Joni Mitchel and friends on the Camino de Santiago

 

At times walking the Camino de Santiago physical wise, feels like hitting the gas pedal on neutral. Every part of your body aches at some point. Your shoulders are getting beat by the shoulder straps, the hips are pounded against the backpack and get bruised, neck and legs struggle to keep up. But there is satisfaction to it. Sitting with fellow pilgrims at the end of a day’s walk is priceless. The friendships you make are for life and nothing beats hearing other people’s adventures and stories while drinking some wine and eating a fulfilling pilgrim’s meal.

 

Early morning, my friends and I are getting ready for our routine tea break out in the middle of the woods while Pat, our fellow 61 old Canadian pilgrim passes us by and accepts our gracious pleas for her to stop and take a break with us. See? that’s what it’s all about for me. Getting to know other people and their stories. What was planned as 15 minutes break turned into an hour’s long conversation about Joni Mitchell, Brian Adams and Steve Nash. That following evening we were already sitting with her and other pilgrim friends for dinner talking about politics, religion, and all other non-important issues. Friendships were made for life regardless of nationality, gender and all kinds of other non-important aspects. That is the core of Camino de Santiago.

 

 

Crossing into Spain

 

The road from Ponto de Lima to Rubiaes is a steady incline into beautiful green mountains.  Steep paths and breath taking scenery makes it a great experiences, despite every sore part of my body. The Albergue at Rubiaes is fairly new and even offers hot water! The funny thing about the Camino de Santiago is that you can know how closer you are to Compostela by the number of shoes at the entrance to the Albergue. by the amount we saw outside the albergue you could sense we are getting closer to Spain. Tomorrow should bring us to Tui, the first stop in Spain making Rubiaes the last one in dear Portugal.

 

We had a pilgrim’s routine whenever reaching the day’s destination. It included:

  1. Taking off our shoes and socks (while making sure no one is around).
  2. Scanning for new and old Blisters – big issue when walking over 20 km a day.
  3. Taking a much needed shower.
  4. Go sightseeing with other pilgrims.

For our last day in Portugal, we went with all our accumulated pilgrim friends to a fine dinner. All variety of ages and nationalities are busy… well, just making friends. Drinking some fine Portuguese and Spanish wines, exchanging stories of what was and what is yet to become.

 

Pilgrims in the Camino de Santiago taking a break
Pilgrims in Santiago De Compostela taking a break.

 

We were very excited crossing into Spain, mainly because it meant we were actually making progress. No border, no walls, just a plain bridge and a sign that states you are now in Spain. And don’t forget to switch time zones. Tui is a beautiful city at the southern edge of Galicia. The pilgrim’s albergue is located inside a magnificent church and is packed with pilgrims so its better to get there early.
so now all cleaned up and ready to explore the city of Tui, and lo and behold, they have pubs! Fiiled with a sense of Euphoria and excitement about our journey into Spain, all of us pilgrims went for a pint at the local pub…

 

 

Pilgrim's laundry hanging at the albergue in Tui, Spain. Camino de Santiago
Pilgrim’s laundry hanging at the albergue in Tui, Spain.