Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

Slow down, walk in mindfulness, and the Camino’s hidden beauty is revealed

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An element of a plaza water fountain in Pontevedra, in which the shape of the spouting water is constantly changing to some hidden rhythm. The statue of the little boy always seems to get his mouthful, however.

Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis (22.2 kilometers, felt like 22.2 except for a very flat stretch of open and empty road after the sun came out)

We awake to a different Pontevedra this morning. Last night, we walked through gray granite and stone canyons, brightened only by the logos and signage of commerce and colorful storefront pitches for their wares, and the occasional art installation. And graffiti, ambitious graffiti murals in fluorescent colors.

But otherwise, a gray city fostering teeming waves of pedestrian life along traffic-free streets. 

Now, in the morning gloom, the rain and the streetlamps have washed everything with a shimmering amber sheen. A neon art project sings like an aria to the skies above. The pulsing cherry-sherbert lighting on a plaza fountain vibrates with a force unfelt in daytime. Continue reading

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Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

Trying something new: Booking ahead for a place to sleep

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A lovely spring up near the peak of our highest climb for the day. The design invites you to linger, unstrap the boots, and dangle your feet in the icy mountain water.

O Porriño to Redondela (16 kilometers, feels like that)

After a day walking in the rain, you couldn’t help but admire the optimism that filled the auberge in O Porriño. Wet clothing was hanging everywhere. A carpet of wet shoes was laid out before the one window that offered sunlight after the clouds broke.

Just the same, everyone left the next morning with damp clothing and damp shoes. We all smelled like wet dogs. Continue reading

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Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

Finished walking by noon? I think we’re getting the hang of this Camino thing

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I was so taken with this stand of trees and the way the rising sunlight played through them, that I walked right past the arrow indicating our turn.

Day 4: Lugar do Coro to Ponte de Lima (11 km, feels like 10)

I awoke this morning without a trace of a hangover. Talk about small and unexpected miracles on the Camino.

Dinner at Fernanda’s table last night was an incredibly joyous gathering, fueled in no small part by bottomless bottles of wine, generous bottles of Tawney Port, and a clear liquid we named “Death In A Bottle.”

And singing. So much singing. And camaraderie. Lots of camaraderie. Continue reading

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Camino: Porto to Santiago, Uncategorized

The Camino is never over, until it is over in your head

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It was a chilly morning in Porto when we stepped out of our flat on Rue das Flores and headed for the Rio Douro. Thirteen days later, in pouring rain, we would walk tentatively but proudly into the expansive Obradorio Square, the end-goal of thousands of Camino pilgrims each year, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

The batteries in my Kindle and iPhone are dead. The list of inflight movies sucks. And this is a very long flight, from Madrid to Cancun. Dinner, such as it was, if over. Blessedly. The duty-free trolly has passed by. I gave away my only two New Yorkers to friends in Porto.

The only thing left to do is write.

And the only thing to write about is the Camino walk we just finished between Porto and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. We finished several days ago but in my dreams, I am still walking. The landscapes are more surreal and with an unlikely set of companions. Most ridiculous of all, I am involved in adventures more fit for blockbuster action movies than a pilgrimage.

I can not explain my dreams.  Continue reading

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