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First Time Pilgrim In Need Of Help And Moral Support - May 2017

Discussion in 'Camino Portugues - Coastal Route from Porto' started by Kris53, Mar 16, 2017.

  1. Kris53

    Kris53 New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Greetings Fellow Pilgrims!

    Recently, I lost my 29 year old son in a tragic accident. He died less than 2 months before his 30th Birthday. His death has had a very profound impact on me and my family and has shaken me to my core.

    As a result, I am planning on traveling to Portugal and completing the pilgrimage along the Coastal Route, from Porto to Santiago, in May. This is my first time on the Camino and I have a few questions:

    1. What is the single most important item I should bring with me?

    2. Whats is the best way out of Porto - I am trying to get to the Coast and walk along the water. From my understanding, there are multiple routes out of Porto that run nearly parallel.

    3. Is it necessary to start trekking early in the morning to secure a bed/spot in a hostel

    4. What is the consensus regarding the BEST GUIDE BOOK? Recommendations?

    I think that is a good start. Thank you all in advance for your advice and suggestions!

    -K
     
  2. C clearly

    C clearly Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I'm so sorry to read of your tragedy.

    I think the Camino is a good place to go, to try to recover. I haven't walked the Portuguese route, but hear it is lovely.

    There is no doubt about #1 - very comfortable shoes or boots (whichever you prefer) that are well-tested at home. #2 is a comfortable backpack that is preferably 35-45 L in size (smaller gets tight; larger is tempting to fill). #3 is all the rest.
     
    Kris53, wildrover, Grace3808 and 2 others like this.
  3. nycwalking

    nycwalking Active Member

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    K.
    Most important item to take with: your pain of loss. Walk early or late, your body will determine your flow.
    Buen camino.
    Ultreya
     
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  4. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

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    Hello Kris, and welcome.

    I walked my first Camino after losing my mother unexpectedly. May your Camino help heal your heart.

    Shoes are most important, and then packing light. You ask about leaving Porto. You can do by walking along the Douro from the centre of town to the sea and then just walking north.

    For views of the city, cross the metal bridge by the Se cathedral and then walk by the touristy port wine wearhouses neighbourhood. Fantastic views of the old town. After the second (I think) bridge you will find a small dock where a boat (weekend family fun type of boat) shuttles people back and forth for 2€ or so. When back on the city center side of the river keep walking towards the ocean and voila. You will then be in Matosinhos.

    Depending on how much you want to walk that day you can stop in Angeiaras where there is a camping used by pilgrims, or keep walking to the next stop, Vila do Conde. That is where those who walk the central route will head inland. Albergue Santa Clara is a year old and in the shadow of the aquaduct.

    As for a good guide, I used the Brierly guide and it was all I could have asked for.

    You ask about the bed race. My experience in May of last year is that you did not need to worry about finding a bed, leaving early in the morning (7am or so) is more a function of others getting up and having to leave the albergues by 8ish for the hospitaleros to start cleaning.

    I hope this Camino helps your healing process.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  5. Mike Trebert

    Mike Trebert Member

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    Kris,

    Welcome to the forum. I'm sorry to hear of your loss.

    I walked my first Camino (Frances) exactly a year ago. My son died suddenly, 6 years ago, he was 35. I found that my Camino helped me to manage my grief because the Camino was so simple. You don't think, you just get up each morning and you go. Rain, cold, pain, doubt, 800kms, you go. Research and training is a nice distraction. But the Camino is your feet on the ground, attention, and response to countless details.

    However, I find that grief can be dangerous. All I can do is miss him. Sometimes I feel powerless. But I go.

    My son was utterly devastated by his older brother's death. They were best friends. My granddaughter was 15 months old when her father died. I see him in her face all the time. I made 106 photo prints for her this last Christmas. She doesn't remember him so these pictures and others I will make will become her memories. My son has fascinating and adorable one-year-old twin daughters.

    So it's simple but it's never easy. You feel powerless but you get up every morning and you go.

