The Portuguese Way – Day 23

Date: 27 April 2018

Walked from: Padrón

Walked to: Santiago de Compostela

Distance: 23 km

Almost exactly six months ago today I arrived at the plaza next to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, having finished my month-long walk west across Spain. Today I was back, 630 km after I set out from the Cathedral in Lisbon and started following the yellow arrow signs (which mark the route) north.

Today’s walk was surprisingly green, considering it was heading into a city. I walked much of it quickly, passing well over 100 ‘Camino Completers’ (I think I may have just made that expression up), many of whom I had actually never seen before. I chatted to a lot of them for a while before hurrying on to catch up with the new friends I’d had dinner with last night – and at a food van, a few kilometres before we finally saw the spires of Santiago’s Cathedral in the distance, I caught up with them. Beers were drunk, and then it was onwards into the main plaza where pilgrims gather to take their photos and hug. It was all rather lovely. As was the impromptu after-party some of us ended up having in gardens of the park post-celebratory meal. The (thankfully mildish) hangover I had the next morning when I flew home was less lovely… but it was worth every penny of the €2 bottles of wine we were drinking out of plastic cups under the streetlight lit blossom trees until 1am!

Scenically, the walk I did in October wins hands down. The route that starts in France got the looks (without question, it trumps the Portuguese Way) and it sure as hell wins in the popularity stakes. But last time I was walking away from home, leaving things behind. I’d left my workplace of over a decade just two days before starting the walk, and I had a lot to think about. This time it felt as if I were walking home – and I did it with a whole series of kind, generous, quirky, interesting and intelligent people who I met or walked with along the way… and who often made me laugh so much my jaw ached and my belly hurt. I couldn’t have had a better – or more enjoyable – end to my seven months of travelling. If you’re reading this, and we walked together, thank you: you ROCK. ¡Buen Camino!

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About silkakt

I'm a map addict. I nip out in my lunch break to go to the National Map Centre, just around the corner from where I work, to feed my habit. My fix normally costs £7.99 and comes in the form of an OS map, although I'm a big fan of Sustrans cycle maps, the Trailblazer walking guides and maps of the world too. And once I've got my new map, I start plotting - routes, adventures and an escape away from the office that I spend too much time in. Maps, quite simply, make the world a better and more exciting place.
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7 Responses to The Portuguese Way – Day 23

  1. Eleanor says:

    Hats off, Silka. Amazing achievement. I’ve enjoyed these vicarious travels your blogs have given me!

  2. Bill Ludwig says:

    Congratulations! Thank you for your posts

  3. Andrew Taylor says:

    Wonderful end to great story xx

  4. Pedro Bandos says:

    Olá Silka, escrevo em português para te fazer aprender algumas palavras em Português.
    Adorei te conhecer neste Caminho que foi de muita descoberta e de partilha de conhecimentos. Obrigado por teres-te cruzado connosco. Beijinho

    Hello Silka, I write in Portuguese to make you learn some words in Portuguese.
    I loved to meet you on this Path that was a lot of discovery and sharing of knowledge. Thank you for crossing with us. Kisses

    • silkakt says:

      It was wonderful meeting you; it was a very important journey for me. Don’t worry though – I do know three VERY important words in Portuguese… Pastel de nata 🙂

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