.

Each day, there are many lessons about life as we travel as Pilgrims along the Way. Some are refreshers while some are entirely new insights.

I hope to make the most of the final miles and I am so very grateful for this wonderful opportunity.

Hope you love the pictures and get a small taste of this lovely country and the special people