    Buen Camino, - Mike

    P.S. In my opinion, the most important item is footwear. But your choice must be right for you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
    Kris53, wildrover, natefaith and 14 others like this.
  6. Viranani

    Viranani Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Ingles and Camino de San Andrés de Teixido (July 2017)
    Kris, and Mike--I offer heartfelt condolences for your losses--it is unimaginable, what you must feel.

    Your bruised heart--carry it tenderly.
    (The Camino will allow you to touch the feelings you might otherwise have to suppress in more conventional surroundings. And you'll have the time to explore this new and difficult inner terrain with space and time and no the pressure to do anything but walk. It's the very best thing you could be doing. )

    What to take practically? Decent well-fitting shoes, and a comfortable pack are essential.
    The rest is more up to you. There are packing lists all over the place--on threads here on the Forum and in this excellent book.

    I'm no help with the Portuguese--but others who have lots of experience there can be. On this route you won't have to deal with the hoardes who walk the Frances--so see how it is when you arrive. If it's more comfortable, perhaps book your first few nights and wing it after that. Just remember that you have enough on your inner plate right now, and so there's no need to add gratuitous stress on top of that. If it's crowded and you feel the need to book ahead, do it--it's not a pilgrim crime.
    In your shoes I'd be getting my hands on Brierley and going from there.

    Buen Camino~may it provide ground and solace.
     
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  7. FeatherG

    FeatherG New Member

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    Finisterre Route (2012)
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    French Way (last 100+kms) (2017)
    Hi Kris,

    Firstly, I would like to offer my condolences on the loss of your lovely son. You will find tremendous 'healing' during your Camino 'journey'.
    I haven't done the route you are planning, but 'sections' of various other routes, and I think your footwear is definitely your most important item - after all, your feet are going to be busy, so give them the best start by investing in good footwear, and good socks. Everyone has different preferences i.e. boots or shoes. I have worn boots (Karrimor) each time and found them the best (for me). I have always worn comfortable, thickish, cotton, walking socks; again, it's down to personal preference. Make sure you 'wear them in' (boots) before you head off. I also wore mine on the flight, to save room in my back-pack; but do whatever suits you. Pack light. You will thank yourself on your journey. As a female, I would have thought we would have more 'baggage', but I was fascinated at some of the 'stuff' the guys were carrying. Keep it simple.
    The only other advice I'll offer is - don't have any expectations, and don't put 'demands' on yourself. Listen to your body, and take it one day at a time. Talk to people when you feel like it, but remember to take some 'space' for yourself. This is Your Camino. Do it Your way.
    I believe in angels, and during all my Camino 'journeys' (4 separate sections, so far, on different routes - I like variety!) I have met and spoken to many people en route, and sometimes even helped them 'connect' with their loved ones in spirit. Use this 'journey' as a special time to 'reconnect' with your son. He will be there as a 'guiding companion', whenever you need him.
    Accommodation shouldn't be a problem in May, and it's always easier for solo male travellers; you should be fine.
    So, start thinking of what you need, get into 'Camino spirit', and I promise you, this will be an unforgettable experience for you Kris. You may even find yourself returning, possibly with some family members or friends. The 'Camino bug' is catching!
    Enjoy every minute. Buen Camino!
     
  8. KariC

    KariC Member

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    Hi, Kris -
    So sorry for your loss.
    When I hiked the Portugues, for a water bottle I carried the bottle my father had used when he was healthy enough to hike. It was tremendously meaningful to me, and symbolic of the support he gave me throughout his life. Is there something like that of your son's you could bring?
    When I hiked it last September, there was not the "race for a bed" you hear about with the Français. I only called ahead for a reservation heading into Santiago - before reaching Santiago there were no problems, but I wanted to be near the center of town and didn't want to be wandering from hostal to hostal. I really enjoyed the Last Stamp. Along the Portugues, I got the sense of knowing my neighbors in the smaller hostels that are typical of that route, but Santiago is obviously much larger and impersonal. The Last Stamp has lockers with combinations for your stuff right next to your bunk, so you can wander around town and not worry about stuff you left on your bed and who's in and out of there.
    I spent the night in Matosinhos, which is where the coastal path goes, and wandered around the town the afternoon before starting my camino. I found the start of the camino, so the next morning, with pack on, I knew right where to go.
    I had Brierly's guide with me, but honestly, didn't use it much at all.
    I hope you find peace and healing on your Camino.
    Bom caminho!
     
