Santiago de Compostela – why people walk El Camino / The Way

Santiago de Compostela Portugese costal. TUUB merino. Garmont Santiago Low Gtx. 2

CAMINO Portuguese Costal (260 km) -Botafumeiro – Guides and planning tools.

Let’s ask Wikipedia what is a pilgrimage 😉  Pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person’s beliefs and faith, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone’s own beliefs.

Well, I did it because of curiosity. I wanted to see how is it to walk 260 km and I wanted to walk it with my beloved friend, to get to know him better after 25 years. Also, it seemed to be a nice alternative way of travelling. I always liked to see the “real life” and Camino is the perfect way to see the picturesque little authentic villages, rewarding landscapes and wild forests (still safe enough for all the pilgrims). Last but not least the local inexpensive wine, the pastries and all the vibe. How long does it take to walk the Camino de Santiago? Simple answer it may vary 100-1000 km. There are few most popular and tens of alternative ways to walk the Camino. The most popular is Camino Frances / French Way. Camino Portuguese is popular as well. Here you will find a short and snappy review of the Camino Portuguese Coastal (260 km, from Porto in June 2018 within 11 days) with photos, distances and quite specific information about albergues.

DICTIONARY:

Camino / Caminho – The general name for the Way to Santiago de Compostela.

Peregrino – Pilgrim, the person who walks (or riding a bike or horse) the Way/El Camino.

Credential del Peregrino – The pilgrim’s passport you have to carry with you and get 2 stamps in a day: one from your shelter, another from some cafe or small chapel. You will get the little book for 2 € from the starting point, at the Cathedral.

Albergue – The inexpensive lodging, often Catholic shelter, often with bunk beds. Cost 5 € – 14 € for a bed or donation sometimes.

4-step ACTION PLAN:

  • Watch the free full movie “The Way
  • Google and check Youtube and choose your route and disdance yu want to walk. Check Camino FORUM.
  • Pack smart, pack light, this is the key!  Good shoes and blister plasters are the must-have! Here you find my travel light ultimate female packing list to walk the Camino in June 2018.
  • Get the PILGRIM PASSPORT for 2 € from the Cathedral you start your Camino and follow the yellow arrows, they lead you to the next Albergue. Do not over-think, just hit the road 🙂  Good site is also www.wisepilgrim.com.
Peregrino passport credential (1)
TUUB is good. Breathable clothing. Wise decision
Santiago de Compostela Portugese costal. TUUB merino. Garmont Santiago Low Gtx (1)
Portugese. Merino wool TUUB is good for hiking. Garmont Santiago Low Gtx (1)

Left: Pilgrim passport and albergue’s map. The map we got from the first albergue from Povoa de Varzim. Passport you buy form Cathedral for 2€.
Center: Looking for the yellow arrows. Porto.
Right: Good
shoes, good bag and merino TUUB are the ultimate must-have for the Camino de Santiago.

El Camino #DAY 1 from Porto to Povoa de Varzim (31 km)

It was too long walk for the first day, to be honest. Cobble stones mostly.
Albergue S.Jose de Ribamar. Be there early, they will close doors and no staff on site.  Cost per bed is donativo (donation). They provided a very nice map of catholic shelters.

day1
Merino wool. TUUB is good. Camino de Santiago trip. Ultimate female packing list for Camino. Travel light. What to pack for camino. (1)

I was deeply grateful for my woolen leg warmers. No link to provide, I sew them by myself. Hint: cut off sleeves from an old jersey. Wool keeps you warm even in case all your clothes are wet. Also they provide cool vintage look 😉

El Camino #DAY 2  from Povoa de Varzim to Marinhas (25 km)

Here we took a little off-road as we wanted to feel the ocean, but the wooden pathway lead us away from the coastline.
Albergue Sao Miguel de Marinhas. 5 € for bed. Very nice place. Open until 22.00

Scallop shell is the symbol of pilgrim.

day2 Povoa de Varzim to Marinhas. Atlantic Ocean, Camino Portuguese Costal
day2 Atlantic Ocean
day2 Povoa de Varzim to Marinhas. Atlantic Ocean. Travel light Camino Portuguese Costal (1)
Santiago de Compostela Portugese costal. TUUB merino good for hiking and travel light (1)
El Camino #DAY 3  from Marinhas to Viana do Castelo (23 km)

Albergue Sao Joao da Cruz dos Caminhos. 10 € for bed.
The weather was pretty cold and it was raining often, which is not usual in Portugal in June. So I got a raincoat from a local store and my boyfriend got a big umbrella. Seriously he said it is much better than sweat in a raincoat.

