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.
Welcome to my Portuguese Camino Blog! In the spring of 2020, I plan to walk the Camino de Santiago: Portuguese Way and will keep a daily blog about my experience. This landing page includes information on my pilgrimage as well as all of my latest blog posts about the experience.
What is the Portuguese Camino?
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. There are actually many different Camino routes, all beginning at various locations and ending at Santiago de Compostela. The most popular route, known as The French Way, traditionally begins at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port on the French side of the Pyrenees. This route is 780 kilometers (approximately 500 miles) and primarily travels across northern Spain.
I’ll be travelling along the Portuguese Way (also called the Camino Portugués) which begins in Portugal and heads north up to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The trail officially begins in Lisbon but I’ll be taking the shorter route starting in Porto. The Portuguese Way beginning from Porto is approximately 160 to 175 miles (260-280 km) depending on which route I choose.
All Camino paths eventually lead to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. This is because, according to tradition, the remains of Saint James are buried at the cathedral there. Over the centuries, pilgrims have walked the Way of Saint James as a means for spiritual growth – although these days people have all sorts of reasons for walking the Camino.
What differentiates the Camino from other long-distance trails?
- Walkers along the Camino de Santiago are typically called “pilgrims” (or peregrinos).
- The Pilgrim Passport (or “Credencial”) is the official document that denotes walkers along the Camino as pilgrims. Pilgrims receive stamps as they walk at various locations such as accommodations and churches.
- Upon finishing the Camino de Santiago, pilgrims are awarded a Certificate (or compostela) that officially confirms completion of the pilgrimage. Pilgrims who have walked at least 100 kilometers (or 200 km via bicycle) are eligible for the Certificate. Pilgrims must also have two stamps a day in their Credencial.
- It’s not necessary to bring along a tent or cooking gear when walking the Camino de Santiago. There are many towns along the way where pilgrims can sleep each night. Pilgrims typically sleep in hostels called “albergues” upon showing their Credencial. I will be bringing a light sleeping bag howevever.
- The scallop shell is the official symbol of the Camino de Santiago and is printed on signs and trail markers to show the way. Many pilgrims also wear shells on their clothing or packs.
- To wish a pilgrim good luck on their journey, you say: “Buen camino!”
Preparing for the Portuguese Camino
This section includes blog posts about my preparations to walk the Camino
- Announcing Unicorn’s Upcoming Walk of the Portuguese Camino – March 10, 2020
In my initial announcement post, I discuss why I decided to undertake the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela as well as my training plan and concerns regarding the Coronavirus.
The Portuguese Camino Blog
I will be keeping a daily blog about my experiences on the Camino Portugués. Check back here for updates once I start walking! Estimated start date: March 26, 2020.
- Oficina de Acogida al Peregrino – Official web site for pilgrims by the Cathedral of Santiago
- The Portuguese Camino Detailed Guide + Central Route Stages – Stingy Nomads
- All you need to know about the Pilgrim passport – GaliWonders
- The Way – inspirational movie starring Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez about walking the Camino de Santiago