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  9. David

    David Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Kris, hello. Such pain, such utter pain, that the mind gnaws at the way a tongue searches out a broken tooth. Such pain.

    There are only two things that help; openness to allow the grief, and time. You will not forget but the pain will go.
    There is also often rage - so do not be afraid (or guilty!), when you find yourself at the top of a hill and really isolated, to shout and scream - to let it out ... it can be a good thing. Such pain .... trust me on this, you will laugh again, you will make love again, you will heal you know - going on Camino is a marvellous idea - just ... well ... do not be afraid to cry, to scream, to rage, to be silent ... let the painful process of healing be the painful process of healing.

    You know .. I don't know if this will help or not and am hesitant to write it, but I will, and I apologise if it is inappropriate ...
    no one dies, in the sense of 'not being' ... the body breaks but the person doesn't and I have direct experience of this. Some years ago I attended a man who had had a heart attack on a bus. He had fallen, cut his head, and, as with many heart attacks, was producing phlegm so it was all rather messy. His heart had stopped and I started doing cpr - rather, I got a volunteer to do the chest compressions whilst I did the mouth to mouth - no mask so face to face, skin to skin, touch to touch. He was dead, then we brought him back - he literally 'popped in', eyes suddenly open and startled .. then we lost him again, brought him back again, he 'popped' in again, looking startled again .. and through all this time I was working on what felt like a living person .. and then - and I was mouth to mouth with him, total contact, I felt him 'withdraw' ... leave the body ... I felt this absolutely clearly .. that he hadn't died but had somehow withdrawn .. and at that moment his body for the first time went dead to the touch, the life force had left it. I glanced across to the woman at his chest and we looked at each other and had both felt it. We had to carry on until the ambulance finally arrived (they went to the wrong place so were very late) but we both knew that he had gone.
    I felt this Kris, I felt him withdraw from his body - I felt a whole person move elsewhere and leave behind a shell, a spacesuit I guess. So I know, with utter certainty, that we do not die, we withdraw, whole and complete and alive, we merely withdraw.
    In a religious sense we fall up out of our broken bodies and into the arms of angels.

    Does this help you? I don't know, I hope so - I wish you well Kris - and all others who have lost a loved one, especially a child, grown to adulthood or not, I wish you well - enjoy your Camino, let it be all that it can be, and however alone you may feel, you will not be alone, not at all.

    Buen Camino Kris xx
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
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  10. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Active Member

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    In reading your post, Kris, I am overwhelmed by sadness for your loss. Then in reading all the responses from this forum community I was once again overwhelmed by all the compassion expressed (and good advise given). I say "ditto" to their sentiments as I can add nothing more to their heartfelt words. I do hope your Camino experience provides everything you need to help with your healing process.
     
  11. musicman

    musicman Active Member

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    Camino Francés: Late May 2004. Sarria to Santiago (sponsored for charity)
    Camino Del Norte: September 2011. Luarca to Santiago
    Portuguese Central: September 2012. Porto to Santiago
    Portuguese Coastal: June 2013. Lisbon to Porto (not waymarked)
    Portuguese Coastal: September 2013. Porto to Santiago
    Via de la Plata: April 2015. Seville to Caceres, Stage I
    Camino Inglés: September 2015. Ferrol to Santiago
    Via de la Plata: Planned for April 2016. Caceres to Zamora, Stage II
    Kris, my heartfelt sympathy for the loss of your son.
    I can only say that I have walked this route and it is wonderful.
    I left Porto, via the Metro, to Matasinhos Mercardo, from there you walk over the bridge to the coast.
    If you go onto the " thread" for Camino Portuguese, on this site you will find lots of advice, including a link to my spreadsheet of accommodation,
    to which you would be very welcome.
    Bon Camino
     