Portugese. Merino wool TUUB is good for hiking.UPSHIRT. 2 (1)
day3 Camino picturesque (1)
camino. Santiago de Compostela Portugese. TUUB is good 2 (1)
El Camino #DAY 4  from Viana do Castelo to Caminha (29 km)

Albergue Sao Miguel. 5 € for bed.

Santiago de Compostela Portugese costal. TUUB merino. UPSHIRT. Garmont Santiago low gtx
day4 Viana do Castelo. Camino Portuguese Costal
day4 Viana do Castelo to Caminha. Camino Portuguese costal

Hand in hand with my Up-shirt.  #EthicalFashion #ReetAus #EstonianDesign

El Camino #DAY 5  from Caminha to Valenca (29 km)

Albergue S.Teotonio is situated in a suburb, but near to supermarkets. Open til 8 pm, cost 5 €. Good coffee for 50 sents, big hall and kitchen, bathrooms are unisex and not very comfy. No heating. But there is self-service laundry near (the pink older shopping mall behind the modern mall). No bed sheets at all.

day5 Caminha to Valenca. Meeting camino friends on the way. (1)
nature

Making camino-friends is a nice part of the trip. Maria from Sicily.

El Camino #DAY 6  from Valenca to Porrino. Hello Spain! (20 km)

Porrino: superlux dorm Sendasur Albergue. 12-14 €
The Way took us to the awarding town of TUI and then continued via industrial zones.  Also forests which reminded me my home Estonia. Raining-raining.

day5 TUI Padron Santiago de Compostela. Travel light Camino (1)
day7 Porrino to Redondela
day6 Porrino. Sendasur Albergue. Lux. Travel light Camino. TUUB is good
day5

Porrino Sendazur Albergue was super nice. Modern, heated, soft bed sheets with all linen, hairdryer, laundry machine (4 €) with  dryer (2 €), good relaxed atmosphere, supermercato around the corner. No proper kitchen, but microwave and fridge. Morning coffee at their partners which was all lovely-lovely. The hudge croissants, fresh juice and coffee as good as everywhere. But there was something about the staff…Muah!

El Camino #DAY 7 from Porrino to Redondela (16 km)

Albergue parroquial Santaigo Apostol de Redonela. 10 € for a bed. Totally catholic and super warm welcome in a historical building with cozy balcony and with a real nun at the front desk.

day7 Porrino to Redondela. Santiago de Compostela..Travel light Camino
Portugese. Merino wool TUUB is good for hiking. UPSHIRT (1)
Portugese. Merino wool TUUB is good for hiking6 (1)
day7 Porrino to Redondela. Picturesque MOS

We passed a little picturesque village MOS between Porrino and Redonela. There was a surprisingly well equipped travel goods shop and nice choice of souvenirs and postcards also available. We bought all our fridge magnets and postcards form there.

El Camino #DAY 8 from Redondela to Pontevedra (18 km)

Albergue de la Virgen Peregrino, 6 €.  Huge dormitory with 25 bunk beds in one room. The hall and kitchen are lovely and very pilgrim-friendly with all information on walls and leaflets. Laundry and dryer service. Toilets and bathrooms are clean but have the hand dryer – comes handy when it’s raining all day long. The staff will close doors at 9 pm and no-one gets in or out anymore.

day8 Pontevedra Albergue de Peregrinos
Day8 Albergue de Pontevedra. Camino
Travel light for camino. Santiago de Compostela Portugese. TUUB is good 1

Imagine the room filling with 40 people, each having wet raincoat and socks :D. But the chill lounge was super lux and there was a big well-equipped kitchen, laundry for extra fee. The bathroom was what you expect from a dorm.

