Sunday, January 2, 2011

Thoughts on the Caminho Portugues

Summary and impressions of the Caminho Portugués and Camino Finisterre:

Porto was a very nice and impressived Town and a very practicable starting point.
The first stage, along the coast, was very beautiful. Then came "Gotafrio" an extreme weather front with heavy rain and storm and the next stage to Barcelos, therfore I go by Taxi. From Barcelos, a side trip by Bus (1 hour) to Braga, is recommended, a nice town, too.

The next stages up to the north, the Caminho is leading trough nice and green river-valleys, trough a lot of little villages (125!) and comes to lovely sites, like Ponte de Lima, Pontevedra, Padrón. The Caminho is winding, no long straight distances for walking inside, go in meditation, lag your minds. The weather in the first half was mixed with rain and sun. I met nice pilgrims, espacially Setsuko, Ingo and the group from Padrón with Paolo, Wolfgang, Irmtraud and Waldtraud.

In Santiago de Compostela were a lot of people, coming by Bus, and also a lot of Pilgrims. The reason, maybe, the Pope visit Santiago 3 weeks later, and, 2010 was an Holy Year. Inside the Cathedral were built scaffolds, the entrance into the cathedral was only possible over the Porta Santa and from the Praza Praterías, long queues. No backpacks and no foto shooting during the mass, forbidden. The Pilgrims were very disappointed.

However, it was nice in Santiago. The special spirit was all around. It is amazing, for watching the Pilgrims, which arrived to the Praza Obradoiro, the meeting-point. And I was always impressed for the fervancy in its creed!

Then came the last part, the Camino Finisterre. This Camino was very nice, the valleys not so small, with a view over the landscape, and not so intensely populated. I walked to Muxia, with the unique Sanctuary, situated in the cliffs. The leads the Camino along the coast to Fisterra, the old End of the World. A wonderful distance, walking alone. At the Cabo Finisterre, the Pilgrims were full of revel. All the struggles and some pains ending there. It was very amazing, waiting for the sunset and finally - Fin do Camino


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