  12. Dick Pickering

    Dick Pickering New Member

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    Did entire Frances in 2013 and SJPP to Leon in 2014.
    Plan to do Lisbon to Santiago in 2015.
    We too loss a son at about the same age through a tragic boat accident. Our most sincere condolences.
    1. Good walking shoes and light clothing. A sleeping liner will be sufficient, a sleeping bag is not required. You should be able to keep your bag weight down to 12-13 pounds.
    2. Take metro to Matasinhos. You will walk on boardwalks along the sea for about 20 km. It is very pretty. the main stop is Vila Do Conde.
    3. There are not that many pilgrims on this route. You do not have to race to get a bed.
    4. We used John Brierley's Camino Portugues and found it very good.

    You will like this route. We did it from Lisbon and found the first sections too long and almost no pilgrims. We found that talking about our son's death on the Camino was helpful. Everyone has a story to tell and walking and talking is a good way to release the pain.
     
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  13. BillyJane70

    BillyJane70 New Member

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    Love to you. May the Way rise up to meet you and give you what you most need each and every day...whatever that may be. Buen camino
     
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  14. IngridF

    IngridF Active Member Donating Member

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    July 2015 C. Portugues - Porto
    Hospitalera in Zamora July 15 - 31 2015
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    Hospitalera in Miraz August 12 - 27 2015
    September 2015: Camino Inglese, Fisterra and Muxia
    2017: C. Aragones via Lourdes May 26 - June 13
    Options: Invierno or Salvador or meeting up with Camino friends walking CF
    July 1 - 15 2017 Volunteer Pilgrims Office Santiago!
    July 16- 31 Hospitalera in Grado
    August: Camino Primitivo
    Light and Love to you. So sorry for your loss. Most important, good shoes and then just walk and listen to your body, your heart and let the Camino do it's magic. If you love the water, stay on the coast, it will be more isolated. If you crave company change over to the "regular Camino". Ultreia
     
  15. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I'm so sorry about your son.
    I can't even begin to imagine what you're going through.
    I have walked the Portuguese route, but it was a long time ago.
    I'll let the others who have walked more recently answer.
    I have heard, through the grapevine, that the coastal route is easier.
     
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  16. Cheryl Patricia

    Cheryl Patricia New Member

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    Kris, I pray that the Camino will bring you comfort and peace. I plan walking from Lisbon in early April and taking it slowly so perhaps our paths will cross. Agaim many thanks for all those who responded to Kris's questions, I found it most helpful.
     
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  17. Coleen Clark

    Coleen Clark Active Member Donating Member

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    My condolences, Kris.
    When my little sister Fay was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, we spent her last 6 months doing One Fun Thing every day. On the days she could not get out we would watch movies or play Scrabble. We watched "The Way" together, and she said "You can do that!" and made me promise to take her ashes to Cruz de Ferro.
    I did. I think she saved me. That Camino allowed me to grieve in ways I could not have if I had sat at home and wallowed in it. The Camino broke me down and emptied me, then filled me with strength and miracles.
    I miss that feeling. I am going back in August, walking during harvest and festival season. This time I carry only my memories of her.
    Wear good shoes.
    Walk in faith.
    The Camino provides, and even when you don't think it could possibly work, it does.
    Buen Camino.
     
  18. FLEUR

    FLEUR Active Member

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    We met a lovely lady walking the CF, her young son had been killed a few years before. All along her whole Camino a tour company had booked her accommodation in small guest houses etc. She said she needed her own room and space at night. Mostly she walked alone but sometimes enjoyed walking and talking with others .

    As others have said the Camino walk provides a great time for contemplation and in my opinion walking can be a great healer.
    In Santiago my friend and I stayed at the Seminario Menor where we each had a very simple single room at a very reasonable price. This might suit your needs. In the basement they have a good little food shop, plenty of room to sit and good cooking facilities.

