March 14, 2020: Update
My pilgrimage on the Portuguese Camino has been postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the closing of borders between the United States and Europe. Stay tuned for more details.
I’m excited to announce my upcoming walk of the Camino de Santiago via the Portuguese Way (Portuguese Camino or Camino Portugués). The Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James, is a long-distance pilgrim’s route which ends at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
What is the Portuguese Camino?
There are actually many different Camino routes, all beginning at various locations and ending at Santiago de Compostela. I’ll be traveling along the Portuguese Way which begins in Portugal and heads north up to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The trail officially begins in Lisbon but I don’t want to take a whole month out of my schedule for walking so I’ll be starting in Porto. The Portuguese Way from Porto is approximately 160 to 175 miles (260-280 km) depending on which route I choose.
More information about the Camino is available at my Portuguese Camino blog page.
To Camino or Not to Camino?
I’ve been thinking about walking the Portuguese Camino for a while and began planning for it last summer. But, as Daniel and I traveled across Europe this winter, I lost some enthusiasm for the pilgrimage. I was so immersed in our vagabonding journey that I gave up on the idea of walking the Camino at all this year. The thought of planning and training for a long-distance hike while simultaneously traveling across Europe and keeping up my blog sounded exhausting.
A few weeks ago, however, something changed. With spring in the air, I got the Camino bug again and now I can’t stop thinking about it. So we rearranged our schedules (again) so that I can walk the Camino Portugués during the first half of April. I plan to start on or around March 26 and I expect the hike to take approximately two to two-and-a-half weeks.
Training for the Portuguese Camino
Just like any long-distance hiking trail, the Camino requires a certain amount of training to prepare for walking 10-15 miles a day. Most pilgrims train for three months before they begin walking the Camino. I didn’t have three months, however – I only had about five weeks. So I whipped up a super abbreviated training plan and have been trying to make up for lost time ever since.
Lucky for me, I’m not starting from scratch. I’m used to lugging around a heavy backpack most days and we spend a lot of time walking as we explore new cities. So I already have developed some of the necessary muscles. I also some experience walking long distances thanks to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017.
The fun thing about training for the Portuguese Camino while in Spain is that there are lots of other Camino routes here. During our recent visit to Seville, Daniel discovered that the Camino Vía de la Plata or “Silver Way” actually begins at the Seville Cathedral. So I walked all the way from Seville to Santiponce along the Vía de la Plata this past weekend as part of my training regimen. It was AWESOME! Stay tuned for more details about that hike in an upcoming blog post.
What about the Coronavirus?
Traveling in Europe during the Coronavirus pandemic has been a surreal experience. We were in Florence when news broke about the Coronavirus outbreak in Italy and we fled to Spain a few days later. If we had a home to return to we probably would seriously consider doing so. But we moved all our stuff into storage and don’t have a permanent home right now.
Returning to the Seattle area doesn’t sound particularly appealing, anyway, considering the severity of the Coronavirus outbreak in that region.
Since we’re already in Spain, I figured I may as well go for it and give the Camino my best shot. The situation is changing rapidly so I’ll have to take the situation day by day. If things get worse we may have to come up with a new plan. We’ll see.
Follow along on my journey
I’ll be posting photos and blogs from the Camino Portugués as I have done on my previous long distance trails so feel free to follow along!
- Visit my Portuguese Camino blog landing page for up-to-date information on my status as well as my latest blog posts
- Follow along on Instagram! I’ll be posting photos of my progress daily. You can find me at: https://www.instagram.com/aramblingunicorn
- Subscribe to my blog to receive updates in your email inbox. Look for the “SUBSCRIBE TO BLOG VIA EMAIL” section on this page.