The Portuguese Way (Day two)
On my second day, my journey on the Portuguese Way began in Porto, Portugal, navigating the bustling streets and city traffic before reaching the enchanting countryside. As I ventured further, spring’s vibrant arrival unfolded before me. Nature showcased its palette of colors, with blooming plants, citrus trees abundant with fruit, lush green wheat fields, and delicate wildflowers basking in the warm sun.
One aspect that struck me was the unique scent that permeated the air—a blend of farm aromas, unfamiliar yet captivating to my senses.
The road network welcomed me with labyrinthine alleys lined by towering stone walls that had withstood the test of time for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The footpath was sometimes dirt, and others were paved with small cut stone pavers.
I had the strange feeling of stepping where thousands of feet, like mine, walked there, wearing down the stones and leaving their haste, sorrows, loves, and wars on them.
Fortunately, the route is very well defined with the iconic scallop shell symbol—a timeless emblem of the pilgrimage itself. These symbols guided pilgrims, providing direction, privilege, and protection as they made their Way to the revered Santiago de Compostela cathedral.
This time, I was accompanied by my son and niece, their presence bringing me constant joy. We sometimes walked silently, cherishing the surroundings, while other moments were filled with awe and amazement. They are younger and go faster. I carried the weight of my years, capturing every moment with my camera, determined not to miss a single detail.
As pilgrims, we were greeted with warmth and kindness, often hearing the familiar phrase “bom caminho” along the Way. While we had yet to encounter many fellow pilgrims, possibly due to the weather and our distance from Santiago, the community and support echoed through the trail. We found water and fruits on our Way.
We walked daily from morning till sunset, pausing only to eat and to rest our weary feet. The food we encountered along the Way was simple, satisfying, and affordable. From three tangerines for a euro to freshly baked bread priced at a mere 16 cents, we savored the local fare. Three tangerines for one euro, freshly baked bread for 16 cents, and three sandwiches with three glasses of house wine for €19.