    Look after yourself, take care and never let go of those dear memories of your son.
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2017
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  19. linkster

    linkster Active Member

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    Kris I am sorry for your loss, but your son is with you.

    Those we love don't go away,
    They walk beside us every day.
    Unseen, unheard, but always near,
    Still loved, still missed and forever dear.
     
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  20. tabbyCat

    tabbyCat New Member

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    planning for 2017
    thank y ou for sharing this experience.
     
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  21. Debora

    Debora Beautiful Burgos

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    Kris: I will say a prayer that God will use his perfect love to heal your heart.

    So, you are getting lots of #1's like you asked for and I agree with the suggestions given. I thought you might like to view this Youtube video of someone who walked the same route you are taking.
    Buen Camino my dear brother.
     
  22. Coleen Clark

    Coleen Clark Active Member Donating Member

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    Debora!
    You are as cute as a bug's ear! Thank you for all the information! I am playing a game of Pong in my head about my upcoming Camino. I did the Frances in 2015, but got the Brierley's for Portuguese and cannot decide. So, it's Pong, and until I land in Lisbon in August I'll just paddle back and forth, and where she stops nobody knows. Do I want new scenery and adventure or do I want to relive a wonderful time?
    I am glad you let Kris know that first timers have little or no problems taking Portuguese rather than the usual Frances. Sometimes we walk with the crowd, and sometimes we need solitude.
     
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  23. Debora

    Debora Beautiful Burgos

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    Thank you Colleen...but the pilgrim in the video is not me...it is a YouTube video I watched. She has a number of Camino videos that are very helpful. Regarding you and which Camino to walk this year...have you considered the Norte? That's the next one on my list. Buen Camino my friend.
     
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  24. Coleen Clark

    Coleen Clark Active Member Donating Member

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    Darn. Now I have to buy another book.
    I never do anything without the book, I love maps.
     
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  25. JennyH94

    JennyH94 Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Hi Kris -

    My condolences to you and your family and friends on the tragic death of your precious son.

    The responses so far have been absolutely outstanding and so beautiful - thank you to all who've participated in this thread.

    Some thoughts which might help ...

    Firstly, dedicate your camino to your son. Each morning when you wake up, before you leave the warm cocoon of your sleeping bag, think of your son and silently tell him how much you love him, say a prayer for him and let him know that each and every day of your camino is dedicated to him. Your dedication can be formalised in writing at the pilgrims office in Santiago - see below.

    Secondly, Dan Mullins - DanfromSydney here on the Forum - walked from Sahagun to Santiago last year. He turned 50 the day he walked into Santiago. Something he did on his pilgrimage I found to be wonderful - he looked back on his life in 5 year blocks - 0-5, 5-10, 10-15 etc etc. He went back to those years and reflected on them, remembered where he lived, looked back fondly on family life, acknowledged difficulties and sadness from some of the years - he even sang songs from all those years as he walked along. Perhaps if you did something like this, thinking of your whole family but particularly of your son, it would help.

    Thirdly, bring along a couple of tea light candles from home and buy a cigarette lighter in Portugal when you arrive, keep them handy in a small ziplock bag and when you go into a church and are sitting quietly, light the candle for your son - have some time with him in spirit - say a prayer, blow out the candle, let the wick cool and then pack it back in the bag before you leave. You'll always have a candle to light for your son if you do this.

    Finally, when I walked into Santiago in May 2012 and lined up at the pilgrims office to receive my compostela, I saw a huge leather-bound register, similar to those huge old family bibles - it was enormous. It was a guestbook of sorts for pilgrims to write a message in - however - the pages I looked at mostly contained dedications to loved ones - the dedications were so beautiful - it was overwhelming. Once I received my compostela I wrote a message for my dear Mum (died 2007 aged 92) and Dad (died 1982 aged 62) - I had dedicated my camino to them for bringing me to life, for their love and for all the important life gifts they had given me. It gave me joy to know that Mum and Dad were with me in spirit on the Camino and that my message of love and thanks will always be in Santiago. I hope that the registers are still at the pilgrim office - it's a wonderful and uplifting experience to write in one of those registers.