Mostly the day was like this: highway, rain and shit…but not only, some wonderful villages we saw on the way:

day8 Redondela to Pontevedra. Horse shit. Rain. Highway
day8 Redonela to Pontevedra

El Camino #DAY 9 from Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis (23 km)

Who knows what is this? Almost every house had this in the countrysides. I saw corn inside but is it for drying or they keep it there over the summer??

day9 Camino de Portuguese
day7 MOS. Camino Portuguese costal

Travellers dream. Rewarding cafe in Barro. I could move in.

day9 cafe in BARRO.Pontevedra to Caldas de Reis
El Camino #DAY 10 from Caldas de Reis to Padron (22 km)

Albergue de Padron 6 € besides the monastery in a very good location. Wooden bunk beds in a huge but cosy dormitory with provided sheet and pillowcase.

day10 Albergue de Padron
day10 Padron Santiago de Compostela. camino
day10 Albergue De Padron. Compostela Portuguese
day10 poster in Monastery Albergue

Other enthusiastic pilgrims in Padron. Pilgrim “car” is a smart way to carry your things.

El Camino #DAY11 from Padron to Santiago de Compostela (24 km)

Lodging: You better pre-book your stay in Santiago de Compostela, otherwise you may end up with an expensive bed in not so nice house and long walk from the Cathedral. We booked a nice private room few minutes walk from city center via booking.

day11 almost Santiago de Compostela - Camino yellow arrows

Life is confusing sometimes.

day11 - Padron to Santiago do Compostela
day11 Cathedral de Santiago de Compostela
botafumeiro-santiago-cathedral-caminoways (1)
Santiago de compostela. Happy pilgrim. Camino way with TUUB merino

Left: Last day the Way was quite crowded by pilgrims. Other days we met them, but not to often.
Center:Behind the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela (as the front door is under construction more than 5 years already), Botafumeiro.
Right:Happy pilgrim arrived to Santiago de Compostela.

A Botafumeiro in Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is must-see once in a lifetime.

The dramatic ritual is not happening every day. Here is the INFO when to see the famous and rewarding ritual, a blessing for the exhausted but satisfied pilgrims who finished the Camino.

Finesterre is the final destination on your way to Santiago, ‘End of the World’, people say. We had no time to go there, but you can take a tourist bus to this village next to Atlantic ocean ca 100 km form Santiago de Compostela.

#DAY12 back in Porto. Alive & happy
Porto. Travel light with TUUB
Porto. Bolhao. Travel light - TUUB is good

Bolhao metro station and Rua de Santa Catarina. Lilac line E brings you directly from the airport to the vivid heart of Porto within less than 40 minutes and for 2.6 €. The lovely blue Chapel of Souls and many nice cafes serving local food will take over from here. Difficult not to fall in love with this city.

Porto. Rua de Santa Catarina

Busy and famous shopping street Rua de Santa Catarina.

Porto. TUUB. Travel light. (1)

You can find fine arts in historical palaces – just keep your eyes wide open you will see hidden treasures around you. Thanks to public exhibitions I have seen so many lovely buildings all over Europe. This exhibition was about Manuel Antonio Boaventura, the man who invented the plastic hammer in 1963. Free entrance.


The Way from sky. Bye-bye Portugal! Next time we will do the most popular French Way

CONCLUSION

I see El Camino as the alternative way of tourism and I really recommend it. And the superfine first layer merino TUUB, made by my team is the handiest garment for that kind of walk! Merino is warm, but not hot and it keeps you  warm even if you are wet from rain or sweat – you will get one of them, most probably both. Merino wool breathes and manages moisture better than any other fibre fabric. In additionally, wool products don’t smell after wearing as they are naturally antibacterial! I had no need to wash my merino TUUB, not a single time within 11 days of walking in the nature, on highways, in rain and sunshine. Last but not least, it is very good for changing clothes in public spaces like dorms or in the cafes – as it is a tube without a shoulder strap, if you get what I mean!

Buen Camino, friends!
SHOP MERINO   

PS. Check out the ultimate guid to backpacking Camino 

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