P.S. There IS life after the Camino!

P.S. There IS life after the Camino!

There actually is “life after the Camino!” It isn’t easy, though, because there are no yellow arrows pointing the way. The Camino is a “no brainer” in that respect. We never had to figure out where we were going; we were shown. Now it takes a lot more effort to get around. We’ve landed in two cities – Porto and Lisbon – and were so utterly confused about where to go. Why is it that street names don’t appear on our maps and why street names on our maps can’t be found on street corners!?

We did no research about the rest of Spain or Portugal because all our focus was on the Camino. These extra days before we fly back to Canada on November 12th were “just in case” our Camino journey was longer than we expected due to shin splints, blisters, sore this or that, etc.

We spent two nights in Santiago (not quite long enough to see everything) and we didn’t get to the end of the earth, Finisterre, due to the rain that drove us away. We were southward bound, looking for sunshine.

A four-hour bus trip from Santiago brought us to Porto, famous for (what else?) port wine. What a picturesque, historic city it is, with the Duoro River flowing by.

Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal

We took an all-day train/boat excursion up the Duoro River valley, where their famous grapes are grown on terraces. It was a beautiful, sunny day (the first we’d seen for awhile) and the last regular excursion for the season. We went up the river as far as Regua by train and cruised down the river through two dams/locks. It was twilight by the time we returned to the city and came under the its many bridges.

Porto, Portugal
Duoro River Valley
Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal
Porto, Portugal

One of the bridges, the Dom Luís I Bridge is a double-decked metal arch bridge that spans the Douro River. At the time of construction its span of 172 metres was the longest of its type in the world.

The government held a competition for the construction of a metal bridge over the Douro River on a site that was adjacent to an existing bridge that it would replace. Téophile Seyrig had engineered the D. Maria Pia Bridge project nearby, while working as a partner of Gustave Eiffel. He took sole responsibility for the new, major Luís I Bridge. The construction was begun in 1881, the upper deck opened in 1886, and the lower deck opened in 1887.

After three nights in Porto, we took the train to Lisbon. It ended up being one of those days that was going so wrong for awhile, that it is hard to believe it turned out right in the end. We were so confused by the lack of information at the Oriente station that we took one of the first trains out of the city and landed in Sintra. Each station we stopped at en route we thought, “Oh no! This is a huge mistake! We can’t wait to get home.”

But here we are in Sintra at a fantastic little hotel perched high off the main street with palaces all around. What an amazing, picturesque, quieter place to be. Tomorrow we’ll explore.

13 thoughts on “P.S. There IS life after the Camino!

  1. You need to go back to Lisbon. I just watched the Lisbon edition of Waterfront Cities of the World on B.C.s Knowledge Network. You can pull it up on line for tips on this amazing city. I want to go to there. 🙂 And after what you’ve been through, even though you found fortitude, friends, vino and joie de vivre along the way, you have suffered enough. Find a high end hotel, indulge yourselves and enjoy the city. BTW All your bridge friends looking forward to seeing you soon. M

    1. Hi Marjorie,
      Thanks for the tip about Lisbon on Waterfront Cities of the World. I tried to view it and the message was that the video could only be viewed in Canada. How do they know I’m away – LOL! Big Brother is watching… We will probably spend 2-3 days there before we fly back to Canada – Toronto on the 12th and Victoria on the 16th. I’m looking forward to seeing all my bridge friends, too. Judy.

  2. Mom, I know where you can find yellow arrows! Find the Church de Santiago in Lisbon. It’s the start point to the Portuguese Way. I found it when I was exploring Lisbon on foot. What a comfort to see those yellow arrows again. I even had a few tears inside the church when I saw Our Lady holding the Child 🙂 The church keeper is lovely too although who knows if he is still working there or not. Enjoy your time in Lisbon!

    1. Hi Tania,
      We saw a yellow arrow in Porto. There is a feeling of security when you see them, don’t you. I felt like I wasn’t lost any more. 🙂 Mom.

  3. Hi Judy and David! Congratulations on finishing the Camino! We were also in Porto and are headed to Lisbon tomorrow. We leave the 11th. We would love to meet up with you at some point! Email me and we can work something out!

    1. We’ll see you in Lisbon and celebrate! We’ll be there for five nights, November 7-11, and will fly home on the 12th. We’ll all be going home like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.

  4. Hi Judy, Do hope you make it back to Lisbon. Didn’t find the yellow arrows but loved the parts of the city where our tour took us a number of years ago. Will miss reading about your fantastic experiences and seeing those beautiful photos each day but look forward to your return and enjoy the rest of your trip and see you soon. Betty

    1. Hi Betty,
      We are going to be adventurous and head back into Lisbon for five nights, November 7-11. We’ll check out Trip Advisor for “Things to Do” there. In the meantime, Sintra has been a beautiful place to hang out. It was a favourite place of Lord Byron, among others. See you soon! Judy.

  5. Needless to say, I truly enjoyed your trek. We plan on doing the Camino in 10 years — I will be in my early 70s and retired. Thanks for “taking” me along.

    1. Dave and I are pleased you came along with us on our journey. It is something for you to look forward to in ten years and an amazing retirement “gift!” Buen Camino!!!

  6. Dear David & Jude,
    I am Pierre Pourchez from The Netherlands. I did the Camino and started on the 5th of July 2015 in the south of Holland. I’ve cut Belgium within 5 days with my shoes and then after 51 days walking through France (Maubeuge-Compiègne-Paris-Tours-Orleans-Bordeaux-St.Paul les Dax-St JeanPied de Port) I entered around the 30th of August in St. Jean-Pied de Port. I continued till Burgos and had to go home on the 23th of September, after about 2500 km. Our daughter Yvonne had her marriage-party, otherwise I would have made it till Santiago. In July 2016 I went back to Burgos and made the walk to Ponferrada. Still have to do the last final steps, piece of cake isn’t it?
    I was just wondering whether you must have seen me walking with my golf-chart. Unfortunately I cannot add a picture to this comment, otherwise I would have done it of course. Your presentation on YT is really impressive and represents a beautiful memory of all people who know what the Camino is about. Thank you for that. Maybe you send me an answer by email? I will send you my picture with my famous chart as well!
    Kind regards, Pierre

    1. Dear Pierre,
      So we were walking the Camino at about the same time, with you leaving from Burgos on September 23th. We arrived there on September 28th. Somewhere along the way you must have passed us, since we were slow walkers. I can almost imagine seeing a man with a golf-cart, but I’m not sure if that is just that (my imagination) or a true memory. Please send us a picture so we can check it out. That’s fantastic that you walked all the way from Holland!!! You really don’t have much further to go when you return to Ponferrada to take those final steps. Judy.

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