    May the ancient and sacred paths of the Camino help you to heal and may you take joy in every step.

    Buen Camino - Jenny
     
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  26. BevTag

    BevTag New Member

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    None (2017/2018)
     
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  27. BevTag

    BevTag New Member

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    Kris, I understand what you're going through. I lost my son tragically and unexpectedly as well. He died the month before his 32nd birthday. I plan to walk part of the same camino at about the same time. Nothing makes sense to me anymore and I'm hoping I can connect with Kyle when I'm in Portugal. I'm so sorry that we have this in common. May peace be your companion.
    Bev
     
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  28. BevTag

    BevTag New Member

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    I so hope this is true.
     
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  29. Anemone del Camino

    Anemone del Camino Anemone

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Canada
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances from 2006 to 2013. Camino del Norte from Donostia to Llanes - 2014. May 2015: Primitivo. May 2016: Portuguese central + variante espiritual.
    Kris, it occurs to me that you may not be aware that, if you wish, you can ask for a Compostela upon reaching Santiago in your son's name, if it's something that may have meaning for you. It means that you walked it proxy for him, mentioning both your names.
     
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  30. Gillean

    Gillean Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances, Fisterra, Muxia (2012), Camino Frances (2013), Via Podiensis, Camino Frances (2014), Via Augusta, Via de la Plata, Camino Sanabres (2015), Camino Portuguese (from Porto), Camino del Norte (to Oviedo), Camino Primitivo (2016)
    Very sorry for your loss Kris but I hope you have much joy in your camino.
    Here are my tips:
    Most important thing to bring with you: well conditioned feet. If you can, walk a bunch before you go. Most of the shoes and even boots these days are comfortable out of the box and need almost no breaking in (get the right size though - perhaps a half size larger than normal). But there is no substitute for getting yourself physically ready.
    Best way out of Porto: I took a route which surprisingly wasn't in Brierly's guide. I left late and stopped for a nice lunch here: https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Ta...bb5b5d630!8m2!3d41.1437039!4d-8.6210965?hl=en
    Continued west along the Duro river on a lovely riverside promenade and stopped at the Continente to buy some Pastels de nata at the astonishing price of 17 centimos each:
    upload_2017-3-18_22-36-39.png
    Continued on to the ocean and then turned right and walked along pleasant and interesting but developed beach area - and finally reached Matosinhos where I spent my first night at the Pensao Central: https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Pe...048ce7eec!8m2!3d41.1825819!4d-8.6900213?hl=en
    Which turned out to be a pretty nice end to a short day (12 km or so). The next day I continued up the coast having planned, like you, to walk the coastal route. But, sad to say, I got slightly bored - beautiful beach, bar, beautiful beach, bar.....and repeat. I spent the 2nd night in the very nice new hostel in Vila do Conde. The next day I decided to abandon the coastal route and headed inland to the familiar smell of manure, the sound of barking dogs and so on. I finished the walk happily along the very pleasant inland route.
    Need to start early: You can phone ahead to many places and reserve a bed. Better to do that than to worry all day about whether there will be a place for you. I did that maybe a third of the time and the rest of the time I just found a place when I arrived. Would recommend Casa Fernanda and Quinta Estrada Romana along the inland route if you decide to go that way. Sometimes it's good to have a little spontaneity and not be driven by an overly detailed plan. Things generally work out and sometimes in surprisingly good ways.
    Best guidebook: Brierly is pretty good although his maps, in my opinion, are weak. Oversimplified and not to scale but useable. His general descriptions and recommendations are very good. He did not have much coverage of the coastal route in my guidebook although he was walking in Portugal around the same time I was in 2016 and I believe he has updated the Portuguese guidebook for 2017 so it may have more info now.
    Hope this helps.
    ¡Bom caminho!
     
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  31. Introibo

    Introibo Active Member Donating Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Cumbria
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances ( March 2015 )
    Camino Portugues ( September 2015 )
    I'm sorry to hear of your loss Kris. I'm sure walking the Camino will give you
    time to reflect, remember and heal.

    As Anemone says, you can have your sons name written onto your Compostela.

    Thinking back to my first walk perhaps the most important thing I had with me
    was my note book with two phrases written on the first page. The second being
    of them being Vicarie Pro Albert, my fathers name.

    There were two occasions when I felt like abandoning. One physical, one mental.
    Seeing my fathers name reminded me why I was there.
     
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  32. Crook401

    Crook401 New Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
    French October 2016
    Portuguese May 2017
    My wife and I will arrive in Porto on April 24. I did the French route in October, and most important thing is comfortable shoes and high quality socks. Second most important is an adventurous spirit. You will have no worries and plenty of support. Walk 6 hours a day and you will always find a bed. Hope we get to meet.
     
  33. Helen Brush

    Helen Brush New Member Donating Member

    Joined:
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    Camino(s) past & future:
    St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago de Compostela 2013
    (Le Puy to St Jean May 2015)
    Hello Chris,
    What a terrible thing you are suffering, the camino is a great place for reflection and mourning.
    I walked my first Camino in Spain (Camino Frances) 4 years ago after my only adult son had had horrendous treatment for cancer over 12 months and I needed to give us both space to move on with our lives. The walking was a wonderful. Since then, I have walked the French part of the camino (Chemin de Le Puy) and this year, starting towards the end of May, I am also walking Camino Portuguese from Porto....so we may see each other on the way!
    I am taking the John Brierly book with me and not planning on booking accommodation except in Porto, so it is good to hear that most people did not find difficulty with accommodation.
    The most important thing I take are my comfortable walking boots and Compeed which I stop and apply as soon as I feel any hot spot developing on my feet. It is so much easier to deal with blisters before they develop! You can also buy Compeed in any pharmacy in Europe....so don't take much! Travel as lightly as possible.
    Bom Caminho!
     
  34. Playful Dread

    Playful Dread New Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Liverpool UK
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Portuguese Way (Porto - Santiago - Finisterre) June/July 2015
    Portuguese Way (Lisbon - Santiago - Finisterre) May/June 2017
    Hi Kris.

    It was my first pilgrimage in 2015 and I walked from Porto to Santiago and onward to Finisterre with my wife. It was actually our honeymoon!

    I walked the coastal route too. I flew into Porto from Liverpool and got there quite late but still managed to get the metro up to the starting point on the coastal route to a place called Matosinhos. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowT...s-Porto_Porto_District_Northern_Portugal.html

    We slept on the beach that night/early morning and headed off around 7am. We weren't that concerned about reaching albergue's as we took sleeping bags and inflatable mats so we usually found shelter somewhere along the way for us to bed down for the night. I was quite indifferent to whether we stayed in an albergue of not to be honest. There's good and bad points to be said for both I'd say.

    I ordered John Brierley's guide "A Guidebook to the Camino Portugues" and found it really helpful at times and there's some really great inspiring quotes throughout the guide that I took some comfort in.

    Not sure about what I could say was the single most important item I took. My feeling was in hindsight that you cannot plan for every eventuality you may run into on the road. Personally I felt EVERY item I took helped in some way so it was like each item made up the wholeness of my journey rather than just one item making that up for me. I did however opt for good walking boots and socks as I'd had surgery on both my feet 2 years previous with many complications to follow over the following months. So I was still in a place of healing myself and physically wanting to challenge myself as well.

    On a personal note I feel for your loss Kris. I can't imagine what it must be like have a child pass over before me. I too am walking the route again this year in May (only from Lisbon). Starting on May 1st. My mum passed over on 15 August last year and this pilgrimage I am sure will be a journey both inward and outward to a place I can find some peace within myself with my grief for the loss of my mother.

    Wishing you much strength and good blessings for your journey Kris.

    ONE love.
    Phil.
     

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